The Challenge: How do we create an inclusive workplace environment for the LGBTI community worldwide?
When applying for jobs, LGBTI people often conceal information about their sexual orientation or gender identity from their potential employer in order to avoid bias or discrimination. This is because one in four LGBTI employees report experiencing employment discrimination in the last five years and over one quarter of transgender people who held or applied for a job in the last year reported being fired, not hired, or denied a promotion due to their gender identity. This is likely to occur anywhere in the world. However, it is more prevalent in countries where LGBTI discrimination is rampant. Data suggests that:
- 72 UN-member States protect against discrimination in employment.
- Seventy-two countries in the world still criminalise same-sex sexual acts, and more countries criminalise ‘homosexuality’ in other ways, subjecting individuals to dangers, abuses, harassment, and violations on the basis of their gender and sexuality.
The Lead2030 Challenge for SDG10 supported by Bristol-Myers Squibb launched a global search for young leaders working to reduce inequalities within and among countries, with a focus on the global LGBTI community. The Challenge was developed in partnership with Out and Equal (O&E) in support of a global movement to better welcome and include the LGBTI community in the workplace.
Donnya Piggott, Pink Coconuts
Pink Coconuts, originally a project of B-GLAD (Barbados - Gays, Lesbians and All-sexuals against Discrimination), is rooted in values of inclusion and diversity. Now a stand-alone social enterprise, Pink Coconuts actively seeks to share these values with partners while building a Caribbean environment that sensitised to the needs of both the local and the international LGBTQ community.
Through stakeholder meetings with Virgin Holidays and 14 major hoteliers (totalling 1200 rooms) to discuss inclusive tourism through the Caribbean and equal opportunities employment policies, Pink Coconuts was able to partner with international hotel chain, Marriott, to provide safe and accessible space for the projects development.
This year, Pink Coconuts launched the ‘Pink Coconuts Pride Tour’, a tourism initiative targeted to members of the LBGTQ community. The project has supported five local LGBTQ entrepreneurs and five additional local women.
Pink Coconuts and B-GLAD in collaboration with the Women and Development Unit of the University of the West Indies Open Campus, spearheaded “The One Barbados Initiative” which brought together 13 NGOs representing marginalised groups to develop a policy note on inclusion, diversity and anti-discrimination within the Barbadian workplace. This Policy Note will be presented to the Ministry of People Empowerment and makes actionable recommendations for employment and training opportunities for LGBTQ people, women, persons with disabilities, and religious minorities.