LGBTQIA+ is an umbrella term representing people who identify themselves as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, and more. Despite decriminalisation of same-sex relationships by the Supreme Court in 2008 and transgenders being recognised as third gender in 2014, LGBTQIA+ communities still have a long way to go to be inclusive in our Indian society.

LGBTQIA+ communities continue to face discrimination be it in personal or professional spaces. Yes, homophobia is real AF.

Here are eight ways you can make your workplace LGBTQIA+ friendly for everyone:

1. Establishing LGBTQIA+ anti-discriminatory policy

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Most professionals raise eyebrows while being around gays, lesbians, transgenders and more at workplaces and discriminate them on the basis of their sexual orientation. It’s time to establish anti-discriminatory policies for all employees.

2. Respecting the pronouns they use and never misgendering them

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LGBTQIA+ often feel discriminated during their hiring process in an organisation. There is a dire need to use the pronouns they use for themselves. Instead of making them tick ‘Male/Female’ or even ‘Prefer Not To Say’, give them an option to be expressive.

3. Normalising non-binary dress codes for employees

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Most LGBTQIA+ employees have no choice but to set themselves as per gender-specific dress codes at work places. Normalise non-binary clothing for all employees.

4. Inviting employees to LGBTQIA+ support programmes

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Companies should create a habit of inviting every employee to LGBTQIA+ specific programmes or seminars. This practice may help in reducing homophobia amongst heterosexuals and create a healthy work environment.

5. Celebrating Pride Month inside the premises

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Why keep pride month only for streets? Celebrate it inside the workplace too. Pitch ideas of organising fashion shows or flash mobs to spread awareness about the LGBTQIA+ communities within the office.

6. Not pressurising them to come out of closet

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While coming out of closet is definitely a great step, do not pressurise LGBTQIA+ employees to make it official at workplace. It is their personal choice and let them decide how they want to (or not).

7. Avoiding statements like male/females required in vacancy posts

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Almost every job vacancy or job advertisement that you see around requires either male/female candidates and/or both. Why do we even need to include such gender-discriminatory statements here? Let’s keep it neutral, shall we?

8. Organising mandatory sensitivity meetings

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Not just LGBTQIA+ programmes, employers should also organise mandatory gender-sensitivity team meetings on weekly basis for their employees. Discussing the idea of creating a safe environment for LGBTQIA+ youth every seven days is a great choice.

9. Reserving jobs for LGBTQIA+ candidates

While Karnataka has already reserved one per cent of jobs for transgenders in public sector employment, how about all LGBTQIA+ communities getting such quotas at workplaces?