5 Ways to Authentically Support Your LGBTQ+ Colleagues in the Tech Field 

As a tech professional, it is your responsibility to ensure that all members of the community are respected and supported. 

According to Goldie Cuarez (Senior Recruiter), “Tech jobs have undergone significant changes in diversity and inclusivity in recent years. Previously, the industry was largely homogenous, with a limited representation of women, people of color, and other underrepresented groups. However, there has been a growing awareness of the importance of diversity and inclusivity in the tech industry in recent years. Many companies have launched initiatives to attract, retain and advance more women, people of color, and other underrepresented groups in their workforce. Blind hiring, mentorship programs, and unconscious bias training are measures used to eliminate bias in recruitment, promotion, and other employment practices. This focus on diversity and inclusivity has led to greater representation of underrepresented groups in tech jobs, a more inclusive workplace culture, and increased innovation and productivity. While there still work to be done, the tech industry has significantly improved diversity and inclusivity in recent years.”

“Corporate World in this era tends to be versatile in terms of building and sustaining Employee-Employer relationships. To create a more congenial connection, the organization should ensure that the policy will fully be inclusive of LGBTQ+ community. Recognizing the hard work and considering their thought process that will develop their competency. Treating them the way they want to be treated inside the organization is one great way to ensure they are always productive,” Paulo Fulo (Senior Recruiter) added.  

There are many ways to demonstrate an authentic commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, however one of the most important things you can do is to be an ally for your LGBTQ+ colleagues. Ally ship is not only a key component of building a supportive work environment, but also of challenging existing power structures and systems. 

Being an ally means more than simply offering words of support; it requires taking tangible action. Here are five simple actions you can take today to help create a safe space and uplift the LGBTQ+ community in the tech field. 

Listen Without Judgment. 
Being an ally involves actively listening and understanding the experiences of those in the LGBTQ+ community. This is done by creating a safe, judgment-free space for your colleagues to share their stories. Listening without being judgmental or invalidating also helps to ensure that people feel heard and supported. 

To practice non-judgmental listening: 

  • Make sure to listen without offering solutions, advice, or subjective opinions. 
  • It is important to remember that everyone has different experiences, so be open and understanding of their unique perspectives. 
  • Ask questions but do not press for answers. If your colleague shares something that makes you uncomfortable, take a moment to pause and reflect on their words before responding. 

By actively listening without judgment, you can create a more inclusive environment and make sure that everyone feels comfortable speaking up and sharing their personal stories within the workplace. 

Use Inclusive Language. 
Using inclusive language can be one of the best ways to support your LGBTQ+ colleagues in the tech field. What is more, it can be effortless! Here are some simple guidelines to help you through: 

  • When introducing someone, use gender-neutral words like “they” and “their” instead of gendered pronouns. 
  • Make sure to avoid terms like “ladies and gentlemen” when addressing a group. Instead, consider phrases like “everybody” or “colleagues” that do not imply any gender binary. 
  • Be conscious of your speech when talking about a transgender person’s past. For example, rather than saying “when she was a man” or “when he was a woman”, say “when they were assigned male/female at birth”. 
  • Remember that not everyone fits into one of two genders. Respect the diversity of your colleagues by always giving them the opportunity to identify as they prefer. 
  • Speak up if you hear someone using language that is insensitive or offensive towards LGBTQ+ people. Openly challenging these sorts of comments sends a strong message and creates an empowering environment for all employees, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. 

These five simple steps will help foster an LGBTQ+ friendly workplace and empower your colleagues to express their identities freely and safely. As an ally, it is important to consciously create an accepting atmosphere in tech for everyone who chooses to be involved in it! 

Educate Yourself and Share What You Learn. 
Creating a supportive workplace for LGBTQ+ tech professionals start with education. The more we know about what it means to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community, the more we can create an inclusive workplace and culture. Here are some ways to educate yourself and share what you learn: 

  • Read Books and Articles: Take time to read books and articles written by and about the LGBTQ+ community. These resources can help you gain insight into the experiences of those in the community, as well as gain a better understanding of LGBTQ+ terminology, identities, and issues. 
  • Attend Training Sessions: Look for training sessions or workshops that are available at your company or in your local area that are specifically designed for allies of the LGBTQ+ community. These sessions can help you learn more about the issues that members of the LGBTQ+ community face on a regular basis and how you can be an advocate for them. 

Call out Discrimination. 
It’s important to be an advocate for your LGBTQ+ colleagues. If you see them or their ideas being diminished or offended, it is up to you to step in and speak out. That way, everyone in the workplace knows that bigotry will not be tolerated. 

Discrimination can come in many forms, such as jokes about queer people or LGBT-related stereotypes. If you witness this kind of behavior, do not stay silent – challenge it in a respectful manner and make sure the person understands why it is inappropriate. 

Likewise, if a colleague is the victim of discrimination at work due to their sexuality or gender identity, take the opportunity to intervene and stand up for them. It can be as simple as calmly approaching the perpetrator and asking them to reconsider their language and behavior. 

By taking these small yet effective steps, you create an open and inclusive workplace culture that everyone can feel safe in. 
 
Get Involved and Act. 
It’s not enough to simply say you support someone in the tech industry – it’s time to take action. Here are some ways to get involved and act: 

  • Make a conscious effort to hire and promote LGBTQ+ individuals: Try to recruit queer candidates, give equal opportunities for promotion, champion their success within your organization, and celebrate their accomplishments. 
  • Support workplace initiatives: If your company has initiatives or programs specifically designed to support LGBTQ+ people, get involved! Offer your expertise or financial resources, or simply be present at events to show your support. 
  • Speak up when you witness unfairness: If you hear people making jokes or inappropriate comments about any LGBTQ+ issues in the workspace, do not stay silent – speak up! Remind people that this is not acceptable and encourage them to think differently about the issue at hand. 
  • Be mindful of language: You know that pronouns are important, and that is true! But there are other words too that can be offensive or demeaning – be sure to educate yourself on terms sometimes used by queer communities so that you are not unintentionally hurting others with your words. 
  • Take part in Pride events: Attend marches pointing out injustices faced by queer individuals, volunteer at Pride events and donate money as a way of showing solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. 

Mark Solano (Recruiter) mentioned that, “People perform better when they can be themselves and I think the best way to make an office more LGBTQ+ friendly is to promote gender diversity, inclusivity and make people feel that they are welcome and not excluded. All of which Nezda Technologies Inc. never fails to give. Our company is a safe space where we can be who we are and at the same time grow professionally.” 

These are all great ways to show that you truly want to be an ally and make a difference in the tech industry for those who identify on the LGBTQ+ spectrum. 

Being an ally to the LGBTQ+ community in the tech field is more than just a choice, it is a responsibility. Authentically supporting this group of people involves more than just saying the right things – it means acting. From challenging assumptions to advocating for equitable policies, there are a variety of simple yet effective steps that allies can take to truly make a difference. 

Creating a workplace environment that is safe for LGBTQ+ tech employees will not only help them thrive, but also foster a more collaborative, innovative, and productive environment for everyone. In the end, everyone benefits – by creating an inclusive culture, we will ensure that diversity of opinion and experience is always valued and respected. 

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