Does your business qualify as being ‘gay-friendly?’

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In today’s society, businesses and physicians often desire to be gay friendly and welcome the gay community, yet are not sure how to ‘take the first step.’

The following is a list of the top five ways to welcome and attract the glbt community to your business.

* Test: if you are able to check off 2 or more items below, you are well on your way to becoming ‘gay friendly.’

1) Hire a diverse working staff. Your gay clientele’ will notice right away that diversity in the workplace is valued.

2) Convert your company’s forms and applications to a ‘gay-friendly version,’ particularly if you own a health related business or are a physician. Include options for ‘partner’, rather than just ‘single,’ ‘married,’ or ‘divorced.’ DiversityBuilder can assist you with converting your business forms to a gay friendly format. Contact info@diversitybuilder.com for more information.

3) Offer diversity training to staff, to include ‘gay sensitivity training’ for all employees. Soon you find your staff is less ‘assumptive’ about your customers’ sexual orientation. – I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked, (while shopping in a retail store), ‘are you buying this for your husband?’ I am not sure how to answer that question, since I don’t have a husband, nor would I ever want one. Begin changing this assumptive culture and the word choice within the workplace. Encourage your employees to rephrase their questions to something like the following: ‘Are you buying this for a friend or loved one,’ or ‘are you buying this for a spouse or partner?’ Your gay customers will really feel as if the ‘red carpet’ has been rolled out to greet them at your door.

4) Offer domestic partner benefits with a nondiscrimination policy, inclusive of a sexual orientation clause.

5) Support gay related organizations and causes within your charitable work. Sometimes actions speak the loudest; by sponsoring some gay charitable events, the gay community will begin to embrace you and your business.

Would you like a handy ‘top 5 ways to be gay-friendly’ reminder card to place on your desk, your computer, or in your wallet? Contact info@diversitybuilder.com, with your mailing information.

Want to know more? DiversityBuilder (www.diversitybuilder.com) offers consulting services and diversity training in the workplace. For further details, write the experts at info@diversitybuilder.com.

Rachel Stanton is co-owner of DiversityBuilder.