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 [email protected] 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 [email protected], with your mailing information.
Rachel Stanton is co-owner of DiversityBuilder.