Make businesses more inclusive for LGBT workers – rights groups

by Zoe Tabary | zoetabary | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Thursday, 26 October 2017 12:11 GMT

Customers speak with bank tellers at a branch of Toronto-Dominion (TD) Canada Trust adorned in colours of the Pride rainbow flag symbolizing gay rights, in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada June 13, 2017. Picture taken June 13, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

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"How companies choose to recruit, the language they use ... all need to be examined"

By Zoe Tabary

LONDON, Oct 26 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Businesses are becoming more LGBT-friendly but should do more to support lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees, rights groups said on Thursday, in reaction to a list of the world's most influential LGBT executives.

The annual list by networking group OUTstanding and the Financial Times, which ranks LGBT role models in business, featured 100 gay men but only 28 lesbian, 10 transgender and seven bisexual individuals.

"Having visible LGBTI representatives in business can be a great catalyst, encouraging more and more LGBTI employees to be themselves at work," said Evelyne Paradis, executive director of LGBT network ILGA-Europe.

"But you can't ignore the fact that we still aren't seeing many LBTI women, openly bi employees or trans and intersex people included in these lists," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

More than half of the world's countries do not protect LGBT people against workplace discrimination.

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Failing to look beyond labels such as gay or lesbian could limit companies' ability to attract staff, say experts.

"How companies choose to recruit, the language they use and the culture they welcome people into all need to be examined," Paradis said.

A spokesman for LGBT rights group Stonewall told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that "people perform better at work when they can be themselves, so we'd like to see organisations build on the fantastic work they are already doing by increasing the amount of senior level opportunities for lesbian, bi and trans staff."

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce topped the list of LGBT executives, in recognition of his advocacy of same-sex marriage in Australia.

The list also included Inga Beale, chief executive of insurer Lloyd's of London, and Christopher Bailey, the chief creative officer of luxury goods group Burberry.

(Reporting by Zoe Tabary @zoetabary, Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit

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