Why it is important for companies to support the LGBT community
Jo Sullivan, safeguarding project officer at Regenda Homes in Merseyside, says too many people in the LGBT community still face discrimination on a daily basis
Discrimination against the LGBT community happens on a daily basis and some of the statistics are shocking. In workplaces, universities, streets and bars, people face abuse for their sexual orientation or gender identity.
As someone who works in housing, I was horrified to read that one in 10 LGBT people is discriminated against when looking for a house or flat to rent or buy, because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, according to their LGBT in Britain report 2018. One in four trans people have also experienced homelessness.
The figures aren’t confined to housing. More than a third of trans university students have experienced negative comments or behaviour from staff, while one in eight trans people have been physically attacked by colleagues or customers.
These figures show why it is so important that companies across the world support the LGBT community, both internally and externally.
I work for Regenda Homes, a social housing provider, and since 2009 we have actively supported Liverpool Pride as part of the Homes for Everyone Group, with staff and tenants taking part in the annual Pride march through the city centre.
We also lit up our city centre office as part of the ‘come out of the shadows’ initiative last year, something we will be doing again in 2018. Come out of the shadows challenges hate crime by shining a light on diversity, with buildings across the city being illuminate in the rainbow colours.
The highly popular campaign allows cities worldwide to shine bright, embrace inclusiveness and diversity, and help to make our cities safer.
As a landlord, we want our customers to live in peaceful communities and to enjoy their lives in their own homes. By taking part in the march and supporting Pride, we are making sure that our customers know us as an LGBT ally and that we support their rights.
It is extremely important that we display our support for the LGBT community, as many still live in the shadows and conceal the fact they are LGBT due to fear of discrimination. Recently, we have been working closely with one of our residents, Imogen, who approached us for support.
We sponsored the Transgender Day of Visibility at Liverpool Museum, which Imogen had organised, through our Community Chest Fund. The fund provides financial support for those looking to deliver an event or project.
Imogen has faced a number of challenges during her transition which resulted in mental health issues and financial difficulties. Throughout this period, we offered support and worked with partner agencies to help Imogen.
For Imogen this was hugely important as the security of having her own home provided much needed stability as she continued her transition.
Imogen’s story is inspirational and demonstrates the importance of organisations working directly and collaboratively to educate, normalise and promote acceptance of LGBT lifestyles and choices.
As we approach this year’s Pride event in the city, let’s make sure that Liverpool companies are striving to be inclusive and that no one lives in the shadows.