10 Sep 2023
Amy Cozart-Lundin

Creating an Inclusive Workplace: An Instructional Designer's Guide to LGBTQ+ Diversity Training and Inclusivity

Creating an Inclusive Workplace: An Instructional Designer's Guide to LGBTQ+ Diversity Training and Inclusivity
With a career spanning a decade in corporate training and education, I've worn many hats. Today, I dive into a topic that's both a professional focus and a crucial chapter in my personal journey: creating an LGBTQ+ inclusive work environment through inclusion training.

Early in my career, I navigated workplace challenges with hesitance, fearing workplace discrimination that could tarnish my reputation. I avoided bringing my authentic self to work, referring to my wife Andrea as my "spouse." I put the comfort of others before my own inclusion in the workplace, a place where I needn't have to hide my identity. This transformation from self-censorship to advocacy fuels my passion for diversity and inclusion training, a vital component of any inclusive work environment.

Building upon these experiences and my instructional design expertise, I'm crafting an inclusion policy and program aimed to shatter DEI training norms. The objective is to foster a culture of inclusion where LGBTQ employees can be their authentic selves at work, bringing value to their companies and improving employee satisfaction.

Why is This Important to Me?

As an instructional designer and an LGBTQ+ individual, the lack of genuine inclusion in corporate training disheartens me. It's not just about diversity in the workplace; it's about allowing people of all sexual orientations and gender identities to feel safe and valued.

Actionable Insights for Building an LGBTQ+ Inclusive Corporate Training Program

  1. Real-Life Scenarios: Include LGBTQ+ individuals in case studies and examples.
  2. Diverse Representation: Visuals should represent a diverse and inclusive culture.
  3. Language: Utilize inclusive language and gender-neutral terms.
  4. Guest Speakers: Invite experts on transgender and bisexual issues to share their perspectives.
  5. Feedback Loops: Keep updating the program and make adjustments based on feedback from LGBTQ employees.

What Makes Us Uniquely Equipped?

At QueerlyQualified, co-owned with my wife Andrea, we specialize in creating your LGBTQ+ inclusive training programs that are engaging and enlightening. Our multi-disciplinary approach makes us uniquely qualified for this work, blending web development, instructional design, and DEI training best practices.

Including LGBTQ+ inclusivity within corporate training goes beyond checking off a requirement on a list. It signifies a genuine dedication to fostering a workplace environment that values and embraces diversity in all its forms.

The Broader Implications

Fostering an inclusive work culture extends beyond just making the workplace more inclusive; it can reduce discrimination and harassment and create a ripple effect into broader society. Here are some learning opportunities that can help employees understand the issues surrounding transgender and non-binary people, and contribute to greater equity and inclusion overall:

1. Training sessions or workshops: Provide interactive training sessions or workshops, facilitated by experts or organizations that specialize in transgender and non-binary issues. These sessions should aim to educate employees about gender diversity, proper terminology, the challenges faced by transgender and non-binary individuals, and strategies for creating inclusive environments.

2. Employee resource groups (ERGs): Establish an Employee Resource Group or LGBTQIA+ affinity group that focuses on transgender and non-binary inclusivity. ERGs can provide a safe space for employees to learn, share experiences, and support one another. They can also organize educational seminars, discussions, and awareness campaigns.

3. Guest speakers or panel discussions: Invite speakers or panelists who identify as transgender or non-binary to share their experiences and insights. These individuals can offer personal perspectives and answer questions, helping to promote empathy and understanding among employees.

4. Online resources and courses: Offer online resources, such as e-learning modules or webinars, that employees can access at their own convenience. These materials can cover topics related to transgender and non-binary issues, including gender identity, inclusive language, legal rights, and workplace policies.

5. Inclusive policies and guidelines: Develop comprehensive policies and guidelines that explicitly address issues related to gender diversity and inclusion. These should include guidelines for respecting preferred names and pronouns, protocols for transitioning in the workplace, and non-discrimination policies. Regularly communicate and reinforce these policies through employee handbooks, intranet platforms, and company-wide emails.

6. Inclusive language training: Provide guidance on the appropriate use of non-binary and transgender-inclusive language through training programs or guidelines. Employees should be encouraged to use correct pronouns and avoid assumptions about gender identity or expression.

7. Case studies and scenario-based learning: Present real-life scenarios or case studies to employees, highlighting situations transgender or non-binary individuals may face in the workplace. By discussing and reflecting on these scenarios, employees can develop a deeper understanding and empathy towards these experiences.

8. Open forum discussions: Create a safe space for employees to openly discuss transgender and non-binary issues, ask questions, and clarify doubts. This can be achieved through facilitated group discussions, town hall meetings, or anonymous suggestion boxes. Encouraging dialogue helps build a supportive, inclusive culture.

Remember, learning opportunities should be ongoing and integrated into the overall diversity and inclusion initiatives of the organization. By fostering understanding and inclusivity towards transgender and non-binary individuals, employees will be better equipped to build equitable workplaces that value diversity. 


Call to Action

The call for LGBTQ+ inclusivity within corporate training is not just a box-ticking exercise; it's a commitment to becoming a truly inclusive workplace. Including LGBTQ+ inclusivity within corporate training goes beyond checking off a requirement on a list. It signifies a genuine dedication to fostering a workplace environment that values and embraces diversity in all its forms. Embracing LGBTQ+ inclusivity in corporate training demonstrates a commitment to creating an environment where all employees feel respected, valued, and supported, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Having LGBTQ+ inclusive training helps to educate employees about the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals and provides them with the tools and knowledge needed to be allies. It helps to break down stereotypes, biases, and discrimination and fosters a culture of acceptance and respect. By including LGBTQ+ inclusivity in corporate training, companies are actively working towards creating a workplace where all employees feel safe, included, and able to bring their whole selves to work. Additionally, LGBTQ+ inclusive training can also benefit the company as a whole. Studies have shown that diverse and inclusive workplaces are more innovative, productive, and profitable. By creating a truly inclusive environment, companies can leverage the diverse perspectives and experiences of their employees, leading to enhanced creativity, problem-solving, and overall business success.

Overall, LGBTQ+ inclusivity in corporate training is not just a superficial exercise; it's a commitment to promoting equality, diversity, and inclusion within the workplace. It is an essential step towards building a more inclusive company culture and ultimately a more successful business. It’s a way to demonstrate support for your LGBTQ+ employees and a path to reduce workplace discrimination. It's about creating a space where all employees feel safe, engaged, and valued, enabling them to bring their authentic selves to work.