There is still fear among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees about coming 'out' in the workplace. LGBT employees choose not to come out because they are nervous their good relationships with colleagues will change and fear that colleagues would treat them differently.

One way of supporting LGBT employees to come 'out' in the workplace and create a supportive working culture is by being a 'Straight Ally'.

'Straight ally' is a term used to describe heterosexual people who believe that lesbian, gay and bisexual people should experience full equality in the workplace. Good straight allies recognise that gay people can perform better if they can be themselves and straight allies use their role within an organisation to create a culture where this can happen.

Hints and tips for allies

  • Speak out about why you are committed to equality Be a mentor for gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender colleagues
  • Ask your managers about what they are doing to make your team or work-environment more gay-friendly
  • Don't be afraid of saying the wrong thing, just ask LGBT colleagues and friends for advice
  • Help colleagues become straight allies too by coaching them on how they can make a difference
  • Talk openly about your lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender friends and family at work Challenge any homophobic comments or 'banter' firmly and immediately
  • If a colleagues wants to come out be clear you will support them
  • Explain why gay equality is important to you in team meetings, inductions and supervisions
  • Talk to your gay friends and colleagues about what challenges they face at work
  • Make your support for gay equality public, wear your badge with pride Support the LGBT Staff Network and attend events like Pride