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work ethics

5 Things People Must Refrain From For Not Hurting Their LGBTQ Colleague

Despite a progressive mindset, people unintentionally end up making their LGBTQ colleagues uncomfortable
5 Things People Must Refrain From For Not Hurting Their LGBTQ Colleague
Image credit: Shutterstock
Entrepreneur Staff
Features Writer
4 min read

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Supreme Court’s historic verdict of decriminalizing same sex consensual intercourse added another feather to the nation’s victory hat. The fight against Section 377 was nothing less than a war for the LGTBQ community in the country. Triumph over the irrational rule has acted as a proof of India’s progress.

“History owes an apology to LGBT,” said Supreme Court after the historic verdict of scrapping Section 377. Chief Justice Deepak Mishra who headed the five judge bench that decriminalized same sex intercourse won over the nation with his words, “I am as I am. So take me as I am. No one can escape their individuality.”

While the nation has won the battle of pride and freedom, the prejudices prevailing in the society are yet to be addressed. People are still losing jobs over their sexual orientation and gender identity. Some are not accepted in the work environment whereas others are facing constant humiliation at the hands of their clueless colleagues.

Many times, people end up making insensitive comment towards their LGTBQ colleagues without realizing that they are one of us and their sexual orientation doesn’t make them any different. As a country, we have a long way to go as mindsets don’t change in a day or two but acceptance is the moment’s call.

As a way forward, Entrepreneur India talked to the flag bearers of LGBTQ community about 5 things that people should absolutely avoid to not insult their trans or gay co-worker:


Don’t stereotype

People are apprehensive about approaching LGBT community people which creates stigma and discrimination at the workplace. The tension makes the environment unbearable to work and trans people often end up quitting.

“If you consider them like yourself, LGBT community people will get freedom to express themselves and work in a relaxed way,” said Prijith P K, the Founder and President of Queerythm LGBTIQ community.


Don’t make inappropriate jokes

Films and media have created an illusion in people’s mind about trans people which influences their mindsets negatively and they end up making gay, homophobic and transphobic jokes at work. However, they are NOT funny.

“Never bring a person's orientation as a derogatory comment during work talk to put down someone. Be strictly professional at all times,” suggested Zoya Razdan, a LGBTQ activist.


Don’t discourage

Being in the media and entertainment industry, Tejeshwar Sandhoo, a fashion influencer feels that people are little more sensitive towards LGBTQ community but discouraging elements are still present.

“I've got messages from people saying that they're going to unfollow me because I'm being too "Gay" on my Instagram account but honestly,” he added. Individuals tend to ignore and isolate their LGBTQ colleagues during conversations and discussions which end up acting as a big blow to their self-respect.


Don’t judge

Sending judgmental glances towards the LGBTQ people and commenting on their dressing style is common in India scenario, which needs to be changed. “It's important to educate people during induction about being sensitive towards people with a different sexual orientation,” Sandhoo said.

“A lot of times even educated people lack exposure to the LGBTQ lifestyle so maybe a forum where they can host a little talk where they get an LGBTQ co-worker to talk about the kind of issues that they face which might help people to understand their life a little better,” he suggested.


Don’t over-sympathize

“It happens at a few workplaces who are hiring trans people that co-workers get really sympathetic about these things,” shared Neelam Jain, the founder and CEO of PeriFerry, a social inclusion start-up that is working for the upliftment of the transgender community.

She says being transgender or gay or lesbian is a choice and people should understand that sympathy is not what the community needs. “Understand their issues and the place where they are coming from but not treat them as charity.”

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