How Decent Work practices can support 2SLGBTQI+ staff in the nonprofit sector

Happy Pride Month!

Although June is often highlighted as Pride Month, a month to recognize and amplify the voices of 2SLGBTQI+ communities across Canada (Turtle Island), nonprofits within Ontario are planning Pride festivities from May – October. Year round, sector leaders and organizations such as The 519 Pride at WorkWisdom2Action, and Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity work tirelessly to support 2SLGBTQI+ communities. 

Employment Realities of 2SLGBTQI+ Communities

  • Two in five gay and lesbian staff facing discrimination will change careers if discrimination continues.
  • Concealing one’s sexual orientation at work reduces productivity by up to 30%. Employees need to be able to communicate openly and build supportive, cooperative relationships with colleagues, clients, and customers.
  • 57% of trans-identified employees report facing discrimination at some point during their career.
  • One-third of Canadians feel that their workplace is inclusive of 2SLGBTQI+ communities.

    Source: Pride at Work, Beyond Diversity: LGBT Best Practice Guide 2017

Celebrations of Pride call attention to awareness, inclusion, and equity for 2SLGBTQI+ communities, which are core tenets of Decent Work practices. In adopting an intersectional approach to Decent Work, our advisory members (Enchanté Network LGBT Youthline, and Black Femme Legal) emphasized the need to ensure that 2SLGBTQI+ workers and organizations who are primarily led by and support Black, Indigenous, and racialized communities, do not get erased.  

In February 2020, LGBT Youthline released “Do Better”- 2SLGBTQ+ Youth Recommendations for Change in Ontario. From that report it was identified that many of the workers within the sector supporting youth were facing similar challenges. “We noticed the gaps nonprofit workers in our sector were facing and responded through these network gatherings.” -Decent Work Advisory Member Hayley Moody (LGBT Youthline). 

In our conversation, which you can watch above, Hayley and I focused not only on the needs of 2SLGBTQI+ workers within the nonprofit sector, but also approaches to engagement. 

Key takeaways on how to support 2SLGBTQI+ staff through Decent Work practices:

  • Build relationships to combat worker burnout and isolation. Hayley shared a heartfelt evaluation letter at the end of the video which explained the need for spaces of connection outside of objectives and goals. The power of peer-to-peer models of support, while often overlooked, create a sense of community and belonging that promotes equity in the workplace. Isolation is a fuel accelerant for burnout. The network gatherings led by LGBT Youthline illuminated isolation within northern and rural contexts where there may only be one 2SLGBTQI+ worker within an organization. They are dually part of the community and supporting the community, which can be terribly isolating. Isolation leads to burnout, because workers are often fielding homophobia and transphobia for community members while also fielding those experiences for themselves. 
  • Develop community spaces outside of the dominant networking models, recognizing the issues and insufficiencies of that model. “There was a strong desire to move away from standard nonprofit practices of larger organizations setting the agenda, sending out the invite, and developing the solutions that are often rooted in practices of white supremacy.” 
  • Rethink practices of “inclusion” and who gets a seat at the table. While organizations within the sector may hold knowledge on issues of equity-seeking groups, those with lived experience need to lead the way. This idea is not new; however, in practice, the needs of those who are most impacted can often get lost. “We can’t just gather to discuss what’s not working in our sector, but rather we need to be fostering generative and transformative spaces that are led by those who are most impacted.”

We are looking forward to sharing more learnings from the graphic-facilitated report that is set to launch later on this summer. In the meantime, learn more about the online gatherings for 2SLGBTQI+ Service Providers who support 2SLGBTQI+ youth.

Thank you to Hayley Moody and Laura Benglian for sharing insights and learnings with us for this blog. 

Hayley Moody – Manager, Provincial Engagement at LGBT Youthline. Hayley (she/her) is a queer, two spirit mixed race person currently living in Gitche Namewikwedong (Owen Sound) on Saugeen territory. She carries roots from Bootaagani-mnis as a Wiisaakodewikwe/Penetang HB, while also carrying ancestry from England and Germany. She spends a lot of her time being critical of the Canadian colonial state, and supporting land reclamation whenever she can. She can also be found watching ridiculous TV shows, drinking maple syrup, and learning how to reconnect with the land.

June 22, 2022 at 12:10 pm
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