Creating 2SLGBTQIA+ inclusive workplaces benefits everyone

News & Updates | December 30, 2022 | Tiana Dargent

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We are currently living with the first generation of 2SLGBTQIA+ people, who are out about their sexualities and genders, who are aging out of life. Life expectancy in our communities are still significantly lower than in heterosexual and binary-gender-conforming communities, due primarily to violence and lack of socio-economic supports. These expectancies are further reduced at intersections of race and disability, among others. 

As more and more of us are living to the point where we seek retirement homes, nursing homes, hospice and other forms of palliative care, we are finding that we need to advocate for ourselves in ways that are quite taxing. Most end-of-life care providers truly want to provide quality service to 2SLGBTQIA+ communities and yet continue to fall short. This is often because the working environment is not conducive to the retention and uplifting of out 2SLGBTQIA+ staff. Having some representation at all levels of an organization truly helps inform direction, policy, and action for the benefit of our communities. What’s more, it is often found that increasing access to quality care for often marginalized communities ameliorates the care for everyone. It truly is a win-win! Additionally, 2SLGBTQIA+ people often find their experience of care is more satisfactory when they see themselves represented by staff, even if the care is technically the same. We all feel more at ease when we can connect with someone we perceive as being similar to ourselves. 

If your workplace does not have an equitable rate of visible 2SLGBTQIA+ staff (current rates suggest 20%), it may be time to make some changes to both attract new staff, and provide a sense of safety for any existing 2SLGBTQIA+ staff to be open about their identities. Here are some ideas to get you started: 

Lastly, don’t expect to achieve this all alone. Reach out to local 2SLGBTQIA+ community groups to build collaborative partnerships. They are the experts in identifying the needs of your local 2SLGBTQIA+ communities and are always looking for allies and partners in delivering quality, accessible, and community-centred services. Work together and you can achieve more than you each would individually. You may also choose to invite a diversity and inclusion consultant into your workplace to assess the specifics of your work environment, and make suggestions for positive, inclusive, and accessible change 

Tiana Dargent (she/her), of Queer Community Deathcare, is a white, cisgender, Queer Femme. In addition to hosting regular 2SLGBTQIA+ Death Soirées, she offers training and consultation to end of life practitioners and organizations with the aim of removing roadblocks to equitable and culturally competent care. 

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