The dictionary defines a micro-inequity as a subtle message, sometimes subconscious, that devalues, discourages and ultimately impairs performance in the workplace. Unfortunately, what might first appear to be small slights often leads to huge problems, especially in the workplace, and especially when addressing the hidden minority; either those individuals that are LGBT and/or have an invisible disability. Yes, the LGBT and disability communities have more in common that you might think.
The following are examples of such slights that are equally hurtful to both communities:
- After coming out in the workplace someone says, “I suspected you were gay/had a disability.”
- When introducing your newly adopted child at a take your daughters to work day, a co-worker says, “Was it difficult to get a child since you are gay/disabled?”
- In the cafeteria you overhear someone say (in reference to you), “I’m sharing the office with the gay/blind guy” or “she doesn’t look gay/disabled.”
Whether someone is LGBT and/or has a disability, we must keep in mind that first and foremost they are individuals with families, jobs, hobbies, likes and dislikes, problems and joys and while their sexual orientation or disability may be an integral part of who they are, it alone does not and should not define them. Making it comfortable for everyone to be who they are and bring their full selves and creativity to the workplace is critical to everyone’s productivity and overall success”.
I say out with the micro-inequities and in with must-have respect.
Nadine O. Vogel is Founder and President of Springboard Consulting LLC. Springboard collaborates with multinational corporations, Federal governments and national agencies on initiatives to successfully mainstream disability in the global workforce, workplace and marketplace. Springboard also produces the Disability Matters Awards Banquet and Conference which honors those firms that are making great strides in supporting this segment of the population, now the largest minority segment in the world, through diversity, work-life, human resource and marketing/branding initiatives.