There is nothing scary about people being different. The only scary thing is when we want everybody to be the same. In the workplace we have several schemes and strategies to
protect the diversity that exists there, in a place where different types of people need to function together. Some of these
are so integral that we almost take them for granted, such as the work canteen having a vegetarian option on the menu as a
few of the employees are likely to be vegetarian, even if we can’t see it by looking at them.
Sexual orientation is also something that isn’t obvious by looking at someone. We estimate that somewhere between 5 and 8 % of the Norwegian population is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT people). This means that almost all larger workplaces, and many smaller ones, have one or more LGBT persons working there. In other words, if one assumes that everyone at work is straight, one is very likely to be wrong.
As a representative for the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) you are privileged. You have the opportunity to make a difference, by contributing to your place of work being a good place to be for everybody. If your starting point is that your colleagues may have a different sexual orientation, you are already well on the way to making life a lot easier for some of them. Clearly this doesn’t mean that you should give LGBT people special treatment. All it means is that, by employing simple methods, you can contribute to people being able to be themselves – at work.
We wish you the best of luck!
Trine Lise Sundnes Secretary, The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions, LO
Karen Pinholt Leader, The Norwegian LGBT Organisation, LLH
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