IDAHOT 2017

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) draws attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTI people across the globe.

Senior executive, Caroline Edwards has been appointed as the LGBTI Ally for staff at the Department of Human Services. Caroline’s role as an LGBTI Ally means she is responsible for promoting a fair, safe and inclusive workplace for LGBTI staff.

“IDAHOT is a great opportunity for us to promote our goal of providing workplaces which are fair, safe and inclusive of all people regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status,” Caroline said.

“Unfortunately, LGBTI people continue to experience exclusion and discrimination in the community. They may be concerned about facing hostility or prejudice if they choose to be open about being a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex person in the workplace. I want to do what I can to change that.”

Caroline’s role as the department’s LGBTI Ally allows her to be involved in decision making.

“We’ve implemented a Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Strategy which is supported by the LGBTI Inclusion Plan. The strategy outlines our commitment to action and how we’ll bring about change in the workplace,” Caroline said.

“It’s well accepted that senior leaders can influence the tone in an organisation by modelling best practice behaviours, so I am really pleased to be able to visibly demonstrate my support for LGBTI inclusion.

“I provide leadership to drive LGBTI inclusion initiatives. We’re working to improve visibility and awareness. It is important we challenge and influence staff to bring about cultural change to embed LGBTI inclusion principals in the culture of the department and represent the needs of LGBTI staff.”

Caroline recognises that including staff in the decision making process is important.

“The department facilitates a LGBTI network where staff can network with each other and contribute to the department’s LGBTI inclusion initiatives,” Caroline said.

The department aims to foster an inclusive workplace free from discrimination and aims to be recognised as an employer of choice for LGBTI staff.

“My conversations with members of the LGBTI network have shown me how important visible signs of LGBTI inclusion are in our workplaces.”

While Caroline is the LGBTI Ally for staff, workplace diversity and inclusion is considered to be everybody’s responsibility.

The department fosters a workplace environment and culture where all staff can feel free to be themselves.

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