herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

Gay, straight or bi? It shouldn’t matter in the workplace

I KNOW someone who is a teacher. They are also gay.

The idea of this person telling their workmates that they are gay is absolutely out of the question. They don't know what the reaction would be if they came out.

They may not lose their job, but it could limit their advancement. Their home life is a secret to the people they spend most of their days with.

I'd find it a miserable existence, but they are used to it and would rather remain silent about their private life.

If you are employed as a teacher in this country, especially a primary school teacher in one of the 2,900 Catholic schools, (which make up 90pc of primary schools) you take a very brave decision to come out. You have a lot to lose.

accepted

I could not bear to work in an environment where my home life was not acknowledged and accepted.

If I was ill at work, I would like my loved one to be called. If there was a work party - I would like my partner to attend.

And if there was any situation that my colleagues' husbands and wives were involved in, I would have to have my partner there too.

In 2014, there are still many employers that need to take on equality issues.

So therefore I would like to do a massive, shameless, blatant well done to Dublin Bus for their recent poster campaign, and their change to their paternity leave policy.

In all the Dublin Bus garages across the city they have put up posters which feature a photo of an employee with the words "I'm a bus driver and I'm gay. So what!"

And another one that reads, "I'm gay, straight, bi...a person".

One cannot underestimate seeing something like this in the work place.

It brings what can still be taboo out into the open. Then it's less of a subject to be joked about and ridiculed by the homophobic idiots of this world.

poster

I was filming in a youth club near Sheriff Street a few weeks ago and a poster about a LGBT teenagers was on the wall.

It was wonderful to see such an open, relaxed attitude to dealing with youngsters and the challenges they may face because of their sexuality.

Dublin Bus has also changed their paternity policy to include lesbian and gay couples who might have or adopt a child.

To prevent bullying, depression, feelings of inadequacy and fear - all employers should follow Dublin Bus's lead and adjust their employment policies to protect their LGBT employees.

I don't know how gay teachers keep their home life a secret, and I wish they didn't have to.

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