Organisational Issues


This week has been…. challenging ๐Ÿ™‚ If you’ll forgive the corporate doublespeak. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The web hosting for Chameleons was moved mid last week and while the hosting company did an excellent job of migrating both the site and forum, some gremlins got in. That resulted in two long telephone calls last weekend to tech support (who were very helpful). Luckily, no data was lost, which is good. However, I could’ve done without the stress. Also, the Ever Lovely Mrs J fell poorly late Thursday night and that’s really not like her. Luckily Val was on hand to step in and keep the evening going for Chams (thanks Mrs โค๏ธ). A good night’s kip has helped Mrs J, although she’s still not quite 100%, bless her. So, yeah, a few too many rocks in the stress bucket this week.

Too many stones in the bucket means less room for water

Talking of stress, Diane posted a link to a BBC News story about how LGBTQ+ people are treated at work and there’s links to recent studies in the UK. While we have come on a long way as a society, the reports show we’ve some way to go.

For example, there’s this….

Forty percent of LGB+ workers and 55% of trans workers have experienced such conflict, compared with 29% of heterosexual, cisgender employees.

CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development)

… and this:

Where 35% of LGBT+ people hide who they are at work for fear of discrimination – and two in five haven’t told anyone about being bi at work – we are in a situation where the government does need to step in.

Robbie de Santos, Stonewall

I think there’s a few sides to this. Firstly, if people at your place of work are not being treated with respect, I would ask is that okay? I think you could argue that’s the moral case of do the right thing so people are treated fairly.

I think there’s also a money and a productivity aspect. People who are worried about things, as in perceived or actual, well, that concern saps their strength. It’s yet another thing to have to carry in your head and it pushes work aside. The result is people are less efficient. Not because they’re lazy, useless, or a ‘snowflake’.

I, and I dare say a number of us, have worked for organisations – and to be polite ๐Ÿ˜‰ – the experience could have been better. What did a lot of us do? Leave at the first chance we got. The expertise in our heads walked straight out of the door….. and quite possibly into a competitor’s. Hmm…. This feels a bit self defeatist for a company doesn’t it? ๐Ÿค”

If the organisational culture is particularly bad, it’s not just the productivity of staff churn that hits hard: so is the money making. At a brutal level, there’s being sued. You may also find managers and leaders are tied up in investigative work and while they’re doing that, yup, they ain’t working on the stuff you employed them to do! ๐Ÿ™‚

So is this an LGBTQ thing? I would argue no. In my passing myself off as a middle class, cisgender, heterosexual bloke (I’m also white, which is another privilege), I’ve witnessed a few ‘isms’ over the years at previous employers: sexism, racism, ageism, etc. My experience is the disrespect starts off like an infection. It starts small but grows after picking on easy targets: often women, LGBTQ folk, or people of colour. When there’s no push back to stop bad behaviour, the infection grows, moving on to affect ‘others’. Others as in anyone deemed different. Left unchecked, well, you’ve seen the above negatives and worse case outcomes. If you decide to tolerate a certain level of discrimination, it’ll be a long term malaise that will affect morale through the organisation and that’ll cost you good people, money, and time.

Hmmm. ๐Ÿค” If I put my coaching hat on, what do we need to make things happen? Oh yes, people, money, and time. ๐Ÿ˜‰

If that’s the impact of such behaviours, what is the way out of that? Well, anti discrimination policies can help, but rules are not enough on their own. For change to take place, you need to change how certain folk think about working with others and how they think about anyone who isn’t just like them. Unconscious Bias workshops can assist with that, but this is only part of the fix. The other element is changing the system so that discrimination can’t re-establish a hold on your organisation. That may mean going into What’s Okay discussions, letting people challenge negative behaviours, and empowering folk to feel okay to do so.

On a personal note, I’m not out at work because of privacy for my family. I am, however, curious about how being – to use a modern phrase ๐Ÿ™‚ – being my authentic self might change work. Not just for me, but also my relationship between colleagues. When I talked about my mental health issues around a decade ago, a handful of co-workers got in touch to say that they were (or had been) struggling with similar. Might that be the same around gender nonconformity?

Holiday mode rather than office ready

L x


  1. In some place I’ve worked *sideeyes the public sector* you can’t even rely on decreasing profits to encourage change. They’ll just note the drop in productivity and try to fix it by cutting costs (usually staffing levels or working conditions) which inevitably makes things WORSE…

    1. Yes, there’s that risk of Race to the Bottom in terms of costs. Then the issue of being, IMO, too thin rather than lean, so you can’t respond to doing the work. It’s quite the balancing act.

      I’ve noticed a few IT contacts where they are ‘three year fixed term’ and I wonder who goes for these? The casualisation of work does work concern me. Not just from a personal level (rent, mortgage, child care, food, bills, etc), but as someone in a team who’s depending on others: will the people I need be there next month?

  2. Thanks for the link, Lynn. I’ve posted it back to our own Pride group.
    Was cheered to see one of my colleagues wearing one of our Pride T shirts during during the morning team meeting.
    That comment about wasting metal energy worrying about what you can or can’t say when someone asks about your weekend or your week off or thing up excuses why you can’t attend this or that social do was also made on a discussion during Pride week and I think it was one of the things that managers and leaders picked up on. Team where everyone can be open. A lot of them certainly picked up on the fact that a stressed team member was not likely to be a fully productive member of their team, so it spoke to them in terms they could understand. As you know, I’m still not there yet, but being open about being a LGBT+ ally (and seeing my own manager and team members openly support this) is already a big step over the last year.
    If disrespect is like an infection them maybe a culture that encourages a strong presence of open and visible LBGT+ (and also Women in STEM and BAME) allies in the workplace is like a vaccine. It might not eliminate it (there will be be knuckle-draggers in every workplace), but it’ll stop it spreading.

    1. Just passing things along, Susie ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m curious what your colleagues might think of the topics raised in the article. Maybe a subject for a blog post? ๐Ÿ˜‰ That said, I think bloggers need to be careful around talking of their employment as there can be repercussions. Hold on… are we back to “You’re free to say as you like, but not free of the consequences?” ๐Ÿ˜

      I think it’s surprising – at least personal experience – on what I find myself worrying about and how that affects what I’m able to take on. In previous jobs where I’ve not felt supported, I’ve held back and sometimes that’s worse. However, when feeling supported at work (like now), I will do high impact work where I feel it’s better to try and then adjust to be right, than not do at all.

  3. I could make more than a few comments on improving workplace interactions but you speak eloquently enough. It’s a bane. It is essential to nip abuse in the bud but most people are either too scared to or don’t realise they’re being abused. As ever, as far as being LGBT goes, I work on a need to know basis. “What did you do at the weekend?” Full answer: I was dressed to the nines in a late-night club with some glamorous TGirls and we were all fabulous. Diplometic answer: “Oh, just saw some friends I hadn’t seen in a while. They live in Nottingham. Where the Sherriff comes from.” Sue x

    1. A friend at Chams said to me “a rising tide lifts all boats” when we were talking about inclusivity. Perhaps, if you will, an approach that goes against the divisive noise from some quarters, that rights are finite like sharing out money.

      “Where the Sherriff comes from…”

      ๐Ÿ˜ Is that a Charlie’s Aunt reference?

      1. Maybe deeeeeep in my sub-subconscious where even Freud dare not go …

        I forgot to say before that I think the outfit in the pic is cute. I love the skirt especially, really pretty.

        Sue x

        1. Perhaps it’s best not to dig to deeply into one’s inner workings ๐Ÿ™‚

          Thanks for the kind words about the outfit. I think I bought it two years ago when I wanted something cool (as in temperature) to wear and to break from leggings. Even with cooling shorts (thanks Snag) underneath to hold the hip padding in place, it’s very comfortable.

  4. Sorry to hear about Mrs J but glad she’s on the mend.

    On the subject of workplaces, in my own situation one might make the case that the clients are better served by the culture than the employees (that should be sufficiently enigmatic to avoid bringing my place of work into any hot water). So it is that we are fabulous (fittingly) at supporting those whom we serve that are in the QUILTBAG but much more Section 28 when it comes to staffing. Or, rather, that chilling effect lingers longer in places it perhaps should not.

    That said, I took a risk today (brown Alice band rather than black; pink accents on my anti-glare glasses plus purple shirt and lavender tie) and no-one has so much as looked twice. Perhaps the Section 28 was in me all along.๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Good to know things are swinging the right way.

      In terms of culture – or ‘thinking’ even – within organisations, each team or department may have a certain world view – even if it’s contradictory at times.

      I wonder if there’s also a culture within the regular customers, attendees, students and/or (shudder) ‘stakeholders’ that’s influenced by those providing (and not providing) what folk expect?

      Looking at my children and their experience of being students, it seems the QUILTBAG situation is very good, with staff doing their best to bring them along. As someone who was a teen during Section 28, it’s a huge difference and it’s great to see kids bloom. โค๏ธ

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