LGBT Workplace Inclusion Guide for China Launched

by Winnie McCroy

EDGE Editor

Thursday September 26, 2013

On Sept. 21 in Beijing, IBM and Goldman Sachs helped launch a new guide to LGBT inclusion in the workplace. According to Gay Star News, the Asian workplace diversity non-profit group Community Business created the "Creating Inclusive Workplaces for LGBT Employees in China" resource guide, which highlights the business case for addressing the needs of LGBT employees and provides the cultural and legal context of LGBT issues in China.

"As companies in China continue to operate and compete in a globalized and interconnected world, the need for companies to distinguish themselves as industry leaders means that there is an increasing need for driving innovation, diversity of thought and better corporate governance," Community Business CEO Fern Ngai told Gay Star News. "Creating a workplace that is free from bias, stigma and where all employees, including LGBT employees, can bring their full selves to work, is good for creativity, innovation and ultimately a company's bottom line."

The guide provides a set of recommendations on how companies can create inclusive workplaces for LGBT employees, including a number of examples of good practice. In preparing it, Community Business set up a group of experts on LGBT issues in China and enlisted the support of groups including the Aibai Culture and Education Center, the Beijing Gender Health Education Institute, the Beijing LGBT Center, the British Council, Common Language, the Health Governance Initiative, Nvai, PFLAG China and UNAIDS. They also engaged with corporate stakeholders to gain insights into some of the issues for LGBT employees in China.

"Through working with a vibrant group of local LGBT organizations and the enthusiasm shown by the corporate participants in our stakeholder engagement sessions in Beijing and Shanghai, we see the enormous potential for China to treat LGBT individuals with respect, openness and equality," Community Business senior program manager and co-author of the guide Amanda Yik said.

Goldman Sachs' Director of Greater China Research and Diversity Champion for China Kelvin Koh noted that there was a clear business case to be made for companies to be more inclusive and LGBT-friendly, and hoped this guide would help companies learn from some of the best practices already in place.

"It is crucial for China as a growing and emerging economy to fully explore the potential of its LGBT population and for companies to have inclusive policies that enable their employees to bring their whole selves to work," said Koh. "We firmly believe that creating an inclusive environment for people in all aspects of society is critical to the success of China."

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.