The Queensland public sector is committed to supporting all employees, and creating an inclusive and diverse workforce that better reflects the community we serve.
Up to 11% of the population identify as LGBTIQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer) according to the Australian Department of Health. This roughly equates to 23,000 Queensland public sector employees.
Research shows that in Australian workplaces:
- approximately 45% of LGBTIQ+ employees hide their sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status at work
- one-third of those expend significant energy hiding their identity
- one in two LGBTIQ+ employees have witnessed homophobia (jokes, harassment or discrimination) at work
- one in six have personally experienced homophobia at work.
LGBTIQ+ employees need to feel safe, valued and supported to bring their whole selves to work.
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The Queensland public sector LGBTIQ+ inclusion strategy | provides a framework for strengthening LGBTIQ+ inclusion across the public sector. It builds on the Queensland public sector inclusion and diversity strategy 2015–2020.
The actions and approaches in the strategy build on existing foundations which are already driving inclusion across the sector. These include:
- a cross-agency LGBTIQ+ steering committee to promote and support inclusion initiatives
- an LGBTIQ+ employee network
- sector-wide participation in community events, including Brisbane Pride March and International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT)
- policies that allow employees in same-sex relationships equal entitlements to leave, including parental, surrogacy and adoption leave, superannuation and domestic and family violence support.
The Queensland public sector LGBTIQ+ employee network provides LGBTIQ+ employees, their friends and allies with opportunities to connect, share information, and foster inclusive and supportive workplaces.
The network operates a mailing list to keep members informed of upcoming events and initiatives and holds networking events or learning opportunities on a quarterly basis.
Towards the end of each calendar year an expression of interest will be circulated, seeking applications from employees to join the Queensland public sector LGBTIQ+ Steering Committee.
To support the Queensland Public Sector LGBTIQ+ Inclusion Strategy for employees and the work of the LGBTIQ+ Steering Committee, a Rainbow Liaison Officer (RLO) program has been established. The program provides employees with an appropriate internal contact point to discuss LGBTIQ+ issues and concerns with the RLO having access to relevant referrals and resources. The program was introduced by Department of Education (DoE) and Department of Environment and Science (DES) in October 2018.
Regional RLOs in DES are located in Cairns, Townsville and Rainbow Beach and will offer localised support to employees from any government agency in these locations. Brisbane based RLOs will provide support to both Brisbane and regional employees. Program RLOs in Education are scattered across the state, and will be focussed primarily on supporting employees within their department.
RLOs are employees who have volunteered to become a workplace champion for staff of LGBTIQ+ inclusion. They have completed training by appropriate external bodies to prepare them for the role. RLOs are not counsellors, but offer the role of supporter for employees within the workplace.
For more information about the program, please email the LGBTIQ_ Steering Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Public Service Commission has developed resources for employees and agencies as part of the Queensland public sector LGBTIQ+ inclusion strategy.
Alternatively, contact the human resources team in your agency for additional resources.
A range of resources from other states and leading organisations can be found below:
- Australian Human Rights Commission ‘Face the Facts: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex People’
- Fact sheets on LGBTIQ inclusion from the ACT Public Service
- Victorian Public Sector Inclusive Language Guide
- 2014-2016 South Australian Strategy for the Inclusion of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer People
- Organisation Intersex International Australia Employer Guide to Intersex Inclusion
- Pride in Diversity Australian Workplace Equality Index
- Stonewall Sexual Orientation Employer Toolkit
- Stonewall Guide for Managing a Diverse Workforce
- Guidelines for Gender Transition in the ACT Public Service
- Gender Transition in the Workplace, a Guide for Managers (sample)
- Transgender awareness fact sheet (www.humanrights.gov.au)