What is LGBT? Approach by various countries and Japan
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to add provisions related to the prohibition of discrimination to the contract with a host city in September 2014. In the future, the Olympics will not be allowed to be held in cities where discrimination including against "sexual orientation" is present.
Respect for the diversity of gender has been gaining momentum. Under such circumstances, same-gender marriage is currently permitted by over 20 countries and regions in the world. For the first time in Japan, Shibuya ward established a regulation that approves a same-gender couple living in the ward as having "a relation equivalent to a marriage" in 2015 and issued a certification. This became a trending topic, which is still fresh in our memory.
LGBT is an acronym for Lesbian (female homosexual), Gay (male homosexual), Bisexual (ambisexual), and Transgender (those who wish to live with a gender different from the one legally/socially assigned to them when they were born), one of the terms meaning the various ways to live with a gender.
Although Japan is behind developed countries in tackling this theme, the number of LGBT is believed to be approximately 7.6% of the population, or a ratio of one out of thirteen (*1). Apply this rate to your workplaces. LGBT could be people near you, so one of your coworkers sitting next to you might be LGBT.
Even in Japan, LGBT has become recognized increasingly in recent years. Accordingly, the number of companies starting to engage in LGBT problems has increased by 1.8 times compared with a survey conducted two years ago in 2014, and the number of companies showing a basic policy regarding LGBT has also increased by 1.5 times (*2).
Provision of material: a specified nonprofit corporation, "Nijiiro Diversity"
Deepening understanding of LGBT and considering how to face LGBT in your workplaces
The Omron group has started to approach LGBT as an activity of diversity promotion based on a policy that employees' individuality will create new values, leading to corporate power.
Omron invited as a lecturer Maki Murakami, who is the representative of a specified nonprofit corporation engaged in activities to understand and support LGBT, "Nijiiro Diversity," and held a workshop to deepen understanding of the problems, trouble, and various questions LGBT have at the Omron Kyoto office.
Maki Muraki, the representative of a specified nonprofit corporation, "Nijiiro Diversity."
Muraki said that LGBT have a lot of difficulties related to their work. Not only do they feel difficulty in seeking employment but also encounter discriminatory behaviors at work, such as being fired or discriminated against for promotions, and quite a few of them suffer from depression. The participants learned that the person concerned feels certain words and phrases used in our daily, casual conversations as discriminatory or insulting, so it is better not to use them in your workplaces.
What should you do if anyone around you comes out?
In many cases, the persons come out by "selecting" a reliable person. So it is important to accept the coming out calmly and naturally without responding to it negatively and deal with them as coworkers as you have always done. Coming out is a sign that they wish to continue to work there. It is important to make a system in which LGBT and you can discuss how to make the workplace a place to work more easily together.
Omron group's future approach
The employees who participated in the workshop said, "I wonder if the expressions I use unintentionally every day might hurt LGBT. I wish to be careful about the words and phrases I use in the future including the words and phrases someone around me uses."
Your speech and behavior will change only if you change your recognition of LGBT around you from "never exists" to "might exist."
In 2015, Omron clearly stated in the Omron group rule that Omron aims at becoming a corporation where a variety of employees can work actively showing their individuality and abilities without regard to nationality, human race, skin color, religion, family line, ethnic group, marital status, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and age based on the "respect for humanity", one of our values defined by the Omron corporate philosophy.
Omron's approach to LGBT has just started. All the employees are going to deepen their understanding of a variety of employees who have various values and ways of thinking to create a workplace where everyone can work actively with individuality.
(*1) A survey by Dentsu Communication Institute in 2015
(*2) The 11th CSR Survey by The Toyo Keizai in 2016