Category : Sport

ANZ Pride Network gives back… and plans to give more in 2016

Encouraging ANZ Pride Network members to utilise their Volunteer leave with LGBTI organisations has been a priority in 2015, and we’re proud to say that our members have been out in force this year.

In 2015, ANZ staff across the bank Volunteered 108,000 hours some of which were Pride Network members volunteering with visits to the Victorian AIDS Council as well as the Lesbian and Gay Archives. Both of these organisations appreciate ANZ’s involvement and have written to the bank or posted messages of thanks on social media.

The most recent of these volunteer activities was making Red Ribbons for World AIDS day on 1st December, where more than 100 hours were volunteers across two ANZ sites for this worthy cause.

Caption: some of our wonderful volunteers with Daniel from the VAC who provided an overview of the VAC and why World AIDS day is so important

In total, more than 2,500 ribbons were made for distribution within ANZ on World AIDS day, as well as 750 pre-cut ribbons for 2016 (we even ran out of cardboard backing!).

Some of our Pride Network committee

MORE volunteers helping to distribute the ribbons on 1st December.

We’re looking forward to continuing our volunteering efforts in 2016 by expanding the number of GLBTI (or GLBTI supporting) organisations where volunteering opportunities can be provided; particularly in each state the Pride Network has a presence.

We’re proud of our diverse and inclusive organisation and the volunteers who continue to give back to the LGBTI community.

Find out more about the Red Ribbon Appeal.

LGBTI Diversity and Inclusion in Australian Media

Like many of the new and emerging areas of LGBTI inclusion and diversity practice, media holds a special place in Australian society.

Australian media can play an important role when it comes to the depiction of characters in TV shows and films. Just like the portrayal of a powerful female boss (think Jessica Pearson in Suits) is impactful, so too is the depiction of LGBTI people in roles or even occupations that do not conform to historical stereotypes.

And whether it’s the use of superseded, inaccurate or stigmatising language, such as hermaphrodite rather than intersex, tranny rather than trans or transgender or sexual preference rather than sexual orientation, or the perpetuation of damaging stereotypes, such as the historically limited, highly sexualised and often mis-gendered portrayal of trans people, there is a strong argument to be made that a lack of inclusive practice and LGBTI awareness in Australian media can lead to a harmful portrayal of our community, not to mention the impact that then filters through to the lived experience of LGBTI people in Australian society.

In an incredibly insightful article, 18-year-old Melbournite, Shaad D’Souza, examines the state of play when it comes to diversity on Australian television.[1] D’Souza recognises the impact of shows like Please Like Me on the ABC, which features a gay protagonist played by show creator, Josh Thomas – a well-known and openly gay Australian comedian. And, since the beginning of this year, the SBS has piloted and heavily promoted The Family Law, a TV adaptation of Benjamin Law’s memoirs of the same name. Benjamin Law is of course another gay Australian icon and one who frequently draws on his story and perspective, including his Chinese heritage, in his creative works.

D’Souza poses a number of important questions in his article, which are not the focus of this post.
At Pride in Diversity, the important question we would ask is: “What impact does a lack of diversity in television and other media programming have on our community, or even the Australian media industry itself for that matter?” We have similar conversations with our member organisations, who together represent most of the significant employers in the country. In a “typical” business environment, where an organisation’s values do not visibly embody those of its customers and the community, including the LGBTI community and its allies, there is a significant commercial impact, comprised of some or more of the following:

  • A diminished capacity to form meaningful client/customer relationships with LGBTI identifying people and their allies
  • Difficulty attracting, but more importantly retaining, the most talented people
  • The impact on the perception and/or reality of the culture or brand of the organisation as one that that is not diverse and inclusive

Another increasingly important consideration is the fact that an investment in diversity and inclusion, beyond gender (for a discussion of gender diversity in the context of LGBTI inclusion, click here), is becoming inevitable – including for some of the reasons identified above. So the discussions we have with organisations who are thinking about becoming members of Pride in Diversity are not around “if” they will invest in LGBTI inclusion initiatives, but rather “when” and “how” they will invest in those initiatives.

The number and diversity of the organisations who are members of Pride in Diversity has exponentially increased over the course of 2015, with elite professional sporting bodies such as the National Rugby League and retail brands such as Westfield Shopping Centres, opening new and exciting portfolios and industries for LGBTI inclusion initiatives in partnership with Pride in Diversity.

Is Australian media next? And who will be first or the leader in this space?

Australian media has a lot to gain by investing in a systematic and meaningful approach to LGBTI inclusion, and doing so would have a tremendous impact on Australian society at large, particularly at such a crucial time in our history with the transformation of LGBTI legal rights in Australia. D’Souza mentions the $5 million investment that Screen Australia have announced to address gender imbalances on Australian screens; organisations or representative bodies in Australian media ought to consider investing a minute fraction of that amount in LGBTI inclusion and diversity initiatives as well.

Pride in Diversity take a ‘deep dive’ into an area of focus in LGBTI inclusion every year, which culminates in an annual publication – previous publication titles include “Let’s Talk Gender” and the “Employer’s Guide to Intersex Inclusion”. Please contact the Pride in Diversity team for more information.



Featured image is Josh Thomas, creator and star of the incredibly funny Please Like Me on the ABC.


What recruiters need to know about the companies they recruit for.

Let’s talk diversity. It’s not just a buzz word. There are many organisations out there that are active in the diversity space, that genuinely value diverse talent and that see individual diversity as a strength, a competency, a unique value add for an employee.

But while many employers talk diversity, we need to be careful how much our recruiters (both internal and external) promote it. We know it’s high on the potential employer wish list for graduates. People want to work for organisations with a sense of corporate social responsibility, ones that are inclusive, ones in which their employee base reflects the diversity of the community that they live in. And it’s high on the employee value proposition for many employers, it’s what could set their offer apart from others.

So why wouldn’t recruiters promote how much an employer values diversity?

The problem is not in promoting diversity and inclusion as an employee value proposition but rather in assuming that diversity and inclusion is a blanket coverall for all diverse people; as opposed to one or two demographics that the organisation focuses on.

For example, we can’t assume that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) inclusion is a given regardless of how much an organisation promotes themselves as a diversity leader.

As Australian’s national employer support program for LGBTI inclusion, we have spoken to many organisations over the years (and continue to do so) where LGBTI inclusion is dismissed as either not relevant, not a focus or a little too forward thinking. Some of Australia’s largest employers still won’t touch this space. So are we sending a false message when we discuss this organisations passion for diversity?

With LGBTI inclusion now being recognised as one of the fastest growing areas of diversity practice, the number of Australian employers actively promoting LGBTI inclusion both internally and externally is growing exponentially.

We are constantly in awe of some of the initiatives being undertaken by our members and the community organisations that are being supported in the process. LGBTI inclusive employers are now actively promoting their LGBTI initiatives at recruitment fares, community events and within recruitment guides encouraging people from within the LGBTI community to seek them as an employer of choice.

So does this mean that for many seeking new roles the assumption will be that if an organisation promoted diversity, this includes LGBTI inclusion?

Will your potential candidates expect there to be an LGBTI employee network?

Will they expect to be able to openly chat about their same-sex partner at work?

Will they assume that it’s a given that their partner will be invited to company events?

Will they want to answer honestly rapport-building questions about their life asked by colleagues, managers, clients?

Most likely yes and sadly, these assumptions would make a lot of employers very nervous.

We need to be mindful of sending the wrong messages. Too many employees are told to hide their sexuality as it will impact their job. Too many are told to take down a picture of their family. Too many are passed over for promotions and career opportunities because of an individual’s personal views or fear of stigma. Yes, even in this day and age.

To add another layer of complexity, let’s talk about the recruitment of transgender and intersex people. Too many openly sex and gender diverse people don’t even make it to the interview stage. We rarely see people discussing the difficulty that many transgender people face when seeking employment and what we can do about that. And how many recruiters could competently respond to related questions from an openly intersex person?

We have spoken to many transgender people over the years who have been extremely distressed by the challenges faced in recruitment as a direct result of their transgender history. While some people can “pass” easily there is still an issue of employment history, credit checks, name changes, gender marker change that will at some stage come up within any extensive checks that a potential employer may undertake. Disclosure at the interview stage is important if somebody wants to go into a role without fear of their history been discovered, facing negative repercussions as a result of their history or for not disclosing in the first instance.

One very skilled employee looking for a role change recently told us that an external recruiter advised her to remove everything currently online that may give her gender history away along with any mention of any transgender community work and advocacy undertaken. She was told that unless she did, it would be highly unlikely that she would get employment. This woman was very proud to be transgender, highly educated, extremely competent and wanted to be a positive role model for others. Fortunately for her, she did not heed that advice and did find an employer that valued her talent and was completely unphased by her gender history. Having come from a very LGBTI inclusive organisation, the shock of the “real world” was overwhelming.

This is where recruiters can play a life-changing and value-add role not only for diversity candidates but for the organisations that they recruit for. There is no doubt that the majority of recruiters fully understand the value of diversity for both the candidates and organisations seeking new talent. But to what degree?

Would you as a recruiter feel absolutely confident putting a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex person forward for a role, knowing that they would find a rewarding career in an inclusive culture in which they could truly thrive?

If a potential candidate disclosed that they were transgender or intersex, do you understand some of the challenges that this person may face if put forward for a role in a non-inclusive culture; even if the organisation rated diversity as high on their EVP?

It is imperative that internal recruitment teams are trained in LGBTI awareness / inclusivity and that sufficient coverage is given to the difficulty faced by many transgender people. While this may not be the experience of every transgender person, the fear around recruitment is very real for the majority of people.

Education for external recruiters is also important. If an organisation is genuinely LGBTI inclusive, external recruiters need to know this. This should be clearly spoken about amongst your other diversity initiatives as a cultural value add during the recruitment process. This will provide people with the confidence to disclose or ask further questions in relation to the extent of the organisations inclusivity.

If you would welcome transgender, gender diverse, intersex candidates, communicate this also. Even though we include transgender and intersex people within commonly used acronyms, communicating this will ensure that the ‘T’ and ‘I’ in LGBTI is not assumed to be a tokenistic add-on.

Gender diverse individuals generally will have more obstacles to overcome in seeking employment, most of which aren’t given any consideration. If someone discloses that they are transgender, agender, bi-gender, inter-gender or gender fluid within an interview process, how would you respond? Do you know what they mean? Do you have an idea of what that the employee may value? Do you understand what some of the expectations of the employer would be?

We need to understand the extent of an organisations inclusivity. Once we understand this, we can respectfully discuss and address any concerns or questions from sex or gender diverse employees; and in the case of external recruiters, possibly point people in the direction of inclusive employers.

As more organisations promote themselves as LGBTI inclusive, the expectations of your potential candidates will increase. Questions will be asked. The question is, can you answer them?

Dawn Hough is Director of ACON’s Pride in Diversity initiative, Australia’s national not-for-profit employer support program for LGBTI workplace inclusion.  For more information on Pride in Diversity or inclusivity training please call (02) 9206 2139.


Pride in Diversity is excited to announce that we’ve signed the International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) as our 100th member.
Commenting on this significant milestone, Mark Orr, ACON President, said:
“With workplace equality now an integral part of many businesses in Australia, more and more companies are recognising the enormous value and benefits of creating an inclusive workplace for their lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) employees.

“All the available data shows that people will perform better and make a more productive contribution to a workplace if they can be themselves and feel safe at work. That is precisely why so many of Australia’s leading companies have recognised that workplace inclusion is not only good for their employees but also good for their business bottom line.

“Just over five years ago, Pride in Diversity had eight foundation members including the Australian Federal Police, Department of Defence, Goldman Sachs, IBM,ING, KPMG, Lendlease, Telstra and we now we have a diverse and expanding membership base.

“In addition to the growing number of employers who believe in welcoming and supporting LGBTI people, the need for inclusive LGBTI service delivery is increasingly seen as an essential component to good welfare and health provision. In response to this, and as an extension of the National LGBTI Aged Care Training Initiative, ACON has established a training and consultancy team to support providers deliver inclusive and safe LGBTI services.

Pride in Diversity Director Dawn Hough welcomed the International Convention Centre Sydney and said, “We are absolutely delighted to welcome on board the International Convention Centre City Sydney as our 100th member. By joining Pride in Diversity companies have the opportunity to showcase their commitment to equality and diversity in the workplace, as demonstrated by one of our founding members Lendlease, who are also part of the Public Private Partnership with the NSW Government that is delivering ICC Sydney.

“We are very proud to be working with 100 incredible members. We look forward to establishing new relationships with those who have come on board recently and continuing with those who we have worked with over the years to change the landscape of every workplace so that a person’s LGBT identity is – no more or less – important than any other aspect of identity amongst all employees.

“And of course we look forward to welcoming our next 100 members.”

ICC Sydney CEO Geoff Donaghy said the AEG Ogden managed venue would welcome guests from across Sydney, the nation and the world and just as its patrons represented diverse nations, industries, ages, sexual orientation and career paths, its people would represent a diverse workforce.

“At ICC Sydney, we recognise and value the different knowledge, skills, backgrounds and perspectives that people bring to work irrespective of their age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or social background. Workforce diversity builds organisational capability and will help us deliver on our goals for collaboration, productivity and innovation. An ingredient in our world class guest experience will be the diversity visible within our workforce, our partners, our supplier base, and our activity,” he said.

Pride & Diversity also operates the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI), which is a free service provided annually that evaluates and benchmarks LGBTI inclusiveness in Australian workplaces. It comprises the largest and only national employee survey designed to gauge the overall impact of inclusion initiatives on organisational culture as well as identifying and non-identifying employees. The AWEI Index and its associated top 20 Inclusive Awards drive best practice in Australia and set a comparative benchmark for Australian employers across all sectors.

Download the full media release here. 

In the Media –  SX 28 August 2015.

LGBTI** Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Community

More information:
Andrew Hamadanian, ACON Media & Communications Officer
E: | T: (02) 9206 2044 | M: 0419 555 768

Australia’s Top 20 Employers For LGBTI Employees 2015 Announced

From left to right: Michael Belmore, James Collins, Tanya Matthewson and Faris Cosic – Members Of PWC’s GLEE LGBTI Employee Group

PwC has been named Australia’s Employer of the Year for 2015, the first time an employer has picked up the coveted title twice, at a special event recognising workplace support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.

The Australian arm of the global professional services firm topped a list of 20 organisations which were recognised today at a special luncheon in Sydney organised by Pride in Diversity, Australia’s first and only national employer support program for the inclusion of LGBTI people in the workplace.

The awards were determined using Pride In Diversity’s Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI), a free service provided annually by Pride In Diversity that evaluates and benchmarks LGBTI inclusiveness in Australian workplaces.

Other awards at the luncheon included: LGBTI Employee Network of the Year (Westpac GLOBAL); Highest Ranking University (Curtin University); Highest Ranking Public Sector Organisation (Australian Federal Police & Department of Defence); and Achievement Award for Most Improved (HSBC).

ANZ won an Innovation Award for their GayTM’s, Key Assets won Small Employer Award and Children & Young People’s Mental Health picked up the Regional Employer Award. Australian Red Cross Blood Collection was also named Highest Ranking Not-for-Profit/Charity.

This year individuals from Lend Lease (Jason Burubu), Deakin University (Roxanne/Bobby J Thomson), Westpac Group (Brad Cooper and Kristina Bennett) and Curtin University (Maz Rahman) were acknowledged for their significant contribution to LGBTI workplace inclusion initiatives.

Presenting the Awards at the Ceremony, the Hon Michael Kirby AC, said, “I applaud all the organisations here today, and indeed individuals who have played critical roles in their ongoing commitment and support of their LGBTI employees and colleagues.

“While many employees feel comfortable to be themselves at work, let’s not lose sight of the fact that many more do not. Where we stand today is still not good enough. The more inclusive your workplace culture, the more likely people will be to engage, respect and contribute to the organisation they are working for.”

Pride in Diversity Director Dawn Hough says more organisations are engaging with the AWEI. “This is the fifth year of the AWEI. The number of employers participating has increased by 152% from Year 1 and we now have over 9000 employees participating in the employee survey. The focus on LGBTI inclusion initiatives has increased substantially. We are really looking at our Top 20 Employers now as examples of good practice. There is very little difference point-wise between some of these employers, in some cases, as little as 1 point between leaderboard positions.”

Approximately 450 people attended the sold-out event at the Westin in Sydney on May 15, MC’d by Bob Downe. Guests included Pride In Diversity patron the Hon. Michael Kirby, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs, Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson and CEO’s and Leaders from some of Australia’s largest commercial and public sector organisations. On the back of the announcement that Pride in Diversity will also be developing an index to address homophobia in sports, representatives from Bingham Cup, Football Federation Australia, Cricket Australia, Australian Sports Commission, Australian Rugby Union, National Rugby League and AFL were also present.

“Pride in Diversity congratulates all the organisations recognised today on their significant achievement and for showing great leadership in the area of diversity and inclusion,” Ms Hough says.

The 2015 Top 20 Australian employers for LGBTI people are:

  • 1. PwC
  • 2. Westpac Group
  • 3. Curtin University
  • 4. Commonwealth Bank of Australia
  • 5. Goldman Sachs
  • 6. ANZ
  • 7. Macquarie Bank
  • 8. Lend Lease
  • 9. National Australia Bank
  • 10. The University of WA
  • 11. IBM
  • 12. EY
  • 13. Australian Red Cross Blood Service
  • =14. Accenture
  • = 14. Allens
  • 16. UnitingCare Ageing NSW.ACT
  • =17. Australian Federal Police
  • =17. Department of Defence
  • 19. Herbert Smith Freehills
  • 20. Telstra

Pride In Diversity is a program of ACON, NSW’s leading HIV and LGBTI health organisation.
*LGBTI – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex


For more info please contact:
Dawn Hough, Pride In Diversity Director
T: (02) 9206 2136 M: 0409 887 212 E:

Media Enquiries:
Andrew Hamadanian, ACON Media & Communication Officer
E: T: (02) 9206 2044 M: 0419 555 768

Australian Financial Review: Pricewaterhousecoopers-wins-top-employer-for-lgbti-support

At a slightly more than black-and-grey corporate event on Friday, professional services firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, was awarded Australia’s 2015 employer of the year for workplace support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.

Westpac Group and Curtin University took out second and third place respectively in the Australian Workplace Equality Index conducted by employer support program, Pride In Diversity.

Read the full article. 

GAY PAY GAP: The impact of orientation on salary & earnings growth

Dawn Hough, Pride in Diversity, Australia

There have been several reports and research studies over the last couple of years reporting on the pay gap between gay men, gay women and their heterosexual counterparts.

In 2014, a study commissioned by World Bank and IZA World of Labor looking into Sexual orientation and labor market outcomes concluded that gay men and lesbians report greater levels of harassment and unfair treatment, as well as the more positive impacts of being out at work in terms of higher job satisfaction and engagement. This is not new to many in the Diversity & Inclusion profession. What was particularly interesting about this report though was the global pay disparity between gay men, lesbian women and their heterosexual colleagues.

The report claimed that average earning differentials disfavoured gay men by up to 9% compared to their heterosexual colleagues; while gay women earned up to a 12% premium in wages compared to their heterosexual counterparts. Studies were undertaken between 1989-2014 comparing individuals of comparable education, experience and skills across several countries. Disparities across countries varied greatly and researchers were quick to point out a substantial variance around estimates.

Differentials quoted included:


The latest study on pay disparity between gay men, lesbian women and their heterosexual counterparts comes out of the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Melbourne. The very recent study, published March 2015, was conducted by Professor Mark Wooden (University of Melbourne) and Professor Joseph Sabia (San Diego State University). This study focused on sexual identity, earnings and labour market dynamics with new evidence from longitudinal data in Australia. The data was collected from the 2012 Household, Income and Labour Dynamics Survey (HILDA) and comprised responses from more than 10,000 people.

This study contradicts the findings quoted in the 2 014 IZA study with Australian gay pay disparity being quote as below:

Gay Males in Australia (in comparison to heterosexual counterparts)

  • Gay men face up to a 20% earning penalty, partially attributable to earning growth penalties over time
  • Gay men experience more frequent gaps in continuous employment
  • Earnings decline for gay males open about sexuality at work and in a relationship in comparison to their heterosexual counterparts.

Lesbian Women in Australia (in comparison to heterosexual counterparts)

  • Earnings premium of at least 33 per cent
  • Attributed to increased labour supply and to a lesser extent, greater earnings over time
  • Earnings for those with a partner were found to be higher than those without

Across the two reports, observations and suggestions for the pay disparity include:

Lesbian women

  • Many lesbian women not conforming to traditional family roles decide to invest more heavily in education, staying at school longer, undertaking higher degrees
  • Lesbian women reported to work longer hours (up to 20%)
  • Earnings premium more to do with increased labour supply and to a lesser extent, greater earnings growth over time
  • Less lesbian women have family commitments with only 22% of lesbian women having children in comparison to 59% of heterosexual women

Gay men

  • Gay male characteristics may be valued less than those of heterosexual men
  • Non-conformity to traditional gender roles
  • Wages of gay men growing at a much slower rate than those of heterosexual men
  • Those who live openly with a partner face larger earning penalties.

In addition to the above explanations, both reports make mention of the role that labour market discrimination plays, particularly in relation to gay men who are “out” at work alongside the diminished chances of job interview selection if resumes reflect one’s orientation. On this, the Melbourne study notes that changing attitudes in Australia between 2000 and 2010 have been quite dramatic with “a 2013 Pew Research Centre poll finding that 80 percent of Australians believed that homosexuality should be accepted by society”.

Over the last five years, Pride in Diversity[1], an Australian not-for-profit member based organisation assisting employers with LGBTI workplace inclusion has witnessed a considerable increase in the number of organisations engaging with Pride in Diversity in order to establish LGBTI inclusion initiatives within their workplaces. Equally, the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI)[2] has since 2010, reported a significant year-on-year change in best practice alignment, bringing Australian organisations at the top of their field to be on par with international best practice.

Given the significant change in attitudes over the last 5-10 years and the explosion of LGBTI inclusion practices onto the Corporate Diversity & Inclusion Agenda, it would be interesting to see the impact of these initiatives on this data over the next five years. With social inclusion, diversity and good corporate citizenship being high on the wish list for incoming graduates and future employees in addition to a more aware and inclusive population, we anticipate that attitudes will continue to change and that stigma and discrimination will play less of a role in pay gap disparity, in particular for gay men.

Just as organisations tracks pay equity for their female population, those active in the work of LGBTI workplace inclusion would gain a great deal by tracking pay equity for their LGBTI populations. Given the difficulty for many LGBTI people to be open about their orientation, gender identity and/or intersex status, the work of breaking down barriers, tackling discriminatory practices and calling non-acceptable behaviour needs to remain high on the agenda. While these figures, particularly for gay men may seem alarming in themselves, we would suggest that those for transgender and openly intersex employees would be significantly higher.

As more and more evidence comes to light in terms of workplace inequity, our younger generations and inclusive employers will become less tolerant of any form of workplace discrimination, bullying and/or harassment. LGBTI workplace inclusion is no longer a nice to have but an imperative for the employer of choice and best practice organisations. This research once again highlights the importance of inclusion initiatives and the ongoing prejudice and discrimination that some LGBTI employees face.

For more information about Pride in Diversity and how the program can benefit your organisation, please contact Stephanie Mellor on (02) 9206.2139 or email Dawn Hough at


Mathew, J (2014), Lesbian employees earn 8% more than straights in the UK, while gay men get 5% less, IB Times referenced at

Drydakis, N. (2014), Sexual orientation and labour market outcomes, IZA World of Labor 2014: 111 do: 10.15.185/izawol.111.

Soderlind, L (20150, Lesbians earn more than heterosexual women while gay men lag in wages, The Melbourne Newsroom, University of Melbourne referenced at:

Sabia, JJ & Wooden, M (2015), Sexual Identity, Earnings, and Labour Market Dynamics: New Evidence from Longitudinal Data in Australia, Melbourne Institute Working Paper No 8/15, The University of Melbourne; and Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Dawn Hough is the Director of Pride in Diversity, Australia’s national not-for-profit employer support program specifically designed to assist Australian Employers with all aspects of LGBTI workplace inclusion. Pride in Diversity is also the publisher of the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI), Australia’s definitive national benchmark on LGBTI inclusion. The results of the 2015 AWEI will be announced at the AWEI Awards Luncheon on May 15, 2015. For more information on the AWEI or the Awards Luncheon and associated Top Employer Results, please contact Pride in Diversity.

Pride in Diversity is a social inclusion initiative of ACON, established in 2009 to improve the health and wellbeing of LGBTI people by reducing exclusion, invisibiity, homophobia and stigma in the workplace.

[1] Pride in Diversity is Australia’s national not-for-profit Employer Support Programs specifically designed to assist Australian Employers with all aspects of LGBTI workplace Inclusion. Pride in Diversity is also the publisher of the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI), the national benchmark on LGBTI workplace inclusion and the Top Employer for LGBTI Employees Awards Recognition.

[2] Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) is Australia’s definitive benchmark on LGBTI workplace inclusion providing annual benchmark data across sectors, top employers and in some cases, industry groups. The AWEI comprises an additional employee survey with the 2015 survey canvassing over 9,000 employees working within organisations active in LGBTI workplace inclusion.


Dawn Hough, Director, Pride in Diversity (ACON)

Pride in Diversity has been commissioned by Australian Human Rights Commission and Australian Sports Commission to develop an index to assess, measure and drive inclusive practice in Australian Sports.\

Pride in Diversity is best known for its internationally recognised Workplace Equality Index (AWEI), an annual benchmarking instrument that determines, assesses, drives and acknowledges best practice in LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex) workplace inclusion. This index has been instrumental in taking Australian workplace practice from a lag position behind the UK and the US to international good practice whereby Top Employers are now on par with their overseas counterparts and in many instances setting the pace for best practice globally.

On the back of ‘Out on the Fields’ a world first international study just released on Homophobia in Sport ‘,Pride in Diversity have been engaged by the Human Rights Commission, Australian Sports Commission and instigators, the Bingham Cup, to develop a similar index for Australian Sporting Organisations. The ‘Out on the Fields’ study uncovered widespread homophobic behaviour in sport with an alarming numbers of participants not feeling safe, experiencing homophobic violence, bullying, slurs or choosing to stay in the closet for fear of repercussions. Leaderboard stats for Australia were poor, being listed as the second most likely country in which male athletes were likely to stay in the closet faring only marginally better for lesbian athletes.

While Australians may believe that we have come a long way and that there are gay athletes out there who are openly accepted, evidence for the majority paints a very different picture.   Personal experiences of violent forms of homophobia, threats, bullying and social exclusion saw Australia rank at the high end of the incidents list with particular concerns for youth teams sports and school physical education classes. Impacts were sufficient enough for people to decide against playing team sports.

After listening to much of the commentary on the study over the weekend, the disconnect between perceived inclusion and actual lived experience of our LGBTI athletes is apparent. Naming a few out athletes who are openly accepted as evidence of sports inclusivity is akin to saying we have a few gay mates who have never been bullied and therefore we don’t have a problem with LGBTI inclusion in Australia. Yet, suicide and depression is still greater for LGBTI people with a significant contributor being social exclusion and lack of acceptance. The argument only highlights the general lack of awareness in terms of what LGBTI athletes actually experience on the fields and within other sporting domains.

We need to be mindful of the lens that we look through. As a heterosexual sportsperson or commentator, we may not necessarily be privy to the lived experience of our LGBTI counterparts. Assuming that what we see is the lived experience of the majority of LGBTI athletes out is akin to sweeoubg the problem under the carpet, when in reality what we need is people to understand what the real experiences are and become part of the solution.

Thankfully, sporting organisations across the country were quick to acknowledge that damaging homophobic behaviour exists and were keen to support the development of the index. This weekend the ARU, AFL, NRL, FFA and CA expressed their support for the benchmarking instrument with many agreeing to participate in an advisory panel led by Pride in Diversity to assist with its development.

The index will determine the current state of play, determine the areas that need addressing and set a national sporting benchmark by which sporting organisations will be able to assess the impact of their work on player experience and perception. The index will be administered annually by Pride in Diversity allowing sports to measure progress as well as benchmark themselves either anonymously or publicly against other sports or clubs.   It is also expected that as with the AWEI, the Index will acknowledge top performers with awards and recognition, whether that be in the first year or two is yet to be determined.

Pride in Diversity is a proud to have been commissioned to develop what we believe to be a world-first sporting inclusivity index in conjunction with the Human Rights Commission, Australian Sport Commission and representatives of Australian Sport.

For more information contact Dawn Hough, Director, Pride in Diversity on (02) 9206.2139 or