Pride and prejudice

    Business Spotlight 6/2023
    rainbow colors on white canvas
    © Markus Spiske/
    Von Rachel Preece

    When Stuart Bruce Cameron began his career, about 20 years ago, the atmosphere at work meant he feared prejudiceVorurteilprejudice because of his sexuality. Cameron is gay. “I had finally come out to my friends, but that just made it harder to go into work on Mondays. I felt I had to hide so much of myself — what I had done at the weekend, the fact I had a boyfriend and so on,” he told Business Spotlight.

    Cameron’s experience is common. According to the LGBTQ+ rights organization Stonewall, 35 per cent of employees who are LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer [or questioninghier: die sexuelle Orientierung hinterfragendquestioning]) have hidden their sexuality at work for fear of discrimination, and 18 per cent have received negative comments at work because of their sexuality.

    Born in Geretsried, a Bavarian town with a population of about 25,000, Cameron sometimes felt like the “only gay person in the world” and moved to Berlin in the hope of meeting others from the LGBTQ+ community. After some time and a number of different jobs, he started working for a company at which he felt welcome. His job was to organize a job fairJobmessejob fair. While working on this, Cameron had an idea — he decided to create a fair with LGBTQ+ people in mind.

    Everybody talks about inclusion, but there’s so much to change

    Small beginnings

    In Berlin, in 2009, Cameron to found sth.etw. gründenfounded Europe’s largest LGBTQ+ jobs and careers fair, called sticks and stones (Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words/names will never hurt me.)Stock und Stein brechen mein Gebein, doch Worte bringen keine Pein.Sticks & Stones, named after an English children’s rhyme against verbal bullyingMobbingbullying. “Six companies showed up,” Cameron laughs. “Six! We had a total of 200 people there. That’s including the cleaning staff.” However, Cameron believed that word just needed to spreades musste sich einfach herumsprechenword just needed to spread — and it has. Today, more than 100 companies are represented and 3,000 visitors attend. The fair has even expanded to Cologne.

    Young attendees seeking internshipPraktikuminternships in inclusive companies mix with senior professionalBerufstätige(r) in leitender Stellungsenior professionals who see an opportunity to network. Despite the fair’s success, Cameron believes there is a long way to go. “We’re still at the beginning,” he says. “Everybody talks about inclusion, but there’s so much to change. There’s no quick fixschnelle Lösungquick fix. You have to change the culture.”

    What can companies do to promote inclusion at work? “You have to understand the status quo,” Cameron says. “Before you do anything, you need to know where you are. Only then can you define targetZieltargets and constantly to review sth.etw. überprüfenreview whether they’re effective. You’re not to tick sth. off (UK)etw. abhakenticking off a bullet pointAufzählungspunktbullet-point list, you have to continue to to implement sth.etw. umsetzen; hier auch: vornehmenimplement change. Leaders need these diversity skills, and it’s not something to be to pass sth. off to sb./sth.hier: etw. an jmdn./etw. weitergebenpassed off to HR (human resources)Personalwesen, -stelleHR,” he says.

    Sticks & Stones will take place on 1 July 2023, in the Verti Music Hall, in Berlin


    How should I use pronouns?

    Pronouns are how people refer to each other — and themselves. Most people use “he/him” or “she/her” pronouns, but some use gender-neutral pronouns, such as “we/us” and “they/them”.

    How do I use the LGBTQ+ acronym?

    There are several collective termSammelbegriffcollective terms to refer to people of various sexual orientations. LGBTQ+ is probably the easiest acronym to use, and the Council of Europe has officially chosen to use it. The “+” is used to recognize that there are more gender identities and orientations.

    Addressing people

    “Ladies and gentlemen” can make people in the LGBTQ+ community feel excluded — it also sounds formal and a bit old-fashioned. Use more inclusive language like “Dear colleagues”, “Dear team” or, more informally, “Hello everybody” instead.

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