LGBTQ workplace survey underway in Sudbury

As Pride Week continues in Sudbury, a study is underway to gather information from the LGBTQ community about their experiences in the workplace.

Community forum will be held to share results

Suzanne Mills and Laurel O'Gorman are the two researchers leading a LGBTQ workplace survey in Sudbury. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

As Pride Week continues in Sudbury, a study is underway to gather information from the LGBTQ community about their experiences in the workplace.

It's being led by two researchers including Sudbury's Laurel O'Gorman and Suzanne Mills of McMaster University.

O'Gorman says in Sudbury, she's seen most workplaces working to be LGBTQ friendly.

"If you point something out as a problem they try to fix it," she said.

"But when you don't know what the issues are and you don't know what to fix, there's a lot of workplaces that have very few LGBTQ people there and other workplaces that have a lot of LGBTQ people."

Mills says that can lead to people who are a part of the LGBTQ community choosing carefully what type of job they do and where they work as a result.

"So one example for myself, in my first job was in Cornerbrook, Newfoundland, which is a small city of 20,000 people," she said.

Turned down for work due to 'gender identity'

"I love smaller cities, but I didn't feel comfortable being a LGBTQ person in that environment. So then, I took a job when it was offered at McMaster University partially because of my sexual orientation."

Mills says they've found in previous studies that trans people often experience a negative experience in the workplace.

"In a survey that was done … which was looking at the health of trans people, in 2009 and 2010, 18 per cent of trans people said they that they had been turned down for a job because of their gender identity," she said.

O'Gorman says in Sudbury, a lot of workplaces have bathrooms dedicated for particular genders. She says this can be problematic for trans people.

Community forum

"You either use the male or female or showers after working underground — which showers do you use?" she said.

"Really trying to figure out what is it you need to do with workplaces to make them more accommodating."

Mills says after they collect all the surveys, they will conduct interviews next summer and after that, a community forum will be held with the results.

To find the survey online, visit workinclusion.ca/survey.

With files from Jan Lakes

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