News | 15 May 2020

Vodafone UK celebrates International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

On Sunday 17 May, Vodafone UK will be joining more than 100 countries in celebrating the LGBT+ community and raising awareness of LGBT+ rights.

To mark International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, Vodafone UK is helping children’s Author Olly Pike donate copies of his children’s novel ‘Kenny Lives with Erica and Martina’ to every primary school in the UK.

The book teaches children about diversity, equality and acceptance.

“My work aims to help create a more accepting society for future generations by combating LGBT+ related prejudice as soon as possible,” Olly told Vodafone UK News.

“My videos and stories include families with two mums or two dads, bisexual and transgender characters, because that is the reality of modern Britain.

“LGBT+ related bullying is the most common form of bullying found in UK schools; LGBT+ young people are far more likely to self-harm, and sadly they are far more likely to make an attempt at ending their own life.

“Inclusive education isn’t just needed for our younger generation, it is in fact vital.”

Olly Pike, author of Kenny Lives with Erica and Martina
Olly Pike, author of ‘Kenny Lives with Erica and Martina’

At the beginning of the UK lockdown, BBC News reported that some people from the LGBT+ community were forced to isolate with relatives who didn’t approve of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

Others who have come out to their work colleagues, but not their families, are finding it more difficult to be themselves while at home.

According to the charity Stonewall, for some LGBT+ people, the risks of homelessness, insecure employment, restricted access to healthcare and other inequalities have deepened during the lockdown period.

Crisis support

Vodafone, which features in Stonewall’s Top 20 employers in the 2020 Index, has recognised that all people will be affected and impacted by the health crisis in different ways.

We work closely with the LGBT+ community to ensure we support employees throughout this crisis, offering well-being services, our internal LGBT+ Friends Network, and mental health first aiders’ support groups.

Over the last two years, Vodafone has launched multiple schemes to support the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community:

  • signing up more than 500 LGBT+ ‘Allies’ (employee supporters) and delivering Ally training to more 500 managers;
  • celebrating Pride events across the UK, including in London, Manchester, Reading, Exeter, Stoke, Norwich, Belfast, Perthshire and Lincoln;
  • providing 89 retail stores with Pride in a Box, which contained T-shirts, flags, bunting and balloons to help staff participate in local Pride activities;
  • championing the first Bi Pride in London in September 2019;
  • hosting a UK Partners in Pride event, talking about LGBT+ experiences in the workplace and sharing best practice to help improve equality and inclusion within other organisations;
  • launching ‘trans inclusive healthcare’ – an updated private healthcare benefit, which supports employees going through transition;
  • partnering with community groups like MicroRainbow to support LGBT+ refugees and asylum seekers.

Stonewall has shared some top tips for keeping busy during the lockdown. And we wish everyone around the world a happy International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.