The Scenarios

The films that form the Respecting Diversity: Sexual Orientation training DVD are based on four different people. We see them experiencing several different issues surrounding sexual orientation in the workplace. In part one, you get to know them and see the situations they face. In part two, they share their personal feelings with you, which has a powerful impact in generating discussion about the issues raised and ways to address them.

Martin’s Story

Martin is an older man who is openly gay and “came out” some time ago, however, he still faces issues of harassment and discrimination at work. He is often excluded from work social gatherings and ignored or excluded from some group conversations. He suffers from people unwittingly making stereotypical comments and making his sexuality the butt of their jokes. His colleagues may mean no harm; however, don’t appreciate how this affects Martin.

He is frightened to complain because he believes it won’t be taken seriously. He is also due for promotion soon and wonders whether such action will impact his career prospects.

Jem’s Story

Jem is excited about her new job and working with a new team. She has every intention of being open about her sexuality. Within minutes of meeting, her new colleague puts her on the spot by asking if she has a boyfriend. In a flustered response, she says “Not at the moment.” Afterwards, she’s angry with herself for not being honest. A few days later she confides in a colleague, Martin, who she knows is “out”. Surprisingly, Martin suggests that she keeps her sexuality quiet because of negative consequences he has experienced in their workplace.

Defiantly, she “comes out” to her manager, who is a little awkward at first but tries hard to be supportive. The manager discusses Jem’s sexuality with her team, thinking she is doing the right thing – but does this without Jem’s permission. Word quickly spreads and Jem is ‘outed’ involuntarily.

Tony’s Story

Tony is well-liked by his colleagues and he considers himself to be “one of the lads”. No-one knows that Tony is gay but the cracks are beginning to show. He tells sketchy details of his social life, such as what he did at the weekend but doesn’t mention with whom.

He is often vulnerable to homophobic jokes and remarks made by colleagues in the course of conversation. He even falls into the trap of joining in with the odd anti-gay joke because he desperately wants to fit in, fearing rejection. Living a lie makes Tony stressed, he is hyper-sensitive at work, finds it hard to concentrate and spends much of his time worrying and protecting his sexual identity.

Amanda’s Story

Amanda has celebrated a civil partnership but has kept this secret at work. She and her partner are raising her children. She is distressed about her personal situation but is unable to talk to anyone about it at work.

Valerie, her closest work colleague is very religious and has made her views against the right of gay people to marry quite clear.

Then one day, Valerie discovers that Amanda is a lesbian, which changes their working relationship completely. Amanda is isolated and frustrated that there is no provision for confidential support and guidance for her. This, in addition to family illness, is stressing Amanda to her limit.

Want to see some clips? Watch some short extracts from the stories above here