Skip to main content

LGBTQ+ Support for Managers

As a manager, line manager, team leader, or PI, it is your responsibility to ensure that your working environment is inclusive for all staff. Let your colleagues and teams know that they will be treated with fairness and respect, regardless of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, by being a visible, supportive ally.

Make sure the language you use is inclusive and respectful and communicate a zero-tolerance approach for inappropriate jokes and comments. 

The resources below will help you to understand more about what it means to be an inclusive manager. 

The University has developed an LGBTQ+ Guidance Document CLICK HERE. This is aimed at all staff, but focuses particularly on the actions and steps that managers can take to be more inclusive of LGBTQ+ staff within the University. The document explores different identities, and gives practical advice for day-to-day actions, as well as giving information about your legal responsibilities. 

It is important as a manager to not make assumptions about your staff. For example, do not assume that your staff are straight unless you are told otherwise. The LGBTQ+ Guidance Document includes quotations from current members of staff across the University of Exeter, stating what they would like their managers and colleagues to know. Please take the time to familiarise yourself with the document. 

The LGBTQ+ Staff Network provides a number of ways for you to show that you are an active ally at the University. For example, the network provides staff with rainbow lanyards, free of charge, to become visible as an ally. There is also an LGBTQ+ Ally's Network. Joining this network will add you to a distribution list, to receive updates about events and initiatives which support LGBTQ+ people at the University. 

Often people don't feel able to be a supportive ally as they believe they don't know enough or are afraid of saying the wrong thing or offending someone. 

It's OK to not know everything about the LGBTQ+ community, and you can still be a visible and supportive ally. However, it can also be really useful, and interesting, to learn more about the many diverse identities within this community, and the language that is used. 

It is important for managers to use inclusive language within the workplace, and learning about terminology and language is the first step to doing this. 

The University of Exeter's LGBTQ+ Guidance Document has a terminology list, containing language which current staff at the University want you to know about. 

If you have further questions about terminology here are some other useful resources:

Stonewall - The UK's leading LGBTQ+ charity. Stonewall provides a glossary of terms as well as a number of other informative resources.

GLAAD - GLAAD is a U.S. non-governmental media monitoring organization founded by LGBT people in the media. They produce documents and resources which help people to understand more about the LGBTQ+ community. 


A simple way to be inclusive is to ask about peoples’ pronouns. Pronouns are words such as ‘he’, ‘she’, or ‘they’, which refer to a person. You can simply ask ‘what pronouns do you use?’, or ‘how should I refer to you?’. To be an active ally, it is a good idea to put your own pronouns in your e-mail signature, for example, ‘my pronouns are he, him, his’. This encourages other staff to do the same and prevents misunderstandings and embarrassment. This useful blog explains why adding pronouns to e-mail signatures is important. 

The University of Exeter is an inclusive community, where everyone has the right to be treated with respect. Harassment, bullying, intimidation, and discrimination go against all we stand for and will not be tolerated. If you have experienced or witnessed any of the above, we encourage you to report it and to get the support you might need. 

Report confidentially

There are three ways to report an incident, anonymously, informally, or formally. Please visit the Speak Out pages to use these reporting tools. 

Help and Advice

Dignity and Respect Advisors - A team of trained University and Guild staff who provide a confidential service for those involved in cases of harassment or bullying. Advisors can listen, talk through the options available and, if appropriate, signpost to other sources of support and advice.