Modern China has looked upon LGBT individuals at times with apathy, pity or condemnation. Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1997.[i] However there are no protections for LGBT individuals, and there is continual harassment and discrimination against them.[ii] This is complicated by the fact that in Chinese society sexuality and gender are often considered taboo subjects.[iii]
RELOCATION AND TEMPORARY WORK ASSIGNMENTS
Issue: In Chinese owned companies only 6.29% of employees are open about their sexual orientation or gender identity and only .046% were open with their superiors.[iv]
Our Solution: Make sure that senior managers emphasize and embody your support for LGBT equality and inclusion as a key component of business success.
GLOBAL NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICIES
Issue: There is no national non-discrimination policy. Societal prejudices tend to negatively affect working conditions of LGBT individuals.[v] Gender non-conforming individuals are even more likely to be socially mitigated and discriminated against.[vi]
Our Solution: Make sure that sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression are protected under your Chinese equal opportunity policy. Ensure that your employees know that discrimination based upon sexuality, gender identity or expression is prohibited.
HEALTH AND EMPLOYEE BENEFITS
Issue: Prejudices lead to an inability to access services for LGBT individuals. Rates of HIV and STIs are rising for gay men and transgender individuals.[vii]
Our Solution: Offer the same benefits to all employees in China. Provide partner benefits regardless of gender, marital status or sexuality. Ensure equal access to health care by working with local NGOs, medical groups and LGBT individuals to identify service providers who have track records of working with LGBT patients.
RESOURCE OF LOCAL LEGAL AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORKS
Our Solution: We urge you to use private influence with Chinese government officials and other opinion leaders to push for comprehensive sexual orientation and gender identity protections, in addition to an employment non-discrimination act.
GLOBAL DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION TRAINING
Issue: Taboos around sex and sexuality prevent conversations around sexual orientation and gender identity.[x]
Our Solution: See “Cross Cultural Education- Cultural Context.”
CROSS CULTURAL EDUCATION-CULTURAL CONTEXT
Issue: Because of the cultural proclivity not to discuss sexuality, there is very little education about LGBT issues, and prejudices of LGBT individuals are perpetuated.[xi]
Our Solution: Continue to treat all of your employees equally. Work with ERGs and allies to hold educational events about LGBT issues and promote LGBT equality.
[i] Mountford, T. (2009). The Legal Status and Position of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People in the People’s Republic of China. Retrieved December 10, 2014, from http://iglhrc.org/files/395-1.pdf
[iii] Vernon, K., & Yik, A. Community Business, (2012).Diversity & inclusion in Asia country view: China Community Business.
[iv] UNDP, USAID (2014). Being LGBT in Asia: China Country Report. Bangkok.
[v] Burns, K., & Yik, A. Community Business, (2013).Creating inclusive workplaces for LGBT employees in china: A resource guide for employers Community Business.
[vi] UNDP, USAID (2014). Being LGBT in Asia: China Country Report. Bangkok.
[viii] Sun, N. (Ed.). (2014, January 9). Shanxi Permits Transgender Persons to Change Gender Information. Retrieved December 8, 2014, from http://www.womenofchina.cn/womenofchina/html1/news/china/16/8827-1.htm
[ix] Vernon, K., & Yik, A. Community Business, (2012).Diversity & inclusion in Asia country view: China Community Business.
[xi] Burns, K., & Yik, A. Community Business, (2013).Creating inclusive workplaces for LGBT employees in china: A resource guide for employers Community Business.