MI6 named one of UK’s most LGBT-inclusive workplaces

Secret intelligence agency MI6 has been named one of the UK’s most LGBT-inclusive workplaces.

This week Stonewall reveald Britain’s best employers for LGBT staff as it releases its annual list of Top 100 LGBT-inclusive employers.

Stonewall’s annual review has this year, for the first time ever, marked employers specifically on trans inclusivity, in addition to their work on lesbian, gay and bi-inclusive policies.

And despite its portrayal as the home of macho bravado and casual misogyny in the James Bond films, the UK’s secret intelligence agency MI6 made the top half of the rankings.

James Bond in The World is Not Enough

While most details of the workplace are strictly classified, it’s no state secret that the Secret Intelligence Service has been modernising.

Stonewall praised the top employers for “creating a work environment where their staff can be themselves” – though in this case their actual identities are naturally kept secret.

In a statement to PinkNews, MI6 said: “We are delighted to feature again in the Top 50 of the Stonewall Top 100 Employers listing.

“With over 400 organisations submitting applications, we are proud to remain in the Top 50. Our commitment to a diverse workforce, a workforce that reflects modern British society, remains as strong as ever.

“Here at MI6 we believe that people perform better when they can be themselves and we will continue to provide a working environment that is truly inclusive.

“We need the best talent and ideas from the widest range of backgrounds to ensure that MI6 continues to make a difference to the safety and prosperity of the United Kingdom.”


The MI6 offices lit up rainbow for Pride

Stonewall CEO Ruth Hunt said: “Since we began the Workplace Equality Index in 2005, hundreds of organisations have used our framework to help create a work environment where their staff can be themselves and, because of that, thrive at work.

“The impact of the Index is now felt far wider than just the workplace. Organisations and businesses are the driving force of equality in society, creating spaces where customers, services users and wider LGBT communities are accepted.

“At Stonewall, we’re incredibly proud that employers continue to champion inclusion and push equality forward. It’s the everyday actions we take, from staff training to profiling role models, that help create a workplace – and so a world – where LGBT people are treated with dignity and respect.

“Now, when the protections established for LGBT people feel increasingly at risk and at the same time more important than ever, it’s the time for all employers to reflect on their responsibilities; not only to their employees, but to the wider community. In particular, trans people are more vulnerable than ever.

“They face huge levels discrimination, abuse and bullying, across all parts of society. That makes the visible support of employers critical in achieving trans equality. This year many organisations have made great strides towards creating workplaces where trans people feel truly able to be themselves.

“We’re extremely proud to say that every organisation and business in our Top 100 has shown commitment towards trans equality. But there’s still lots more to be done. This year has been our first fully trans-inclusive Index. In the years ahead Stonewall will continue to be by the side of employers, helping you to embed trans inclusion across all of your work, so that no-one is left behind and everyone can contribute.

“Congratulations to all Top 100 Employers from me personally, and from all the hundreds of thousands of people that this Index touches. Thank you to all the organisations that took part. Your commitment to LGBT equality – your willingness to Come Out For LGBT – is inspiring.”

A rainbow flag flies from the MI6 offices

MI6 is far from alone in the public sector from being on the list.

Also making the top 100 were the Royal Navy and Royal Marines (32), GCHQ (54) and The British Army (84).

Nine governmental organisations also made the list, with the National Assembly for Wales ranked as the top employer for LGBT people in the country.

They were joined by the Welsh Government (12), the Ministry of Justice (13), the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (15), Environment Agency (18), the House of Commons (23), the Home Office (38), the Department for Education (78), and the Intellectual Property Office (93).

Ruth Hunt added: “The National Assembly for Wales is a trailblazer for equality, especially for trans equality, and we’d like other organisations to look at the straightforward, positive actions they have taken and follow the example they have set.

“Creating a workplace environment that accepts everyone isn’t just the right thing to do, it makes good business sense. When staff feel comfortable, happy and understood they will, of course, perform much better than if they’re having to hide who they are, or if they’re scared to go to work for fear of abuse.

“All leaders, managers – all of us as colleagues – can stand up for LGBT people in the workplace and play a part. We can all play a part in changing our workplaces and our communities so that all LGBT people are accepted without exception.”