Employees at LexisNexis Risk Solutions and RX discuss the importance of acknowledging LGBTQIA histories in the workplace


LGBTQIA history is too often erased or glanced over, and young queer people across generations have grown up without the knowledge of who has come before them. Despite the lack of visibility in schoolbooks, LGBTQIA people have always existed, and have been pioneers across the ages, as well as instrumental in pushing for better rights for all. 

Knowing our history also means we are better equipped to create inclusive and equal spaces today. This is one of the reasons both LexisNexis Risk Solutions and RX are steadfast on marking LGBT+ History Month, and myGwork spoke to a few of their team members to find out exactly what the month means to them and how educating ourselves on LGBTQIA history can make for better workplaces where everyone feels comfortable showing up as themselves.

Thanks for chatting to us for LGBT+ History Month. Firstly – why is this month important to you?

Adam Cartledge, Director of Global Sales Enablement at RX: LGBT+ History Month is an opportunity to learn the lessons of the past in context of the present.  It’s a moment to celebrate and share the real stories of queer people, many of whom have been whitewashed from the history books and whose struggles, and hard-won victories have secured the progress we enjoy today.  It’s also a timely reminder of the work still left to do to achieve equality for LGBTQIA people. The arguments being made today, under the guise of protecting children, religious freedom or personal safety are the same arguments made in the past to silence, marginalise, and scapegoat our community.  

Adam Cartledge

Martin Hiller, Content Director at RX: LGBT+ History Month is important to me because it recognises and celebrates the contributions and achievements of LGBTQIA individuals throughout history, who have often been overlooked or marginalised because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It is an opportunity to highlight the struggles and injustices that LGBTQIA people have faced, and continue to face, in their pursuit of equality and acceptance.

By acknowledging and learning about LGBT+ history, we can gain a greater understanding of the experiences and perspectives of LGBTQIA individuals, and work towards creating a more inclusive and accepting society. It is also a way to show support for the LGBTQIA community and demonstrate that their contributions and voices are valued and respected.

Rich Petrosino, Quality Engineering at LexisNexis Risk Solutions: By highlighting the stories and experiences of LGBTQIA people, we can promote understanding, acceptance, and support for the community. It can also help to combat homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of prejudice and discrimination by challenging stereotypes and promoting empathy and inclusivity.

Moreover, it is important to recognise that LGBTQIA history is a part of our shared human history, and that by learning about and celebrating it, we can deepen our understanding of the diversity and complexity of the human experience. Ultimately, LGBT+ History Month serves as a reminder that everyone deserves to be seen, heard, and celebrated for who they are, and that we all have a role to play in promoting equality and respect for all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Rich Petrosino

Who are three LGBTQIA people alive today that you think will be remembered in LGBT+ history? 

Michele Tiley-Hill, CFO at RX: From the field of sport, Billie Jean King. From music, Elton John. And from politics and human rights campaigning, Peter Tatchell.

Michele Tiley-Hill

Rashid Bin Sadauna, Product Manager: Billy Porter – Singer and Actor, Pete Buttigieg – Politician and Former US Naval Reserve Officer, Ryan Murphy – Writer, producer, and Director. Each of them contributes to the LGBTQIA movement. 

Rashid Bin Sadauna

Hugo Citerne, International Sales Executive at RX: I’m also thinking about actor Billy Porter, as well as gay adult movie-maker Austin Wolf and Drag Queen supermodel of the world, RuPaul!

Hugo Citerne

Martin: Bisi Alimi, a Nigerian LGBTQIA activist, public speaker, and founder of the Bisi Alimi Foundation, which advocates for the rights of LGBTQIA people in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. Alimi became the first openly gay man to appear on Nigerian television and has been a vocal advocate for LGBTQIA rights and visibility.

Kasha Nabagesera, a Ugandan LGBTQIA rights activist and founder of the first Ugandan LGBTQIA rights organisation, Freedom and Roam Uganda. Nabagesera has been a vocal advocate for LGBTQIA rights in Uganda and has faced significant persecution and threats to her safety for her activism.

Phumi Mtetwa, a South African LGBTQIA rights activist and founder of the LGBTQIA organisation, The Other Foundation. Mtetwa has been a leading advocate for LGBTQIA rights in South Africa and has worked to promote LGBTQIA inclusion and diversity across the African continent.

Do you think LGBTQIA people are represented in history books? 

Martin: LGBTQIA people are not represented enough in history books. Historically, the contributions and experiences of LGBTQIA individuals have been ignored, erased, or actively suppressed due to societal attitudes and norms around sexuality and gender identity. As a result, much of LGBTQIA history has been overlooked or forgotten and is not included in mainstream history books.


Bayard Rustin, Marsha P. Johnson, Alice Dunbar Nelson and James Baldwin are just a few important LGBTQIA figures in history whose contributions and experiences have been overlooked or actively erased by mainstream narratives.

This lack of representation not only erases the accomplishments and struggles of LGBTQIA individuals, but also reinforces harmful stereotypes and biases. It sends the message that LGBTQIA people are not important or worthy of recognition, which can contribute to feelings of marginalisation and invisibility.

Thankfully, there has been an increased effort in recent years to include LGBTQIA history in school curriculums and historical narratives. This has helped to raise awareness and promote greater understanding of the experiences of LGBTQIA individuals throughout history. However, there is still much work to be done to fully integrate LGBTQIA history into mainstream historical narratives and ensure that it receives the recognition and respect it deserves.

Why do you think it’s important for workplaces to celebrate LGBT+ History Month? What do you suggest they do?

Amanda Turner, Senior Data Analyst at LexisNexis Risk Solutions: It is important to know that workplaces are safe spaces because for the longest time they were not. It wasn’t until June of 2020 that Employment Nondiscrimination applied to the LGBTQIA community in the US. That means that prior to 2020 I could easily be fired from a workplace simply for being gay. It meant that companies could chose not to allow me to sign my spouse up for health benefits. It meant that I had to be closeted in the workspace. It was common for me to never correct co-workers’ assumptions about the gender of my spouse, and I did not keep pictures of my family in my office, nor take my spouse to company events or parties. Companies publicly celebrating diversity and LGBTQIA people shows that they are welcome and safe. It allows people to show up to be their true self and be much more dedicated to the purpose of the company.

Amanda Turner, Image by Bernadette Newberry

Rich: It’s important for workplaces to celebrate LGBT+ History Month because it helps to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for LGBTQIA employees and promotes understanding and acceptance. Here are a few suggestions how workplaces can celebrate:

  • Host educational events such as panel discussions about the history of the LGBTQIA community and its ongoing struggles for equality where any employee can ask questions, learn, and engage in meaningful discussions.
  • Display flags or symbols in visible/prominent locations in the workplace to show support for the community … lobby or on the company website.
  • Advocate for LGBTQIA rights and promote diversity and inclusion within the workplace. This can include making statements of support or donations to LGBTQ+ organisations.
  • Take the time to celebrate the contributions of LGBTQIA employees and recognise their unique experiences and perspectives through features on the company website or newsletter, or by hosting a celebratory event.

Hugo: It’s important for LGBTQIA people to know that they’re being heard and seen. They get to share their story and educate their colleagues in a safe environment.

Adam: Marking LGBT+ History Month in your workplace is just one of many important things you can do to create a business that people want to work for. As a business, we are constantly looking for ways to better serve our customers.

A great and often underappreciated place to start, is to ensure you have a diverse and inclusive workforce that is reflective of your clients. If you want to attract great talent and retain them once they join, you should strive to create an environment that enables them to be themselves at work, every day. If diversity is providing an equal seat at the table, inclusion is being invited to speak. By having an inclusive and diverse workplace, you’re untapping potential, creativity and ideas that you otherwise wouldn’t benefit from, which can lead to growth, innovation and to becoming a place where people aspire to work.

How do you think better understanding our history can support workplace inclusion?

Rich: Overall, understanding our history can help us create a more inclusive workplace that values diversity, fosters collaboration, and ensures that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed.  

Martin: Examining historical patterns of exclusion and bias can help individuals identify current workplace barriers and biases that may be perpetuating inequality and discrimination. It can also help develop a sense of allyship as learning about the contributions and achievements of diverse individuals in history can encourage individuals to support the inclusion and advancement of diverse colleagues. It can also help in the recognition of progress. Understanding the historical context of discrimination and inequality can help individuals appreciate the progress that has been made towards workplace inclusion and recognize the ongoing need for continued efforts.

And then how can better understanding our history can help us to fight for equality today?

Michele: Many people will recall the British Telecom advert with Maureen Lipman where she congratulates her Grandson on passing an “ology”. This still makes me laugh! I would argue that social sciences (or “ologies”) have never been more important to society than they are today. And history, along with other humanity subjects, offers a critical foundation to understand societies and relationships between individuals.  

If you ever listen to or read Jane Elliott’s work on anti-racism, she talks about one race: the human race. We are all the same species, just of different colours, shapes, sizes, and genders.  And the same is true for LGBTQIA community, we are all part of the human race.  She then advocates the need for education based in facts and the need to educate away the ignorance that was poured into us at school.

So absolutely a better understanding of our history will help the fight for equality but only a history that is based in facts. What’s the point of learning about Alan Turing if we only learn about the hero in Second World War and not the innocent gay man subjected to horrific hormone treatment, along with others. And what’s the point of learning about the British Empire if we only learn of Britain’s trading dominance and nothing of violence, slavery, and the exploitation of millions.

Rich: Learning our history can help fight for equality in several ways. Acknowledge the past struggles and learn about the challenges and discrimination faced by the LGBTQIA community. This will help us appreciate the progress that has been made while also seeing the ongoing struggles that exist.  

Celebrate victories and achievements that have been made in the fight for equality – one example is the legalisation of same-sex marriage.  

Educate others through sharing the history and raising awareness about the ongoing struggles for equality and promote a greater understanding and empathy.  

Inspire action through activism and motivate us all to take action to continue the fight. And challenge oppression and help ongoing discrimination. Overall, a better understanding of LGBTQ+ history can help us to be better allies and advocates for equality and can contribute to a more just and inclusive society.

Learning LGBTQIA history makes us all better allies to one another, this is something that clearly comes across when chatting to the team at LexisNexis Risk Solutions and RX as do the companies’ commitment to creating workplaces where all their employees can thrive.

“As an organisation the diverse representation of our employees, working in a culture of true inclusion is vital to our success,” explains Mark Kelsey, CEO for the portfolio of brands under LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group. “We don’t just talk about Diversity and Inclusion, we take action, we have a 5-year strategy and inclusion goals, continually review our data and processes to ensure we are fair and equitable and measure our impact.

I am also delighted to see us gain external recognition through our many Comparably awards, Best CEO for Diversity, Best Company for Global Culture, Best Company for Diversity, Best Company for Women, Best Company in Atlanta. Lastly, our work is heavily enabled by our 30 Employee Resource Groups, who continue to educate us and celebrate our diversity, and truly make us a great place to work.”

LexisNexis Risk Solutions and RX  are proud partners of myGwork, the LGBTQ+ business community. Find out more about job opportunities at LexisNexis Risk Solutions and RX 

DIVA magazine celebrates 29 years in print in 2023. If you like what we do, then get behind LGBTQIA media and keep us going for another generation. Your support is invaluable. 


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.