Demystifying LGBTIQ+ Workplace Inclusion in India: A Step Towards Equality

Pictured from left to right: Shubha Chacko, Solidarity Foundation; Priyanka Shetty, Pride Circle Foundation; David Pollard, Workplace Pride; Viswanath PS, Randstad India; Lyn Lee, Shell; Geetha Ramadevi, Relex India; and Zahara Fernandes, Accenture India Operations.

Bengaluru, March 21st, 2024 – In a nation where tradition, modernity, and economic prowess intersect, the journey towards LGBTIQ+ inclusion in the workplace is not just an evolution; it is a critical societal transformation. Nowhere is this more evident than in India, where workplaces are grappling with the challenges and opportunities of fostering diversity and inclusivity.

Bengaluru played host to the second conference organised by Workplace Pride on March 21st, 2024, titled “Demystifying LGBTIQ+ Workplace Inclusion in India.” This landmark event, in collaboration with Shell, a leading member of Workplace Pride, brought together a diverse array of stakeholders—from major private and public sector employers to international experts and representatives from India’s LGBTIQ+ Civil Society.

The conference, moderated by Pratibha Priyadarshini, Vice President and Head of HR at Shell Companies in India, set the stage for insightful discussions and actionable strategies. The day began with a resounding call to action, emphasising the collective responsibility in driving meaningful change. International and local perspectives were shared by David Pollard, Executive Director of Workplace Pride, and Zainab Patel, Board Member of Workplace Pride, providing a global context and shedding light on India’s unique challenges.

Navigating Challenges Ahead

Facilitated by Pratibha Priyadarshini, a diverse group of industry leaders engaged in a stimulating conversation titled “Navigating Challenges Ahead: Fostering Unity between Employers and Communities.” The panel comprised representatives from organisations, such as Zainab Patel of Pernod Ricard, Debanjali Sengupta from Shell Lubricants, Akanksha Agarwa representing Unilever, and Geetha Ramadevi of Elsevier. Together, they delved into the multifaceted obstacles surrounding the inclusion of LGBTIQ+ individuals in work environments. From navigating policy implementation to fostering cultural shifts, the discussion highlighted the crucial role of collective efforts and allyship in overcoming these challenges.

From the insightful panel moderated by David Pollard, featuring voices from Pride Circle Foundation, Solidarity Foundation, Randstad, and TU Delft, to the thought-provoking presentations by Zahara Fernandes of Accenture India Operations, each session delved deep into critical topics surrounding LGBTIQ+ inclusion in the workplace.

View all conference photos here.

Actionable Breakouts:

Breakout sessions provided platforms for in-depth exploration and practical solutions. From measuring success and implementing inclusive policies to leveraging allies and connecting business to civil society, attendees engaged in constructive dialogue aimed at driving tangible change.

During the concluding plenary, moderators highlighted pivotal insights from breakout sessions, underscoring the significance of collaborative efforts and mutual learning. The diplomatic panel, comprising representatives such as Ewout de Wit, Consul-General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, James Godber, Deputy Head of Mission at the British Deputy High Commission in Bengaluru, and Hilary McGeachy, Consul-General of Australia in Bengaluru, provided invaluable perspectives on worldwide initiatives concerning LGBTIQ+ workplace inclusion.

Commitment and Declaration of India

The conference culminated with the signing of the Declaration of India, symbolising a united front in advancing LGBTIQ+ workplace inclusion across the nation. View the Declaration of India here.

“One of the things that really inspires me about the Workplace Pride community is how open people are to share ideas, successes and challenges. It makes progress happen so much quicker. So it’s a privilege for Shell to be hosting this conference and to be one of the first signers of the Declaration of India.” – Lyn Lee, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Shell


The conference on LGBTIQ+ workplace inclusion served as a catalyst for meaningful dialogue and tangible commitments. As participants departed with renewed energy and resolve, the event underscored the power of collective action in shaping a more inclusive and equitable workplace landscape in India.

The journey towards LGBTIQ+ inclusion in Indian workplaces is far from over, but with each conference, declaration, and commitment, the path becomes clearer. As the organisers Workplace Pride extend our gratitude to all who contributed, the momentum towards a more inclusive future continues to build, paving the way for a workplace where diversity is not just embraced but celebrated.