The French Leader in LGBT+ Diversity Management
Founded in 1997, L’Autre Cercle is a French non-profit promoting an inclusive workplace for LGBT+ professionals. Throughout the delivery of events, programs, leadership and advisory services, L’Autre Cercle helps businesses drive cultural change and create inclusive work environments.
Its members, all volunteers, are professional men and women working in the public and private sectors or in the liberal professions. All have not only a strong sense of social responsibility but are united in a will to create a mutually supportive and amicable network of men and women holding positions of responsibility in the private and public sectors.
Originally founded in 1997, L’Autre Cercle adopted its current structure in 2002 when it became a national Federation of decentralized regional associations. The reason for this decentralized structure was to strengthen L’Autre Cercle’s presence in the territory and to facilitate the development of local action plans. L’Autre Cercle’s mission is to combat discrimination based on gender, lifestyles, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and more specifically to gain full respect for all different sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace.
Diversity and Inclusion Workplace Training
The association’s members have the capacity to take action in favor of the establishment of a social and professional climate into which everyone, man or woman alike, can fit and achieve personal fulfillment, Based on the output of its working groups, L’Autre Cercle has chosen an innovative form of activism consisting of awareness-raising initiatives focused on business and other organizations and on partnerships, training programs and consultancy work aimed at accompanying and encouraging positive evolution in the workplace.
Having published the L'Autre Cercle White Paper and organized the first French conference on fighting homophobia at work in 2003, L’Autre Cercle established an AC Best Practice Watch and an AC Training Group in 2004.
The association became a member of the ANDRH and CJD “Diversity Committees”. It joined the government action group “Equal Opportunity – a major national challenge for 2006”, the national Equality Body (HALDE) Steering Group“2007, European Equal Opportunity Year”, the Standards Compliance Committee of the Diversity Seal of Approval and the AFNOR Standards Committee responsible for defining a Diversity Management Standard. L’Autre Cercle sits on the national Ombudsman’s (Défenseur des Droits) LGBT Committee. It also originated the transnational Equalsexism and lesbophobia project « DELEDIOS » from 2005 to 2008.
In 2009, L’Autre Cercle directed and produced a video documentary film entitled “Diversity Enriches ” which was formally launched on the occasion of the association’s first Diversity Award and Gala Dinner in May 2010. In the following year, working hand-in-hand with community leaders, L’Autre Cercle signed the French Charte de la Diversité on May 17 2011.
Also, later that same year (in November 2011), L’Autre Cercle organized a major two day international conference in Strasbourg with the active co-operation and assistance of local city government and with the sponsorship of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Mr.Thorbjørn Jagland. Around 120 conference delegates debated the impact of the lack of mutual recognition of same sex unions across national borders in Europe and were addressed by more than 30 keynote speakers from 18 European countries and from North America. These speakers included leading academic personalities, senior civil servants and a high ranking army officer from the Netherlands as well as members of the European Commission and the European Parliament.
Throughout 2012, L’Autre Cercle worked hand in hand with the consulting firm, Accenture, to develop a major event focussing on an exchange between business corporations on company LGBT+ diversity policies. This event lead directly to the creation of a Charter of LGBT+ Commitment, a project coordinated by L’Autre Cercle. It was officially launched in January 2013 during a ceremony held at the Ministry for Womens’ Rights, where the Charter was signed by 9 private and public sector organizations.
In 2012, the association also launched a quantitative survey on LGBT+ retirement issues following an earlier in- depth national quantitative survey “Living as an LGBT+ person in the Workplace” (2011) and a qualitative research project on “Double Discrimination of Lesbian Women” (2007) These research projects provide valuable information on the reality of LGBT+ life in a work context both for the association and for its outside partners.
It should be added that, thanks to both French public and European FSE financing, the association has been able to develop a certain number of tools, some of which were pioneered by one of the federated regions (for example a Comic Strip), Best Practice frameworks, a DVD of theatrical sketches, a Mini-Glossary of discriminations, a Mobile Exhibition, Web Video Spots, printed materials such as the “White Paper”, “Diversity and the Workplace – has nothing been forgotten?” or “Double Discrimination – woman and lesbian” and as well as a video documentary with (positive) male and female testimonies in the workplace .
L’Autre Cercle participates each year in activist demonstrations such as the Gay Pride March in Paris and those in other regional capitals. In December 2012 and January 2013, the association also took part in the demonstrations in favor of Marriage Equality.
L'Autre Cercle became in 2020 an approved provider to the Council of Europe with expertise in the areas of SOGIESC (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity or Expressions, and Sex Characteristics) legislative and policy review, institutional capacity development and raising awareness areas.
In 2021, L'Autre Cercle successfully managed a unique and global project, gathering 100 volunteers from 21 countries. This project aimed at identifying how the workplace should like for LGBT+ in 2031, through brainstorming discussions split into 6 topics. It was supported by 14 companies, 18 NGO and the City of Paris with the Paris Label Europe. The project was presented at the Human Rights Forum during the Copenhagen WorldPride.
Last, but not least, L’Autre Cercle works closely with around 50 domestic and international associations. For example, it is a member of the Inter-LGBT (an “umbrella network” of aound 60 French homosexual associations), of ILGA (The International Lesbian and Gay Association) and is a co-founder both of EPBN (European Pride Business Network) and of RAVAD (the French “help network” for victims of Harassment and Discrimination).
L’Autre Cercle | National Federation
18 Rue Ramus, 75020 Paris - France