To celebrate International Transgender Day of Visibility, we have kindly received the external blog below from Lisa Vine, a LGBT+ advocate, consultant and trainer who worked with us in 2020 on our LGBT+ Inclusivity Assessment.
Wednesday 31st March is International Transgender Day of Visibility, an annual event which aims to celebrate trans and non-binary people and raise awareness of the discrimination they face both here in the U.K. and worldwide.
As an LGBT+ advocate, consultant and trainer and someone who was once referred to as the “fairy trans mother” by a group of trans and non-binary young people I supported; I have seen first-hand the impact this discrimination can have on trans and non-binary people’s lives. A celebration of our trans and non-binary identities is essential at a time (without sounding too doomy gloomy too early on in this blog post), when prejudice and discrimination is rising against our trans and non-binary friends, families and colleagues.
In the U.K., it has been exceptionally challenging for trans and non-binary people over the last five years – to say the very least. Rising hate crime statistics, increased negative press reporting and a rise in harassment through social media platforms, has meant that so many trans and non-binary people have not felt they are able to be themselves, both at home and at work. I know through my advocacy services, that for every trans and non-binary person, their own sense of gender and their own transition is a personal experience and one they must do in their own time, at their own pace and on their own terms. However, for some, it is often hard to know where to begin.
We are fortunate here in the U.K. that there are some fantastic organisations that support trans and non-binary people not only throughout their transition, but also throughout their lives when they are able to be their authentic self. If you are trans, non-binary or questioning your gender identity, or know someone who is, the following organisations offer support:
Gendered Intelligence – a registered charity that works to increase understandings of gender diversity and improve the lives of trans people.
Trans Unite | Find a Transgender Support Group in Your Area – a comprehensive resource for people in the UK searching for support in the transgender community.
Gender Identity Research & Education Society – Improving the Lives of Trans People (gires.org.uk) – is a UK wide organisation whose purpose is to improve the lives of trans and gender diverse people of all ages, including those who are non-binary and non-gender.
Importantly, we can all play a part to ensure that our trans and non-binary colleagues feel more comfortable about disclosing who they are and accessing the support they need to live their truth. Here are my three top-tips to creating an inclusive working environment so trans and non-binary colleagues feel welcome, safe and supported to be their true selves.
1. Educate yourself so you can use LGBT+ language correctly and inclusively
Stonewall’s ‘Glossary of Terms’ is a great place to start!
2. Introduce yourself to colleagues using your name and your pronouns
This highlights to trans and non-binary colleagues that you are aware of trans and non-binary identities and that they can be open with you about their own identity if they want to.
3. Challenge any inappropriate comments/‘banter’ about trans and non-binary people
This is not always easy to do, however it will demonstrate solidarity to trans and non-binary colleagues who are considering disclosing their identity in the workplace. It can also highlight to those who made the comments/‘banter’ that what they said was inappropriate and may mean the refrain from making such comments again.
We all have the power to make a positive difference to those around us and for me that starts with PIE – positive intention and empathy. It is okay to not know everything about trans and non-binary identities and the community and you may make mistakes. What is important is to always try to have positive intention and to empathise, and then own your mistakes when you make them. And if you do that, for me, you cannot go far wrong.
LISA VINE – ADVOCACY. CONSULTANCY. TRAINING.
Supporting those striving for LGBT+ inclusion
Pronoun: She | Her | Hers