Just a reminder that Transgender Awareness Week should be about giving visibility to the challenges faced by this community – issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence that affect the transgender community – and working to ensure greater inclusion of members of this community within your organisation.
Don’t take ‘visibility’ as an invitation to push people who are members of the transgender community into the spotlight as a way of signalling inclusion, and acceptance.
It is not the role of members of this community to educate us (unless that is specifically a role they have chosen to take up) and answer questions that we have or to be an expert on diversity and inclusion policies and practices. Or to be a spokesperson for all of the experiences of the people of this community.
Their experience is their own, and their right to share or keep it private.
We need to educate ourselves.
➡️ Reflect on whether our discussions about gender equality are cis-centric, binary or lacking intersectionality. And what we could be doing better to support all genders? Take a look at whether your inclusion policies tend to focus on the LGB and not so much the TQ+.
➡️ Reflect on our language, particularly how we talk about people of this community, particularly when in the company of only cis people. Is our language affirming of gender or treating ‘them’ as an ‘other’ or ‘special’?
➡️ Reflect on whether our ‘curiosity’ to understand things we haven’t experienced personally, leads us to ask inappropriate questions or pry into details of someone’s life that they should not feel pressured to disclose to us (ever). Would we ask the same questions to someone who is cis?
➡️ Reflect on whether our network (professional and personal) or workplace includes members of this community and if there are none (or you can count them on one hand), reflect on what may be contributing to that. Reflect on what we could do to become more inclusive and improve the diversity of friends, network or workplace.
➡️ Reflect on aspects of the cis-tem (system) that may be contributing to the exclusion or uncomfortableness of members of this community. Take a more conscious look at our bathroom setup, pronoun usage, dress codes, and what level of support and sensitivity is given to employees undertaking a gender affirmation process.
That’s what I think it is supposed to be about.