It’s never not an essential time to do allyship with and for our trans friends, family and colleagues. Fortunately, 2,998 have signed a petition to protest the Guardian’s pattern of abusive articles about trans people, in response to its latest article only last week by one of its long standing contributors. The amplification in hostile media narratives over the last couple years has led to hate crime against trans people in the UK rocketing by 37% to 2,333 incidences in 2019. The Guardian’s long history of anti-trans journalism doesn’t reflect global views, with a 2017 Ipsos study finding that internationally, the majority of people want their country to do more to protect and support trans people. Even if the data showed otherwise – isn’t it the role of responsible journalism to give voice to those marginalised by society and instead to hold power in all its guises to account, while creating a more positive environment too?
When we bring a systemic analysis to inequities impacting trans and non-binary people, we find that our default ways in the world are organised around cissexist principles and centre cis people. A useful departure point is that we should presume that without direct effort and attention we will further – rather than challenge – cissexism. As an organisation we have been spending time working on developing our own internal and external processes and practices in this regard. As an education organisation, if continuous learning wasn’t central to our ways of working, we wouldn’t be living our values. As such, we want to share some of the ways we have adapted our processes in case this should be useful to anyone reading this:
- We are now working with the reception at our client’s offices so that they don’t misgender anyone when they arrive to deliver an inclusion workshop – it’s a painful experience, let alone when you need to hold space for others’ learning shortly after
- Providing information in advance on the availability and location of gender neutral toilets at client sites so that when facilitators are there they don’t have humiliating experiences when trying to go to the loo. Gender neutral toilets remain a significant barrier in most buildings
- Calling ahead to reception at hotels on the day of check in to emphasise the person’s correct pronouns/title so they aren’t misgendered
- Providing choice over modes of transport for travel where possible, when airports as sites of ID checks may be stressful or humiliating
With this we should add that this is by no means exhaustive nor bringing us to a state of perfection. Sometimes – even with these mechanics and checks – we still don’t get the needed outcome. We try again. The work continues.