Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace – using pronouns in your communication.

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As 2021 is approaching, it can be anticipated that the new decade will raise many questions and developments for the gender fluid, non-binary and LGBT+ communities.

Surveys in the last decade have shown a trend of growing fluidity in young people’s sexual and gender identities. This indicates that many people would value inclusivity and the ability be open. However, there are some key recent issues that come to mind which may prevent progress in this regard:

  • New voter reform laws have been announced by the new Government which could damage trans people’s ability to vote;
  • The LGBT+ community’s proposal for reform of the Gender Recognition Act. The Government has delayed progression on this.

Therefore, it is down to us to ensure that progress is made at grass roots level.

How can you make sure you provide inclusion in your workplace?

Whether you are an employer, employee, HR advisor, business owner…whatever your employment status, there are many ways you can adapt your strategies and educate yourself to be more aware of gender rights and to support changing attitudes towards gender identity:

  • Educate yourself on gender identity. A great place to start would be with the genderbread person.
  • Consider accessing training to offer to your staff on transgender rights. A great organisation to assist you with this is Global Butterflies.
  • Start applying pro-nouns to your email signatures at work. Consider making this mandatory across the workplace to show solidarity with the non-binary community and engage in open dialogue around gender identity;
  • Ask your team and colleagues which pronouns they would prefer to use, avoid assumption, and respect diversity;
  • Ask your organisation to pledge support to movements such as Trans in the City.
  • Make your identity more visible on your social media platforms, for example in your bio, posts, and communication;
  • Ensure you have a Gender Recognition Policy with clear action plans to support someone in the workplace going through a transition. A link to the Law Society’s template can be found here.

Why you should adopt a gender fluid approach, and the benefits to employers and employees:

Our suggestions are an easy way with little to no cost to ensure that you are making yourself as inclusive as possible.

  • By addressing the pronouns you would prefer to use and be referred to helps to open up dialogue and help others feel comfortable with expressing their own gender identity.
  • normalise discussions about gender, this will benefit many in the gender fluid, non-binary, LGBT+ community and help break the stigma.
  • It lets your colleagues, or employees know that you are inclusive, respectful, and non-discriminatory. An individual who cares about individual preferences which will in turn create loyalty and job satisfaction.
  • It prevents and provides a solution to accidental misgendering. Identifying someone as the incorrect gender, or different to their preference could be an embarrassing situation. This could lead to hurt, and perhaps an environment of slow cooperation.
  • It could lead to a deeper cultural shift in organisations. This shift could promote a much more thriving workplace, creating a ‘safe’ environment. Leading to greater productivity, creativity and connection with colleagues.

 

If you need further guidance or want support in making your workplace more inclusive, please contact Thrive’s LGBT+ Champion, Imogen Hamblin.

 

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