IEDP Summer Seminar 2018

Our summer seminar took place at Swan Housing in Tower Hamlets, London, on 30 July and was on the topic of supporting trans and gender non-conforming individuals in the 21st century

The IEDP's summer seminar on 30 July, was a well-attended, informative and enjoyable after noon. Chaired by Elaine Bolton, the first speaker was Anna Williams, Housing Diversity Manager at Swan Housing who hosted the event.

Anna outlined some of the work they do at Swan Housing to promote trans equality. She highlighted the importance of being visibly inclusive, for example:
  • Policy documents include specific reference to gender identity and gender expression
  • There is an LGBT+ staff group, for LGBT staff and allies, affiliated to House Proud, which is a sector-wide LGBT+ organisation
  • They take part in events like London Pride, Essex Pride, LGBT History Month - and publicise this participation through their newsletter and social media
  • They invite LGBT+ partner organisations to Swan Housing events
The first of our keynotes speakers was Hilary Cooke from Medway Gender and Sexual Diversity Centry. Hilary gave an overview of gender identity focusing on the following areas:
  • Gender incongruity (also known as gender dysphoria)
  • Pronouns, labels and language
  • Discrimination
  • Hate crime and bullying
She  took us through the key ways that gender incongruity affects people, namely physical dysphoria, social dysphoria and sexual dysphoria. 

The second keynote speaker was Joanne Lockwood from SEE change happen. Joanne stressed the importance of making people feel special, pointing out that 'Where people matter they feel included.' She suggested various ideas for inclusive workplaces:
  • Take Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) seriously 
  • Don't just have specific networks such as LGBTQ+, BAME etc., also have a network of networks for cross-fertilisation
  • Visible and tangible signposting
  • A nominated mental health first aider
  • Avoid 'pinkwashing' - the inclusive ethos needs to be truly embedded
  • Zero tolerance of harassment, victimisation, bullying and banter.
Elaine then chaired four groups which were a hive of discussion as we explored ways in trans and non-binary people face barriers in the workplace and considered strategies to address those barriers. The afternoon finished with a Q and A session with the speakers.

Some of the general points that came out of the afternoon were:
  • Equality is about fairness
  • People are people - everyone deserves respect!
  • Trans awareness is about 20 years behind LGB equality
  • The Equality Act 2010 - and in particular the Public Sector Equality Duty - has been very helpful with large organisations, but has yet to filter down to small organisations
  • Anyone who looks 'different' will always draw attention and curiosity - the rise in the number of young people transitioning will mean trans people are likely to look less different in the future 

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