New Gendered Intelligence & GEO guidance on providing services for transgender customers

Trans Guidance

Transgender people, like any other customer, want to shop, open accounts, seek entertainment and go on evenings out, yet they can face discrimination and prejudice in day to day life. Some of it is intentional, most of it is unintentional: the use of the wrong title (e.g. Mr, Mrs, Miss etc.) pronoun (e.g. he, she, they etc.) or being barred from a changing facility. Mistakes like these are easily overcome ensuring that trans customers or clients have a positive experience and service providers are rewarded with future loyalty, business and recommendations

Providing services for transgender customers : A guide

Today the Government Equalities Office released new guidance on providing services for transgender consumers, co-produced with Gendered Intelligence.  Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan introduced the guidance during this morning’s Women and Equalities Parliamentary Questions (see video at 10:00) in the House of Commons.

We are pleased that service providers across all sectors will have clear guidance to make sure transgender customers and clients are comfortable and feel welcomed.

We would like to thank all those who completed our survey and supplied us with some insightful testimony. It is the voices of trans people and their experiences that really bring the guidance to life.

The GEO has simultaneously released new guidance for employers on recruiting and retaining transgender staff.

Orla Blakelock, Univeristy placement student, writes about her experience of volunteering at the WHY? Festival, Southbank, October 2015

It was a dreary weekend in London when WHY? (What’s Happening for the Young) Festival came to the Royal Festival Hall; an event packed full of educational treats for both adults and children! Teachers, parents and young people streamed in from across the land to indulge in a variety of activities and stalls packed full of learning goodness. From political change singing to question and answer sessions on what it means to have a happy childhood, WHY? Festival had a lot to offer. I observed all of these fantastic activities whilst spreading the word about GI on our stall.

As a volunteer, it was a perfect opportunity to learn more about GI and get stuck in to the work that they offer to schools and universities. From MA students, to parents, to teachers – we raised a lot of awareness and planted a seed of interest in those who had never before taken much time to think about the issues trans people face in schools, and indeed in general. I really enjoyed putting out the word on the work GI do and, in some cases, having the privilege of hearing the personal stories of families or individuals who have been affected by the difficulties that can occur when a loved one is transitioning. I was touched by the degree of love and understanding I encountered I relation to this.

GI Southbank collage for GIVS fb.jpg

In addition to the stall, GI presented a workshop on gender: ‘Are you a Boy or a Girl’?, run by CN and Jason. The title of the workshop was taken from Sarah Savage’s book for children, which introduces themes of gender to young children, unfortunately she was not able to make it to the workshop itself. This being said, the idea of creating a book for young children on the theme of gender is something that really resonates with me; during the over 21’s workshop, we discussed the inflammation of the terms ‘masculinity’ and ‘femininity’  among children’s tales over the past decade or so. Namely the increased mantra of PINK for girls! Being a predominantly female group, we talked a lot about the pressure to feminise oneself and the influence this can have on young girls to exhibit girlish behaviour. Some teachers in the room talked in solidarity with one another about the problem with young girls distorting their personalities around what has become the ‘comfortable’ box to sit in: pink, pretty, princesses.

After and hour of discussion, the over 21’s and the under 21’s group reconnected and fed back the findings we came across collectively. As far as I could tell, this was an enriching and beneficial experience for both groups. I found it interesting to hear about the experience of young people compared to that of the older group, mainly because I find it refreshing to see that young people have the opportunity to have access to knowledge that can enable them to be more intelligent about gender! When I was in school, education around sexuality was only just beginning to skim the surface. I am inspired by educational organisations like GI who are unfolding their knowledge to educational institutes across the country. This being said, the over 21’s workshop was a fantastic experience and I felt very happy to share a space with other people who were so willing to explore their thoughts and feelings around gender. It was uplifting to encounter a group of people who were so open-minded and willing to empathise with the issues the gender binaries create for both sexes.

http://genderedintelligence.co.uk/

http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/are-you-a-boy-or-a-girl-93837

http://sarah-savage.com/product/book/

Gendered Intelligence responds to Mail on Sunday article

Today Gendered Intelligence’s work in primary schools was featured in the Mail on Sunday. We welcome the opportunity to share more about our work. We felt that on the whole the article featured our educational work positively and gave a strong voice to what we deem to be important work.

There are however some misconceptions in the article – mainly the alluding to Gendered Intelligence encouraging young people to become trans, which of course is not true.

To reiterate here what was in the article: ‘Gendered Intelligence delivers age-appropriate workshops and assemblies by working closely with the senior leadership teams of each of the schools that we work with’.

We want to pass on our enormous thanks for the support from the primary school that is featured and the head and assistant head that have supported us in this work all the way. We’d love to come and visit you again soon!  

The article focuses mainly on a short video that we created in 2005 as part of the No Outsiders work which was a large Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded project which focused on LGBT equality in primary school settings.  We are also disappointed that the Mail on Sunday were not entirely transparent in ordering our video for the purpose of writing a piece on our work in schools.

The DVD is a great educational resource for teachers and other professionals and is available to order via our website.

Please read  a statement below from our director Jay Stewart:

It’s so important to teach children in schools that they can be anything that they want to be, regardless of the gender that they have been given at birth. They can be engineers, nurses and politicians; they can be caring and kind, strong and forthright; they can wear what they like and look how they like. It’s okay for all children to be girlish, boyish or anything in-between.

Our work at Gendered Intelligence includes going into primary school settings. It’s important because gender stereotyping and reinforcing gender norms start from a young age.

If we are going to tackle the prejudice in society towards those who express their gender differently from what is considered the norm, we need to introduce teaching early on in a person’s education. 

Some members of the general public might make assumptions about what is actually being taught when we go into primary schools.

Gendered Intelligence delivers age-appropriate workshops and assemblies by working closely with the senior leadership teams of each of the schools that we work with.

We are proud of this work. Feedback from students and staff has always been positive. There are amazing schools who have done incredible work to make sure they include trans pupils and staff.  We need to work towards implementing this good practice across the board. The Department for Education can play its part by ensuring that there is systemic change rather than ad-hoc good practice.

We need more open discussions and debates about gender diversity in schools as awareness grows in society. This is a crucial step in ending transphobic and gender related bullying. Young trans people suffer prejudice, and even violence, at school, college and university. In turn, they experience high levels of poor mental health. That’s why our campaigns such as Stop Our Silence are so important.

Trans people – like all people – have a right to an education in a safe environment. The only way to make school safe for trans pupils, and safe for everyone to express their gender, is to start talking about gender variance at the earliest possible opportunity.

Jay Stewart

Co-founder and Director

Genderedintelligence.co.uk


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