All Gender Toilet Sign

World Toilet Day 2019

Everyone should have access to a toilet they are able to use safely.

However, according to Stonewall’s LGBT in Britain trans report – 48% of trans people do not feel comfortable using public toilets.

This means that many trans people, when outside their homes, are faced with a choice of using toilets where they don’t feel safe or welcome, or going home before they need to use the loo. Alternatively, they may not eat or drink all day so they don’t have to go. This situation has a huge impact on how trans, including non-binary people, navigate public space and how comfortable we feel out in the world.

In the UK, we might assume that access to basic sanitation is a given, but a UN statement on the right to sanitation on World Toilet Day reminds us that sanitation goes beyond merely access to a toilet, “Sanitation is not only about constructing toilets or sewerage. It is about understanding people’s needs and finding safe and sustainable solutions that ensure everyone’s dignity.”

It’s important to state that not all trans people have identical needs. While some people would rather use facilities designated male or female, others – particularly non-binary people – would feel far more comfortable with the option of gender-neutral facilities. Individuals whose gender expression does not conform to society’s expectations – whether trans or not – could also benefit from the option of a gender-neutral toilet.

It should go without saying that all men and women should be able to access facilities appropriate to their gender and the Equality Act 2010 gives trans women and trans men the right to do so. Employers and service providers should make sure that all employees, service users and customers are able to access appropriate facilities, without fear of harassment. The Equality Act does not explicitly mention non-binary people. Nonetheless, taking the needs of non-binary people into account is vital if you’re aiming to provide trans inclusive services in general.

The answer is architectural. We believe that a model for all new buildings should be purpose-built, single cubicle facilities that offer privacy and comfort for all, regardless of gender identity or gender expression.

We’re seeing more and more toilets designed as floor-to-ceiling cubicles, like small rooms in themselves, avoiding the potential awkwardness of partially enclosed cubicles that are standard in gendered facilities up and down the country.

However, it’s not always so easy to change older infrastructure to install these unless you’re having a general refurbishment.

A good second option is to make your accessible facilities explicitly gender neutral so that everyone knows it’s OK to use them.  It’s a family-friendly step as well as inclusive of people with non-binary identities and any trans people who may simply feel safer and more comfortable in a non-gendered space.

Doing this is just a matter of re-labelling.  There’s a range of gender neutral toilet signage available on the market, including braille versions.

If you are looking for a short-term solution to labelling or need to create a gender-neutral toilet for an event, you can download our printable toilet signs. We’ve seen them being used across the UK at events!

If you are going to have a refurbishment or new-build, make sure gender neutral facilities are part of the design! Thoughtful design can offer privacy, dignity and safety.

Links to useful resources

Gendered Intelligence Transforming Spaces podcast episode #1 – “Not another talk about toilets!”

Francis Ray White, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Westminster (they/them), Cara English, founder of Open Lavs and Policy Engagement Officer & Research Coordinator at Gendered Intelligence (she/her)  and Irina Korneychuk, FaulknerBrowns Architects (she/her) discuss the context of the fascination around trans people in toilets, and provide some community based and architectural solutions to the toilets challenge

Open Lavs –project mapping gender neutral toilets in the UK

Downloadable all-gender toilet signs from Gendered Intelligence.

Stalled – a US-based advocacy project working on the design, legal and educational barriers to inclusive bathrooms.

Gendered Intelligence responds to draft Census questions on sex and gender identity

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has recently launched its guidance about how it will ask about trans, including non-binary,  people’s gender in this year’s rehearsal for the 2021 Census in England and Wales.  We’re optimistic that the 2021 Census will deliver much-needed data on the trans and non-binary population in England and Wales.

The sex question, in place since 1801, will continue to be asked to help ensure robust equalities monitoring for the benefit of public services, such as health. Fortunately, the guidance asks that people respond using their lived sex, whether that corresponds to what is on their birth certificate or not.

This is good news for trans people who may otherwise have been concerned that – in the absence of a fitting system of legal gender recognition – there may have been an expectation to respond with sex as assigned at birth, regardless of the realities of their current, lived experience.

The Gender Recognition Act remains outdated and in urgent need of reform,  meaning many men and women have sexes marked on their birth certificate that do not match the realities of their lived experience.

The ONS guidance hopes to tackle any potential confusion and is welcomed by Gendered Intelligence for allowing trans people to clearly define their sex.

However, non-binary people will, unfortunately, continue to be obliged to respond to the sex question in the census rehearsal with a binary ‘male’ or ‘female’ answer.  The legal obligation to complete all mandatory questions in the Census – of which sex is one – will put some non-binary people in an uncomfortable position.

On a positive note, for the first time there will be a voluntary question on gender identity, offering a space where non-binary status and other aspects of gender identity can be defined.

Gendered Intelligence warmly welcomes the introduction of a gender identity question, allowing policymakers, government and charities to hopefully get a clearer snapshot of how many trans and non-binary people there are in the UK.

Whilst it is disappointing that the question will be asked only of those aged 16 and over – and will not offer any clarity as to what we believe is an acute crisis of under-resourcing for trans children and young people – we welcome the data that will emerge from the census as hopefully illuminating.

I cannot be non-binary without being queer and brown

Photo by Zaksheuskaya from Pexels

Rami Yasir is a writer, comic creator and musician. They also lead Gendered Intelligence’s Colours youth group for trans, non-binary and gender diverse people of colour aged 13-24. 

Their personal essay looks at the interaction between race, gender and sexuality. 

I was always told what it means to be a man, but being a man never sat comfortably with me.  First because of my queerness; the way I love doesn’t mould itself to any concept of masculinity I could lay claim to.  Next, my actions, my make-up and mincing, my limp wrist and elastic voice.  And finally, my race, my skin, my heritage.

Recently, I took part in a training exercise with Gendered Intelligence.  In it, participants were asked to describe their trans journeys, from childhood to the present day.  As I sat staring at a capped pen and a blank page, it occurred to me what a tangled mess that journey is; it hikes through different terrains – race, sexuality, and gender – all connected by the imprint of my feet.  To walk through my gender is to swim through my race; to understand what I am is to make sense of where I’ve been.

I cannot be non-binary without being queer and brown.  They are parts of a matrix, things which have influenced and informed each other.  And while I’m grateful for the exercise that allowed me to babble for ten minutes about who and where I was, ten minutes is not enough to shape those thoughts into something useful.  Even now, as I take the effort to think and digest, to pick apart the knots of my history and reshape them into a narrative that makes sense, I am almost at a loss.  But that’s okay, I think I’ll always be at a loss with gender, and right now the act of speaking matters more than being understood.

I was born in Jordan as a Sudani citizen and raised in England from the time I was nine months old.  My mother is a Palestinian-Jordanian woman and my father a Sudani man.  My birth certificate is in Arabic, a language I can only read with hours of work and access to Google, and my childhood took place on the border between cultures.  I was raised with tea and mint leaves, fish, chips and ful medames.

By eleven it was fairly clear to me that I would never marry a girl.  By twelve I hated myself for it.  Bombarded as we are with representations of queer hating Arabs and Africans it seemed my only course for salvation was to assimilate into the world of white tolerance.  I shied away from my parents and the heritage they represented, only to find myself still different, still brown, still carrying the weight of history in my skin.

But I was still a boy; effeminate, insecure, but still a boy.  At that point in my life I had yet to question my gender in any meaningful way, as I had yet to question my race and what it meant.  But it is not an accident that as I delved into one questions surfaced about the other.  For me, it was at Uni that I learned to worry the roots of my identity.  Having the safety net of my middle class allowed me to explore those questions in an institution designed for people like me, at least once I was living away from home and until my parent’s income took a hit during my dad’s battle with cancer.

Every trans journey is a personal one.  Gender is not only how the world understands you (or, for many trans people, how it does not) but how you interact with and understand the world.  I cannot sit here and say that my journey is typical for any group, only that I can use it to highlight how gender, race and sexuality feed off each other.

What I can say is that gender is a cultural construct, that much is no secret.  How you locate your gender or even what genders there are varies with time and place.  And the context we find ourselves in now is important, especially for black trans people and other trans people of colour.  When Shaadi Devereaux, a black trans writer, highlights how black women are only ever seen to imitate petite and white “true beauty,” she points out that any confrontation with gender is also a confrontation with whiteness.  Today, black women and men are hypermasculinised, East Asian men and women are hyperfeminised, Muslim women are denied respectable womanhood, and whatever non-white race or gender you are, you are hypersexualised.  In every case, when the context is here, now, in this country, in this language, gender is gatekept by whiteness.

So, in my experience, manhood has always been out of reach.  The discovery of my queerness caused a rift between myself and any version of masculinity I could claim.  I could not be a man by the standards of my parents, despite the long history of queer sexuality before the arrival of western colonialism, and neither could I be one by the standards of the country I grew up in, where the only wholesome masculinity is white.  The men who looked like those in my family were always the terrorists or the thieves, the abusers and patriarchs.  They were always, somehow, corrupt.

And besides, I was both African and Arab.  I was British but I was foreign.  I was not wholly anything.  Doesn’t it make sense, for someone who lives straddling those identities, to turn that questioning gaze inwards?  When older white people stare at me, wondering where I’m from and how I got here, how far of a leap is it to turn to myself and ask where I belong?  Not in Jordan, Palestine or Sudan, but neither completely in the Britain which has assured me of my otherness.  Not in the masculinity of my father, silent and reticent, or even in the subtle strength of my mother’s femininity.  And never, of course, as the white British man or woman I should aspire to be.  I am just as much adrift in gender’s seas as I am in the ones surrounding continents.

I have always said that gender never really made sense to me, but then again, how could it?  Nothing about my identity ever has done.  But it was nice to feel pretty; it felt good to do my nails.  I allowed myself a break from the expectations of masculinity and I liked it.  So my thoughts began to shift, I started to reassemble my identity from the bottom up.  And I’m still in the process, still working to pick away the detritus of life from the person I want to be, but I’m getting there.

How not to make trans people safer

Earlier this week we were alarmed to read Labour’s LGBT+ Advisor Anthony Watson advocate for the creation of seemingly separate “transgender zones” in UK cities, where trans people would allegedly be protected from hate crime. It is misguided to ask trans people to live separately from mainstream society for their own safety. We would ask for this policy to be reconsidered. 

Like anyone else, trans and non-binary people want to go to school, work and enjoy socialising among their friends, family and peers. It’s undeniable that there is a lot of work to be done before trans and non-binary people will no longer experience daily discrimination and bullying in education and the workplace. Indeed, it is unacceptable that anyone should have to be fearful of violence and harassment in public, which too many trans people –  41%, according to reporting – continue to experience. The answer to this problem is not for any political party to advocate for the ushering of trans people to designated, separate zones for their own safety. It should not be an acceptable choice to ask any group to segregate themselves for their own safety.

Historically, LGBT people have created spaces where they could be together and form communities. Our communities have always sprung from adversity. We believe there will be value in trans-only spaces, such as our youth groups and annual summer camp residential for trans youth, for as long as gender diverse people are misunderstood and punished by wider society.

As an organisation, we firmly believe that education and training is key to improving society’s understanding of diverse genders and sexualities. As trans-inclusive practices become more commonplace, public life is in turn becoming more straightforward and safe for trans and non-binary people. No one should have to avoid using a toilet or changing room because they are afraid of the reception they will receive. In the latest edition of our Transforming Spaces podcast, based on our 2018 conference, inclusive hairdressing space Open Barbers and cosmetics company Lush talk about how they are making the High Street safer and more welcoming for gender diverse customers and employees alike.

With the recent appointment of the Government’s LGBT Advisory Panel, we hope that the voices and ideas of trans people will be at the heart of all decisions made about our lives and livelihoods. It is heartening to see trans, LGB+ people and lifelong allies in this important group, as these are some of the people who can speak from real experience. It is imperative that the Government, The Opposition and all other decision makers include trans people and organisations in any and all decisions that affect us. To fail to do so will result in well-intentioned but ultimately harmful policies for all trans and non-binary people. Gendered Intelligence welcomes the opportunity for conversation with all parties. Our door is always open.

Nothing about us without us.

 

Trans history for LGBT History Month

Trans Portraits

Below we’ve collected links to profiles on trans and gender diverse people for LGBT History Month. We know there are hundreds more we could have featured, including community champions who are rarely recognised – leave us a comment if you would like us to add a name. The vast majority of the people featured below are from the UK or US and we would appreciate any other international links too.

We’ve tried to link to articles that avoid language that is not in keeping with how historical subjects lived their lives. So often gender diverse historical figures are reduced to their gender assigned at birth, which is taken to be more “truthful” than the gender they expressed, embodied and in many cases explicitly identified as.

Nonetheless, many, if not all, of these articles and blog posts contain references to distressing themes and experiences. These include death, sexual abuse, violence, surgery, rejection and persecution by the law. Bear this in mind when you are reading.

At the same time we see the resilience, brilliance and community spirit of trans and gender diverse people whose legacies have made our work possible today. There is so much to celebrate and to fight for.

Lucy Hicks Anderson – Domestic Worker, US (link to short film from ‘We’ve Been Around’ series)

April Ashley – Model / Actor, UK (link to Wikipedia page)

Georgina Beyer – Politician, New Zealand (link to interview on the Spin Off)

Georgia Black – Domestic Worker, US (link to TransGriot blog)

Kylar Broadus – Lawyer, US (link to personal website)

Marci Bowers – Surgeon, US (link to Washington Post profile)

Roberta Cowell – Racing driver, UK (link to Wikipedia page)

Michael Dillon – Doctor, UK (link to Wikipedia page)

Lili Elbe – Artist, Denmark (link to Wikipedia page)

Jack Bee Garland – Soldier, US (link to Wikipedia page)

Althea Garrison – Politician, US (link to Wikipedia page)

Anna Grodzka – Politician, Poland (link to Vice interview)

Alan Hart – Doctor, US (link to article in Pdx Monthly)

Marsha P Johnson – Activist / Performer, US

Christine Jorgensen – Actress / Entertainer, US (link to Wikipedia page)

Jan Morris – Author/Historian, UK (link to Wikipedia page)

Sylvia Rivera – Trans Activist, US (link to Sylvia Rivera Law Project page

Lou Sullivan – Author / Activist, US (link to short film from ‘We’ve Been Around’ series)

Billy Tipton – Musician, US (link to parenting blog)

Stephen Whittle – Lawyer / Lecturer, UK (link to Wikipedia page)

One month left to take part in the Government’s GRA consultation

Copy of GRA Drop in Twitter

There is a month left before the Government’s consultation on reforming the Gender Recognition Act 2004 closes.

It is so important that trans people, their families and their friends make sure their voices are heard. We have a once in a generation opportunity to make legal gender recognition easier, more affordable and demedicalise the process. 

The GRA was the first piece of law in the UK allowing trans people to change their legal gender and their birth certificate by applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate. It was a groundbreaking piece of legislation 14 years ago but now we’ve started to fall behind other countries. The process here is long, expensive and requires evidence from two medical professionals. What’s more, it excludes those under 18 and non-binary people.

Ireland recently passed a law allowing trans people to self-identify their gender. Many trans people and organisations are campaigning for a similar process for the UK, where people can sign a statutory declaration, which is like a more official deed poll that has to be signed in front of a witnessing solicitor.

The consultation document is quite long and can be confusing. It’s also easier to access online, which can be difficult if you’re not the best with technology! To make sure everyone gets the chance to have their say, Gendered Intelligence are running two GRA workshops on 15th September  and 6th October, from 12 noon to 6pm. All trans people and allies are welcome to come along to these drop in sessions.

We’ll also be running workshops in our youth groups this month so that our incredible young people can comment on a process that will have a huge impact on their future.

For the Saturday drop ins, we’ll have staff and volunteers available to explain the wording of the questions and to act as a soundboard for your ideas.

We’ll have a number of computers available for people to use, along with paper copies of the form that we can post back to the Government for you. But if you’re coming and have a laptop, it would be helpful if you could bring that along with you. There’ll also be snacks and teas and coffees available to sustain you while you’re deep in thought!

In our youth groups, Cara, our Policy Engagement Officer, will give a short presentation on what the GRA is, what it means and what we have been doing as an organisation through the whole process. Then we’ll have a discussion about some of the issues which will also give our young people the opportunity to ask more detailed questions.

This is a great opportunity for us to hear thoughts from more members of the community, including our young people. This will help inform our responses, ensuring we’re properly representing our community and working for the best outcome for everyone!

We’ll be hosting the Saturday workshops in Central London and you can book a slot to come along here: https://gra-dropin.eventbrite.co.uk

Gendered Intelligence calls for the age limit of legal gender recognition to be lowered to 16

Gendered Intelligence, a community interest organisation that aims to increase understandings of gender diversity, welcome the launch of the consultation on reforms to the Gender Recognition Act, but are concerned that the scope of the reforms isn’t wide enough.

In line with progressive legislation in other countries such as Ireland and Malta, Gendered Intelligence are calling on the Government to reduce the minimum age for a person to have their gender legally recognised from 18 to 16. We are disappointed that the Government has fudged the consultation with regards to young trans people, failing to properly and transparently include a question around the age limit of gender recognition. The GEO fact sheet on Trans People states that the government has no intention of lowering the age limit to under 18.

Penny Mordaunt, Minister for Women and Equalities, has stated that the starting point for the consultation is the fact that trans women are women and that gender recognition processes should support those going through transition rather than add to their stress. This is a positive starting point, but the concerns of young trans people must also be at the heart of the consultation process.

The Government’s consultation on the Gender Recognition Act 2004 was launched by Penny Mordaunt, Minister for Women and Equalities. The consultation invites individuals and relevant organisations to share their vision for reform of the 2004 Act. Under current legislation, applicants for a Gender Recognition Certificate have to be at least 18 years of age and transitioning from one fixed, binary gender identity (‘male to female’, ‘female to male’).

 Through its youth work programme, Gendered Intelligence works with over 500 young trans, gender diverse and questioning young people and their parents every year. The ability to have their legal gender recognised would allow those 16 and 17 year olds with diverse gender identities to have their gender respected at school, college and at work. Research shows that respecting trans people’s preferred pronouns and name drastically decreases depression and improves outcomes. Young trans people are currently facing an extreme level of discrimination. Research shows that more than four in five (83 per cent) trans young people have experienced name-calling or verbal abuse; three in five (60 per cent) have experienced threats and intimidation; and more than a third (35 per cent) of trans young people have experienced physical assault.

 Dr. Jay Stewart MBE, CEO of Gendered Intelligence said:

“As a sixteen year old, you are able to marry, join the army and work full time, yet you cannot have your gender legally recognised. Increasing numbers of young people are transitioning, with the full support of their parents, and would fulfill the conditions of gender recognition, yet are blocked from changing the gender on their birth certificate simply because of their age. Those under 18 are at risk of discrimination and harassment in education and work because they do not have the option of their birth certificate reflecting the gender they live as. It is simply unjust to deny young people the human rights that we afford adults just because of their age.”

Cara English, Gendered Intelligence’s Policy Officer said:

It is time for the UK to catch up with Ireland and Malta and give 16 and 17 year olds the right to have their gender recognised on their birth certificate. The UK was a thought leader on LGBTQI issues when it launched the original Gender Recognition Act, and we need that radical thinking back if we’re to make things fair and equitable now. We have a once in a generation opportunity to improve the Gender Recognition Act for all trans and non-binary people and we have to make sure that young people are not left out of the conversation. Gendered Intelligence will ensure that young people’s voices and views are included in the consultation process. Young trans people continue to experience disproportionate bullying, discrimination and poor mental health outcomes. The government needs to take action to address these inequalities. The ability to have their gender legally recognised will give young trans people safety and privacy in education and at work, and absolutely needs to be a priority for the Government”

In the coming weeks we will be sharing suggestions to help those who are taking part in the consultation to make sure the experiences and needs of young trans people are reflected in their submissions.

 

What are the single sex exceptions in the Equality Act?

Today several mainstream media outlets have claimed that trans people do not have a legal right to access single-sex space, according to the government.  After weeks of media confusion over the scope of the Gender Recognition Act 2004, it seems that it is now the turn of the Equality Act 2010 to be misconstrued.  Inaccurate information about legislation relating to trans equality is unhelpful to organisations and businesses, and moreover, potentially harmful for trans women who stand to suffer an increase in harassment when accessing single-sex services.

Earlier this month, the Government Equalities Office released a statement in response to a petition from an anti-trans group to halt the planned reform of the Gender Recognition Act.  Use of single sex space is legislated in the Equality Act, and the government confirmed that it has no intention of changing any aspect of this Act. In short, this means trans people – covered by the Protected Characteristic of “gender reassignment” – continue to have the legal right to access facilities appropriate to their gender. Discrimination against trans people as customers and service users is still unlawful.

Today’s inaccurate media claims mainly come down to one point – the single sex exemptions in the Equality Act.  Under normal circumstances,  if service providers provide single or separate sex services,  trans men and women should be treated in accordance with their gender and access the services most appropriate for them. However, in limited circumstances, there are exceptions to this.

The “Services, Public Functions and Associations: Statutory Code of Practice” (EHRC, 2011) document provides useful guidance to the exceptions to this rule. It says service providers can provide a different service, or exclude a trans person, but this will only be lawful “where the exclusion is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”.  To clarify the nature of this exception, it says , “any exception to the prohibition of discrimination must be applied as restrictively as possible and the denial of a service to a transsexual person should only occur in exceptional circumstances”.

 Far from the blanket ban that today’s media suggests,  in general the exceptions can only be used where every way to enable full inclusion has been explored and no other option can be found. Under no circumstances should an organisation treat the exceptions as something it should do. An exception is a last resort.

The EHRC guidance advises that the needs of different service uses are weighed up, but that ,”Care should be taken in each case to avoid a decision based on ignorance or prejudice.  Also the provider will need to show that a less discriminatory way to achieve the objective was not available.

The onus is clearly on the service provider to demonstrate that a decision was not taken based on ignorance or prejudice, which begs the question – what is actually left when we have removed ignorance and prejudice from the equation?  We have seen many other groups denied rights on the basis of (often) essentialist arguments that are now clearly seen to be based entirely in ignorance and prejudice.

Single-sex exceptions to the Equality Act 2010 are generally applied in sensitive services, such as rape crisis and women’s refuges. In Scotland several women’s services are explicitly trans inclusive and offer guidance to similar organisations. Women’s services have to balance the needs of service users – both cis and trans – who are often extremely vulnerable and traumatised. They do vital and often harrowing work, in a sector that is increasingly underfunded. If they are able to model good practice, there is hope for all organisations to welcome and affirm trans people.

The existing Equality Act is far from perfect – for one, it provides no explicit protection for non-binary people. However, it is irresponsible, and indeed immoral, for the media to twist legislation to suggest that trans people can be lawfully barred from every day facilities and services. This kind of rhetoric empowers those who seek to harass and exclude trans people, especially trans women, from public space.

GI Statement on High Court ruling on “X” passports

Campaigner Christie Elan-Cane has lost a High Court action against the Government’s policy on gender-neutral passports.  Elan-Cane’s case argued that the Government policy of obligatory female or male gender markers on passports was “inherently discriminatory”.  High Court judge Mr Justice Jeremy Baker refused to rule the government policy as unlawful. However, the judge was satisfied that, “right to respect for private life will include a right to respect for the claimant’s identification as non-gendered.’’ It is the first time that a judge in a UK court has make such a statement about non-binary gender in reference to the right to a private life.

Sascha-Amel Kheir, non-binary activist and Gendered Intelligence’s Volunteer Coordinator gave the following statement on the ruling:

“I’d firstly like to thank Christie for the time, effort and emotional labour that not only must have gone into this case but the three decades of campaigning leading to this point. It is an issue that affects many people personally, including myself, and something Christie has fought tirelessly for many years.

While the decision from the court is not the best case scenario, it is also not the worst. For the first time a court in the UK has recognised that forcing people who identify outside of the gender binary to choose a M or F marker for documentation violates one’s right to a private life under the European Convention on Human Rights*. It was noted that the Government is currently conducting a review of gender recognition policies with the long expected consultation on the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and this seems to have been important for the court when drafting its judgement.

Hopefully, the judgement will be considered during the GRA consultation process, especially now that it has been found to be a human rights violation. If not, it at least sets a strong foundation for strategic litigation if the consultations do not lead to the necessary changes in policy and legislation.”

You can read more about the ruling on Christie’s own blog.

 

Celebrating volunteers at Gendered Intelligence

Our Volunteer Coordinator Sascha Amel-Kheir reflects on the important role volunteers play at Gendered Intelligence to introduce Volunteer Week 2018.  

TodaNCVO Vol week Logo 2018 colour with tagline largey is the start of Volunteers’ Week in the UK and this year we at Gendered Intelligence will be showcasing some of our volunteers’ stories and experiences from volunteering with us. Their contribution to our organisation is not only vital to the work we do because it supports our team of staff, helping us achieve far more than we could on our own, but each volunteer brings a unique perspective that enriches the programme of services we provide.

I joined GI in February as the first full-time Volunteer Coordinator and although it has only been three months, it has been fantastic getting to know our existing volunteers, training and welcoming new volunteers to the organisation and developing new ways for our volunteers to support our work.

Volunteering is not only important because of the benefits it provides to organisations, but because of the many ways it can be of benefit to volunteers. Whether it’s through combating social isolation with opportunities to meet new friends, teaching people new skills with the chance to practice them in a professional environment and also providing a space for a diverse community of staff, volunteers, service users and their friends and families to develop around our service provision.

Next week, we will be sharing 5 stories from people across all aspects of

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Volunteers Peter and Jacqui running a stall at NEU’s LGBT Educators Conference 2018

 the Gendered Intelligence Volunteering Scheme; those who have been with us for many years to those who have only recently joined, trans people who attended our youth groups in their teens and cis allies to our community and experiences across our volunteering programs. People from all different walks of life give so much to GI and the trans community and we’re excited to highlight their achievements with us!

If you are interested in volunteering with Gendered Intelligence please visit our website for more information and complete our anonymous application form.