Today, November 20th, is the International Transgender Day of Remembrance. It brings to a close Transgender Awareness Week, and it is a day of mourning where transgender and non-binary communities can come together to remember those lost too soon due to their experiences of transphobic violence.
For us at Timely, Transgender Awareness Week is about more than just creating awareness - it's about showing up and doing our part to create a more inclusive workplace for our staff and community for our customers.
Here are a few things we're doing to show our solidarity with transgender and non-binary communities:
- All staff at Timely wear a pronoun badge which they feel most closely represents their gender (this goes for everyone whether you're transgender, or cisgender*). Our staff currently use "She/Her", "He/Him", "They/Them".
- We’ve invested in diversity and inclusion training for all staff from Australian queer-led resource centre Minus18, to help better understand how we can create an empathetic and inclusive workspace for all team members.
This is just a little about what we're doing as a team to make our workspace more inclusive, but it doesn't end here! Transgender Awareness Week is a reminder to all of us that we should be more conscious of the discrimination transgender and non-binary communities face every day, and it is an invitation for us to be allies, to stand in solidarity, and be willing to do the work to educate ourselves. If you want to know a little more, we’ve included a quick explainer for you below from the perspective of one of our Timely team who identifies as a member of the community.
Hi there, my name is Eisha and my pronouns are They/Them! Firstly, gender is a spectrum between two binaries: male and female. A binary trans person is someone who was assigned one gender at birth, but identify as the opposite end of the gender spectrum, and the people who fall at all the beautiful places in between this spectrum are non-binary, which is a catch-all umbrella term for the multiple gender identities, such as genderqueer or genderfluid, to name a few.
Trans people are much more likely to experience sexual violence than a cisgendered person, as well as unfair treatment and discrimination from health professionals. Deaths of trans people are poorly reported on, particularly because in Australia as our law system uses the gender binary (and what it says on your birth certificate) to report crimes and violence. These are pretty huge problems to face when you’re just trying to live your life authentically as the person you know you are, and getting medical help to physically change your appearance with hormones or surgery to reflect gender binaries can be incredibly costly and invasive.
Showing that you're aware of these issues, and doing your part to make things better for members of the community can be as a simple as using neutral pronouns (they/them) until you receive confirmation of someone’s preferred pronouns. If you’re in a situation where you need to know and there is no way to find out without asking, offer yours first. For example, “My name is Bob and I use he/him pronouns”. Similarly, try removing gendered language when addressing a group. There may well be non-binary people in the audience. Folks, pals, cool cats, and my personal favourite for formal events: Theydies and Gentlethems. Finally, if someone misgenders (or deadnames) a co-worker, friend, acquaintance etc. in your presence, then please correct them, and do it even if the person isn’t there. Having the correct pronoun and name used is incredibly validating because you feel seen for who you are and therefore feel much safer in that moment. Plus it sends a clear message to the world that you won’t stand for microaggressions or transphobia! How cool is it that you can make someone feel secure in themselves by simply being mindful about your choice of words!
But hey if you accidentally get someone's pronouns or name wrong, don’t panic – it’s okay because people make mistakes sometimes! Just start your sentence over again with the correct pronoun/name, and don’t feel you need to make a big deal about it. This isn't about you, correct yourself and move on. After the interaction is over, I have found it helpful to give the person three compliments in my head using their correct name and pronouns. It helps retrain your brain (especially if you knew them pre-transition) and gives all the warm fuzzies because it’s always nice to pay someone a compliment.
That’s all for now pals, from your friendly Timely Gentlethem Eisha.
*cisgender (if you aren't transgender, you're cisgender) people have never had to think about their pronouns, but as a trans or non-binary person if you don’t “look like a girl” or “look like a boy” pronouns can feel like a constant fight. By wearing pronoun badges, even if you're cisgender, we normalise being proud of our identity with the pronouns we use. It is also a sneaky bat signal to transfolx that you’re alright! ☺