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Transgender Day of Visibility- Is Visibility Enough?

Visibility for transgender and gender diverse people provides a vital tool for workplaces working on improving inclusion for transgender and gender diverse people, but is visibility alone enough to build an inclusive society or even an inclusive workplace?

Transgender Day of Visibility (31 March) is a day set aside to acknowledge and celebrate the lives of transgender and gender diverse people. Increasing visibility of transgender and gender diverse people is essential to acknowledging diversity and building inclusion.

It is important for us all to realise that visibility of transgender and gender diverse people has already made a significant difference in some of our workplaces, it informs those who have struggled with identity, that they have options, it assists organisations to benefit from talented individuals who would otherwise not have an opportunity to shine, but there is much left to do.

Visibility alone is not enough to build an inclusive society or even an inclusive workplace. Visibility however does provide a vital tool for workplaces working on improving inclusion for transgender and gender diverse people.  The risk of this visibility is that it may burden our people with a task many may not want to bear.  Most transgender and gender diverse people just want to go about their day like everybody else, being recognised as valuable for the work they do regardless of their gender identity. Although there are occasions when people will be comfortable to address appropriate questions and provide information related to their identity and experiences, they should not be automatically expected to bear the burden of repeatedly having to educate others. When we also consider that most transgender and gender diverse people consider that cisgender people should not speak on behalf of the community, how then can an organisation work towards greater inclusion without expecting too much of their transgender and  gender diverse employees?

This is where organisations can benefit from resources provided by ACON’s Pride in Diversity and Pride in Sport programs. Both these programs provide expertise, consulting services, training, printed resources, , informative and inspiring guest speakers, including speakers with lived experience. By accessing the expertise available within these programs, workplaces and sporting organisation can become better informed about the challenges faced by transgender and gender diverse people, without forcing employees to disclose their history or placing them in situations where they constantly have to educate others about what it means to be transgender or gender diverse.

What can your organisation do on Transgender Day of Visibility, to celebrate the lives of people while being respectful of transgender and gender diverse colleagues and employees?

  • Invite a transgender or gender diverse speaker to address your workplace;
  • Undertake LGBTI or transgender specific training;
  • Simply direct employees to some of the fantastic video resources that are available via ACON’s Pride in Diversity program, or;
  • Hold a celebration acknowledging the diversity of your workforce

ACON’s Pride in Diversity and Pride in Sport’s programs wish you a fantastic and insightful Transgender Day of Visibility 2017!

Kimberly Olsen is a Manager within ACON’s Pride Inclusion programs. Kimberly is able to draw from her perspective as a transgender woman in order to help organisations meaningfully engage with people of not only diverse sexualities, but also diverse gender identities. Email kolsen@acon.org.au.