So, do people think equality and diversity in the workplace is enough?
Most people do, in my experience it isn’t enough as despite all the training people have whether its face to face or e-learning they still think that treating people the same is fine. I have been thinking about this for a little while now and decided to write this to hopefully explain why we need to do more about accepting people for who they are no matter what their race, colour, gender, sexuality, ability and gender identity is.
So why isn’t it enough?
As a freelance trainer delivering courses in health and social care I travel up and down the country delivering various courses to managers, seniors and other staff members. I am often surprised at people’s attitudes and responses to various subjects covered by the protected characteristics.
As a Transman I am passionate about LGBTQ+ and raising awareness in this area however, I have not always been open about my transition. WHY? Because people’s attitudes, beliefs and opinions can be very difficult to deal with.
Let me give you some examples:
In the beginning of my transition before hormones took affect and before any surgeries it was a difficult time working in health and social care. Some comments I received from a senior member of staff.
Why do you want to be a man? You might be an ugly man! You dress like a man why do you need to have a sex change? These comments were from 1 individual who would refer to me as IT. Now I went to the manager and had a conversation with her about this which wasn’t very affective as the individual in question was a very close friend of hers and they shared a house. This made my work very difficult as there were sly comments after this which resulted in me leaving to find another job.
No one should be made to feel like I did at this time in my life, it was easier to find another job then to stay and fight.
There has been a rise in homophobic and transphobic attacks recently which makes it feel like we are stepping back to the 80’s and 90’s. Now I am not saying that everyone is like these narrow-minded individuals far from it there is a lot of acceptance out there. but if we are teaching equality and diversity in schools, colleges, universities and the workplace is it enough.
When delivering training courses and the subject of Gender Dysphoria or Transgender has been approached there has been a mixed response. Generally, most people are accepting however I have heard comments such as “They are sick in the head”. These comments are not unusual from a minority of people the disturbing thing about this was it came from a carer supporting adults with mental health issues. This was the first time I decided that I would inform people that I did not know that I am a Transman. Needless to say, the individual that made this comment was very embarrassed.
So, if equality and diversity is enough why are people still so narrow minded and ignorant of how their actions affect other people. These sort of comments and situations happen all the time, I have been in my local small supermarket and heard comments from the cashiers after a customer has left the shop. You see or hear things in the high street, in coffee shops and in pubs/clubs.
In my opinion Equality and Diversity is NOT enough and we need to do more to raise awareness and acceptance in all areas of life. These situations are why I made the decision to become a speaker to help raise awareness in LGBTQ+ and how we can all play a part in making the world a better place.
If you have read this then thank you, it’s one step nearer to raising awareness in acceptance and making the world a better place to live in.