Supporting the trans community

By Jenny Crocker, Service manager and Co-chair of Riverside’s LGBT staff group Spectrum

Last weekend several Spectrum committee members went to show their support for the trans community during Manchester’s Sparkle Weekend.

This is the fourth year Riverside has attended Sparkle and we are proud to say that once again we were the only housing association there.

Sparkle, the national transgender charity, works to raise awareness and acceptance of anyone who identifies as trans, non-binary, gender fluid or intersex.

Every year they also run the Sparkle Weekend, the world’s largest free-to-attend celebration of gender diversity.

We arrived Saturday morning to get set up, the gazebo seemed to develop a mind of its own and was determined to stay in pieces. Thankfully some of the lovely people from the Stonewall and Women Out Work stalls were on hand and clearly had experience of resistant gazebos. Once it was wrestled into place and the stall was looking fabulous we were ready for opening.

We had an incredible day meeting people from the other agencies and developing new networks, and also meeting people who wanted to hear more about what we did as a housing association.

Hearing other people’s stories about the discrimination and exclusion they had faced in their communities and in their work places really brought home to me why Riverside continues to do the work it does.

In supporting events such as this, and continue to promote training and education around gender identity we show that we do care about delivering inclusive services to our customers, treating our colleagues with respect, and helping people feel safe – whether at home or work.

So from a leaflet shamelessly taken from the police stand (I did tell them I’d be sharing it with you), here are six ways you can be a better trans ally:

  • Influence – your peers and your organisation.
  • Engage – transgender staff, officers and volunteers
  • Use – trans-inclusive language.
  • Respect – privacy and disclosure boundaries
  • Challenge – transphobic language and policies
  • Educate – yourself and others on transgender issues.

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