National day alert

Opinion header

We recently celebrated Transgender Day of Visibility. Done badly, national days are but a Twitter flutter and an excuse to greenwash 364 days of (in)activity, but done well, they’re powerful, focus the mind and become hooks to hang activity on: March brings International Women’s Day; October recognises cancer awareness activity.

This year I celebrated Transgender Day of Visibility by sharing it on my social channels with a targeted call to action for my cycling contacts to engage with British Cycling’ consultation on its transgender and non-binary policy documents.

Cycling is a big circle I move in: my contacts include many ride and event leaders as well as marketing professionals and political players. All quite clued into demographics. And I am a member of British Cycling’s Diversity and Inclusion external advisory board.

I also shared it with the Tour de Manc team, a sportive I work with as the diversity lead and included it as an agenda point at our next meeting.  I asked the team to consider the ways transgender and non-binary awareness impacts our event including registrations, toilets and signage and challenged them to consider where else it impacts our event. I also asked that they share the British Cycling post, so it’s not just me as diversity lead that shows we are serious about inclusivity.

What’s most important is what we are doing in the long-term. I had vetted our rider communications when I joined the organisation, but this threw up a new lens, so we are doing it again. One of the team asked for us to respond to the British Cycling consultation as a team and I like this – more conversation – and our discussion will inform our own policy and practices.

I received training in inclusive engagement and terminology from the Proud Trust a decade ago and I revisited their guidance and that of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Best practice is to offer an open field option and this has led to a conversation with our ticketing platform.

Although we are not a race, we collect gender information – gender, not sex. But we’re not a race and we’re open to everyone. The the reason we record gender used to be because of habit and toilets. (We’ve gone unisex with toilets containing sanitary bins marked). Now, it is so that we can benchmark and improve our gender diversity. Should we do it?

But the Proud Trust challenges us as to why we measure one protected characteristic and not another. Interesting challenge. We’re used to answering questions about gender and may fear any other questions may sound nosy and ‘not relevant’. But for our purposes, characteristics including race, disability, sexual orientation are just as relevant and not capturing the data leaves a data gap. The sportive is not a publicly funded body so does not have to promote itself across all protected characteristics. It’s something we want to do. Thoughts please?

I recently read the Social Mobility Commission’s 72 page report The Long Shadow of Deprivation which is an interesting read but I battled with for its reliance solely on data from males. It rankled. Being excluded rankles.

So my conversation isn’t over – I wanted to share my work and my thoughts because I have interesting people in my circle who can help me with my thinking and the day I know it all is the day I sit alone and not on boards!

Please share your thoughts and your guidance.

Author: Sarah E Galligan

Corporate social responsibility and communications professional working with great companies for great causes.

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