Transgender employees of the police service have spoken out about trans inclusion in the workplace, in order to encourage more welcoming environments in all industries.
The video, created with the National Police LGBT+ Network, covers everything from a basic definition of what “transgender” means to how you should address someone if you’re not sure which pronoun they use.
It follows research conducted earlier this year, which found that more than half of trans employees (53%) in the UK have felt the need to hide their trans status from employers.
Members of Leicestershire Police came up with the film idea after seeing the widespread media coverage gender neutral police uniforms received earlier this year.
They approached trans activists Fox Fisher and Owl, who run the not-for-profit trans awareness film company My Genderation, about bringing the project to life.
“Given the history between the trans community and the police force, we realised that it was a sensitive matter,” the activists told HuffPost UK.
“After giving it much consideration we came to the conclusion that this film would ultimately foster understanding about trans issues within the police and workplaces in general and have a positive effect and hopefully build some bridges.
“This was an opportunity to work from within and hopefully create change.”
The film features employees across multiple areas of police services, who share their own stories plus advice for creating trans inclusive workplaces.
Police sergeant Gina provides tips on using pronouns in the workplace when unsure, saying: “If possible, ask somebody their preferred pronouns. ‘They’ or ‘them’ would work really well if you’re not sure.”
Meanwhile Megan, who works as an equality officer within the probation service, explains the importance of not “outing” someone who is transgender to others if they have told you in confidence, or you have heard the information from someone else.
“It’s actually a criminal offence in a professional capacity to tell somebody that somebody else is transgender,” Megan says in the film.
“Some people transition and just want to live their life as quietly as anybody else in the gender that they know themselves to be, so by outing somebody, you could put a serious risk to their mental health, their physical health, and it might lead to something really, really serious.”
Fox and Owl are proud the film was entirely made by trans people, both within the police and through the production team.
“This was an essential part in the making of the film, as trans people had their authentic voices heard and spoke about issues related to the workplace,” they said.
“We think the film will be useful for all workplaces and will be a valuable resource. It will start a conversation about trans issues in the workplace, and is a good tool in raising awareness and can help workplaces make their institution inclusive.”
Sergeant Laura Millward, a member of the National LGBT+ network, said the group want to promote “positive representation of transgender people in public services and the media more widely”.
“We need to counter inaccurate views and show that some of us are trans and many of us are massive allies to the trans+ communities we both serve and work with,” Laura told HuffPost UK.
“This video is hugely important, it is just over 10 minutes of everyone’s time and we hope it helps to shatter stereotypes and encourage important, challenging and compassionate discussions about an often marginalised and much maligned group of wonderful people.”
Assistant chief constable Julie Cooke from Merseyside Police, who is the LGBT+ lead for National Police Chiefs council, added: “Education is critical for us all, understanding all our communities is a must for police services and this piece of work will hopefully stimulate dialogue, raise knowledge and awareness levels and help us all to feel able to discuss matters we may have little experience of.
“I have written to all police chief leads to ensure they have this information alongside a further piece of work covering our own police processes.
“There are almost daily news stories which refer to trans+ matters and this will hopefully help to create greater understanding.”
Importantly, those involved in the project are keen to highlight that the messages in the film are not just relevant for people in the police, but all industries.
“Lot of trans people get discriminated against and denied jobs for simply being trans, and those who choose to transition at work often get discriminated against and even lose their jobs,” Owl said.
“It’s very important that all workplaces adopt policies on equality and equal treatment of their staff members, trans people included.”