This past week I had occasion to hear Elisabeth Cooke presenting on 'Best Practices for Diversity Management' pertaining to gender identity and sexual orientation. Elizabeth is the managing Director of an outfit called Incusivity and has been providing diversity management and advice to organizations, corporations and governments for over 20 years. What particularly caught my attention was the sheer volume of diversity training, resources and news content that has flooded our daily existence over the past couple of years (see World Professional Association for Transgendered Health or WPATH for an example of this). With gender identity and expression now being recognized as a human right at municipal, provincial and federal levels it appears that all of the years of lobbying, advocacy, protest and dialogue have finally begun to have an impact and how we need to think about our daily lives and how we share each moment of each day with the diversity of individuals that make up the human race.
I realize that we are just scratching the surface at this point and that the lived reality of those individuals who do not relate to those societal norms that have and continue to favour the heterosexual-oriented, gender binary is anything but fluid and comfortable. In 2015, we almost went to war over gender neutral washrooms which became a surprisingly divisive issue. Now it's just the norm. No biggee. This past spring, we pulled all of the binary pronouns out of our policy and procedures manual and there wasn't a single peep from any part of the organization.
I meet with community partners on a regular basis including a training group that we are part of and the biggest buzz out there is about diversity training specific to gender identity, expression and sexual orientation, Locally, we have an consulting outfit called Ambit Gender Diversity Consulting. There doesn't appear to be anyone in the sector that hasn't either heard of Ambit's founder, Kingsley Strudwick, or participated in one of Kingsley's trainings. What is consistently clear to me is that these trainings have opened eyes, minds and hearts. There is a more profound dialogue going on out there as a result and I'm hopeful that we will continue to see significant examples of diversity best practices in our community. Nothing else to say other than 'it's about time'..