In the last few years there has been a reform in the way that people talk, consider and approach gender. There is still a very long way to go in terms of rights and awareness but in an effort to encourage acceptance, Brighton & Hove City Council have introduced ‘#MyPronounsAre’ badges for all staff members and partner organisation staff. The badges are part of a campaign to raise awareness of trans and non-binary people to mark Trans Day of Visibility on 31 March.
There is no pressure on any staff member to take part in the scheme but the hope is to normalise and create a discussion around the alternatives to ‘she/her’ and ‘he/him’. Between 2012-2014, trans motivated hate crimes increased by 54% and at the time was the largest increase seen in recorded police offences across all hate crime. Those statistics to do not take into account unreported attacks or harassment. Whilst Brighton & Hove have only had a very small number of hate crimes reported over the last few years, the level of acceptance varies within communities and the City Council’s scheme hopes to normalise the process of clarifying pronouns.
The trans and non-binary community was identified as a vulnerable group following the city’s Trans Needs Assessment and the introduction of the Trans Equality Scrutiny Group. The group and assessment highlighted the need to remove stigma and build relationships, within their own community and the wider Brighton as a whole.
Councillor Emma Daniels who is Chair of the Neighbourhoods, Inclusion, Communities & Equality Committee said “We all define our own gender and we should respect other people’s identities, and rights. Now there is more freedom and safety to be ourselves. But there’s still more to do. Who a person is may not match what you expect and may not be defined easily. If someone’s pronouns differ from what you assume, it’s for you to adapt and it’s okay to ask. We’re proud of being a diverse city, and the council is committed to equality and inclusion for all people including our trans and non-binary residents. Read the badge, respect people, it’s that easy.”
The campaign has been put together by the council with support and involvement from local LGBT+ community groups such as the Clare Project and Trans Alliance, the council’s LGBT Workers Forum, local NHS trusts, the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex.
There are six badges to choose from, ‘she/her/hers’, ‘he/him/his’, ‘they/their/theirs’, ‘Please use my name’, ‘#MyPronounsAre’ and a blank badge for the wearer to fill in. The badges are being made available to council staff as well as members of the public on Monday 26 March. If you would like a badge, they are available at Jubilee Library, Hove Library, Brighton Town Hall and Hove Town Hall.