Equality and Diversity Policy

Policy is applicable to: This policy applies to all staff, volunteers and directors.

Approved: 28th August 2022

Review: 28th August 2023

Policy Statement

TransActual is committed to working towards a world where all people can go about their lives safely and with dignity. As an essential part of that, we recognise the need to adopt positive policies to take account of past and present discrimination against certain groups and individuals in society, and to comply with the terms of the Equality Act 2010 (amalgamating previous legislation) & all other equality relevant legislation not covered by the Equality Act.

We aim for our organisation to be truly representative of all sections of the trans community and for everyone who comes into contact with TransActual to feel respected.

TransActual recognises that the provision of equality and diversity work in the workplace is good management practice and that equality, diversity and equity focused work creates an environment in which our team members can thrive.

The TransActual Equality and Diversity policy will help everyone involved the organisation to develop their full potential which will be utilised fully to help TransActual achieve our goals.

TransActual take a zero tolerance approach to all forms of discrimination, harassment, bullying and victimisation.

Our policy’s purpose

This policy’s purpose is to:

1. Provide equality, fairness and respect for all in our employment, whether paid or unpaid, temporary, part-time or full-time.

2. Not discriminate because of the Equality Act 2010 protected characteristics of:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage or civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race (including colour, nationality, and ethnic or national origin)
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

TransActual recognises that the Equality Act 2010 provides a baseline of minimum protections, however TransActual will also not discriminate on the basis of the characteristics of:

  • class
  • intersex status
  • gender expression
  • gender identity

We recognise the intersectional nature that discrimination takes, and will ensure that all staff, volunteers and directors are protected from it during their work for TransActual.

3.      Oppose and avoid all forms of discrimination. This includes in:

  • dealing with grievances and discipline
    • For example, ensuring that no member of staff, volunteer, director or member of the public is taken less seriously in their complaint because of their ethnicity, disability, age, faith, gender, or any other factor.
  • our conduct within meetings and in our public facing work
    • For example, challenging racist language or microaggressions that occur during a meeting.
  • selection for employment, promotion, training or other developmental opportunities
    • For example, not disadvantaging disabled applicants due to inaccessible recruitment processes.
  • terms and conditions of employment (including pay and benefits, parental leave and requests for flexible working)
    • For example, offering the same level of parental leave to staff members of all genders.
  • dismissal of staff or volunteers
    • For example, ensuring that the same standards of behaviour are expected from all staff and volunteers and that, the consequences for any breach of the code of conduct are the same for everyone regardless of their ethnicity, disability, age, faith, gender, or any other factor.

Types of discrimination

Direct discrimination – when someone is treated unfairly because of a certain characteristic (or combination of characteristics).

Indirect discrimination – when there are rules or arrangements that apply to a group of people, but in practice are less fair to a people with a certain characteristic (or combination of characteristics).

Discrimination by association – when someone is treated unfairly because of a  characteristic of someone they know or are associated with.

Discrimination relating to sexual or romantic orientation – discrimination based on a person’s actual or perceived romantic or sexual attraction (or lack of attraction) to others, or because of a person’s association with someone with a particular LGBQ+ identity.

Examples:

  • An asexual person hearing a volunteer on our stall at pride saying ‘asexuals just need a higher dose of hormones, that’ll fix it’.
  • A member of staff joking in a meeting that all bi people are indecisive.
  • A gay man is asked not to bring his partner to a TransActual social event, despite heterosexual team members being able to bring their partners.

Discrimination relating to gender identity or gender expression – discrimination based on a person’s actual or perceived gender or gender expression, or because of a person’s association with someone of a particular gender or with a particular gender expression.

Examples:

  • When volunteers are asked to help with website development, only applications are considered from women because of a perception that women know more about tech and programming.
  • A non-binary person being consistently misgendered in meetings.
  • A director being told to ‘make more effort to look feminine’ for a TV appearance.
  • A non-binary person being told ‘you don’t look non-binary to me’.

Transphobic discrimination – discrimination based on a person’s actual or perceived trans and/or non-binary identity, or because of a person’s association with someone of a particular gender or with a particular trans and/or non-binary identity.

It is a misconception that trans people cannot be transphobic. Transphobia in the trans community occurs when:

  • Non-binary people are told they don’t count as trans
  • People are told that they’re not ‘a real man’ or ‘a real woman’ unless they follow a specific pathway of medical transition
  • Non-binary people experience discrimination because they are non-binary rather than being a man or woman

Discrimination relating to age – discrimination based on a person’s actual or perceived age, or because of a person’s association with someone of a particular age.

Examples:

  • A job application is rejected on the basis that ‘she’ll be retiring in a couple of years anyway’.
  • People under 30 are given fewer opportunities to speak in meetings than those over 30.

Discrimination relating to disability, chronic illness or neurodivergence – discrimination based on a person’s actual or perceived disability, chronic illness or form of neurodivergence, or because of a person’s association with someone with a disability, chronic illness or form of neurodivergence.

Examples:

  • A job application from an autistic person is treated less favourably than an allistic (not autistic) person’s application because of an incorrect perception that autistic people are harder to line manage.
  • An in person event is held in an upstairs meeting room with no wheelchair access.
  • In an online meeting, the collaboration tools used are inaccessible to people using a screen reader and no alternative way to contribute is offered.
  • A request for flexible working from a member of staff with a chronic illness is rejected because ‘everyone gets a bit tired, they just need to deal with it’.

Discrimination relating to ethnicity – discrimination based on a person’s actual or perceived ethnic origin, or because of a person’s association with someone of a particular ethnic origin.

Examples:

  • A volunteer of South Asian heritage is made to feel uncomfortable in a meeting when another volunteer says ‘my doctor is Asian, so of course he’s unsupportive’.
  • A Black member of staff is given fewer development opportunities than a white member of staff.
  • Incidents of Black People and People of Colour being given fewer opportunities to speak in meetings than white people are.

Discrimination relating to faith or belief – discrimination based on a person’s actual or perceived faith or belief, or because of a person’s association with someone with a particular faith or belief.

Examples:

  • A volunteer is asked not to wear their hijab during meetings.
  • A member of the public overhears a member of the TransActual team say ‘Christians can’t be trusted’.
  • The dietary requirements of Jewish workshop participants are consistently ignored, although the needs of Hindu participants are catered for.

An important note in relation to faith and belief: The freedom to hold a particular faith or belief is not the same as being free to act in a discriminatory manner. TransActual do not tolerate discriminatory behaviour, including that which stems from a particular belief system.

Discrimination based on multiple factors: discrimination based on a multiple parts of a person’s identity or perceived identity, or because of a person’s association with someone with a particular combination of identities.

Examples:

  • A lesbian trans woman is told she shouldn’t do TV interviews because she ‘reinforces the stereotypes’.
  • A Black disabled person is told ‘just get on with it, I thought you’d be able to cope with the pain anyway’.
  • A volunteer on a pride stall is overheard saying ‘These Muslim trans people need to pick a side – you can’t be both’.

Our commitments to each other and to the community

TransActual commits to:

1.     Encourage equality, diversity and inclusion in our organisation.

2. Create a working environment free of bullying, harassment, victimisation and discrimination, promoting dignity and respect for all, and where individual differences and the contributions of all staff, volunteers and directors are recognised and valued.

This commitment includes informing all staff, volunteers and directors about their rights and responsibilities under the equality and diversity policy.

All team members should conduct themselves in a manner that helps TransActual provide equal opportunities in employment, and prevent bullying, harassment, victimisation and discrimination.

All staff, volunteers and directors should understand they, as well as TransActual, can be held liable for acts of bullying, harassment, victimisation and discrimination, in the course of their work for TransActual, against fellow employees, customers, suppliers and the public.

3. Take seriously complaints of bullying, harassment, victimisation and discrimination by staff, volunteers, directors (whether this takes place online or in person).

Such acts will be dealt with as misconduct under the organisation’s grievance and/or disciplinary procedures, and appropriate action will be taken. Particularly serious complaints could amount to gross misconduct and lead to dismissal without notice.

Further, sexual harassment may amount to both an employment rights matter and a criminal matter, such as in sexual assault allegations. In addition, harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 – which is not limited to circumstances where harassment relates to a protected characteristic – is a criminal offence.

4. Make opportunities for training, development and progress available to all staff and volunteers, who will be helped and encouraged to develop their full potential, so their talents and resources can be fully utilised to benefit TransActual’s work for the community.

5. Make decisions concerning staff and volunteers based on merit (apart from in any necessary and limited exemptions and exceptions allowed under the Equality Act).

6. Review employment practices and procedures when necessary to ensure fairness, and also update them and the policy to take account of changes in the law.

7. Monitor the make-up of the team (both paid and voluntary) regarding information such as age, gender, ethnic background, sexual or romantic orientation, religion or belief, and disability in encouraging equality, diversity and inclusion, and in meeting the aims and commitments set out in the equality and diversity policy.

Monitoring will also include assessing how the equality and diversity policy is working in practice, reviewing it annually, and considering and taking action to address any issues.

8. Ensure that our work is anti-racist and that an intersectional approach is embedded in all that we do.

9. Actively involve people of colour, people of all genders (and none), and disabled people in planning our work and making decisions.

10. Conduct ongoing community engagement work to ensure that we hear as many trans people’s voices as possible.

Responsibilities

All TransActual staff, volunteers and directors have a responsibility to adhere to this policy.

The Director of Operations is responsible for the implementation, monitoring and review of this policy and is held accountable for doing so by the board of directors.

Sharing this policy

This policy is available to staff, volunteers, directors and the wider community on the TransActual website.

Our disciplinary and grievance procedures

Details of TransActual’s grievance and disciplinary policies and procedures can be obtained from the Director of Operations, the Chair of Directors, or found in the Policy Folder on the TransActual shared drive.

These policies include details of the person with whom an employee, volunteer, director should raise a grievance – usually the Director of Operations. If the grievance relates to the Director of Operations, the grievance should be typically raised with the Chair of Directors.

Use of the organisation’s grievance or disciplinary procedures does not affect an employee’s right to make a claim to an employment tribunal within three months of the alleged discrimination.

Further sources of information and support

In relation to employment:

ACAS

Citizens Advice

Stonewall

In relation to mental health and wellbeing:

CliniQ

LGBT Foundation

LGBT Health and Wellbeing

Mindline Trans+

Spectra 

Switchboard LGBT+

TRUK Listens