Developing a workplace culture that is inclusive of non-binary and gender diverse people means having practical measures in place to ensure employees are comfortable and protected at work. You need to to be equitable about all the arrangements and processes you have. It is not enough to have a policy stating it is your aim – it is our daily interactions with people and the environment that changes culture and transforms it into something inclusive. Some practical things you can do at minimal cost:
- Accept gender-neutral titles (provide a blank text field and have an option to leave this unrecorded).
- Have non-binary gender options on all forms/records (have a blank field option and an option to leave this unrecorded).
- Have inclusive dress codes and pronoun badges available.
- Have gender neutral bathrooms/toilets available.
- Use gender-neutral language in all documents/policies/communications.
- Ensure non-binary people can access time off for medical treatment and make sure the questions are not intrusive. Some non-binary people do undergo medical treatments and this should be respected.
- It is good practice at meetings to ask people what their pronouns are, rather than assuming them, so that the onus is not placed on the non-binary person to correct everyone or challenge the ‘norm’
Remember, all information related to a person’s non-binary status is sensitive information and should not be shared with anyone without the person’s consent.
If you have staff networks, ensure that non-binary people can have a say in how arrangements can be put in place to include them. You can run events aimed at non-binary people but ensure that you have knowledgeable people to provide input because in general, LGB and T understanding of non-binary people is generally low.
Generic equality and diversity policies don’t convey much about the organisation culture and operations. This is because there is a tendency to view policies as documents that cover an organisation legally but have little function beyond that. They tend to be focussed on the law and the reader is not informed about what the organisation is doing to make the workplace inclusive. If you want to improve your policies and bring them to life you can do the following:
- Demonstrate your understanding of key issues faced by groups (include information on pay gaps, progression, service provision).
- Show actions you are taking to record genders correctly (including information on other measures).
- Explicitly state that you support different groups (list the different initiatives you have in place and future programmes and how you are evaluating them).
Non-binary people share many characteristics and experiences of binary people. Not all providers can offer services tailored to the non-binary community specifically. To ensure non-binary people are not excluded ensure that you give people the option to be included in single-gender services. You can do this by communicating that non-binary people are welcome and provide enough information about the service for non-binary people to assess whether the service is appropriate for them.
I have developed teaching programmes around gender identity, gender expression and inclusion of gender identities. If you require further information, do contact me.