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New guidelines launched to promote the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people in sport

Originally published by Sport Australia, 13 June 2019

 

Sport and human rights leaders are encouraging all Australians to “stand for inclusivity”, launching new guidelines that promote the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people in sport.

National Guidelines for the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people in sport were launched in Melbourne today. The Guidelines were developed by the Australian Human Rights Commission in partnership with Sport Australia and the Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports (COMPPS).

The Guidelines provide information on the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) and guidance on creating and promoting inclusive environments in sport. Sport Australia CEO Kate Palmer said the simplest approach was to “put people first”.

“Sport must be safe and inclusive for all because every Australian has the fundamental right to enjoy the wonderful benefits of sport and physical activity,” Palmer said. “Sport Australia stands for inclusivity and we want every person in Australian sport to stand with us.

“Research tells us gender diverse people, particularly young people, want to engage more in sport and physical activity but often face or fear peer rejection. Let’s ensure sport is a welcoming place that helps. Let sport be an example for broader society, showing how we can positively influence community connections and a better future.

“It must take strong, proactive leadership to stand up against any attitudes or behaviours that lead to discrimination in sport, so I urge every sporting organisation to use this resource as a guide to make your sport more inclusive. But it’s not just up to our sport leaders, every single person involved in Australian sport can play an important part in being more inclusive.”

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins said the Australian Human Rights Commission consulted with a broad range of sporting stakeholders, including transgender and gender diverse participants across a variety of sports and competition levels to develop the guidelines.

“Unfortunately transgender and gender diverse people are sometimes excluded from sport or experience discrimination and sexual harassment when they do participate,” Jenkins said.

“While some reported positive experiences of inclusion, others described how they had been excluded from the sports they loved because of their sex or gender identity. Some spoke of disengaging from sport during their transition journey because of their concern about how their team mates would treat them.

“I look forward to sporting organisations using these Guidelines to take steps to encourage the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people in their sport.”

COMPPS represents some of Australia’s biggest sports, including 9 million participants and 16,000 clubs. COMPPS spokesperson Craig Tiley urged all sports to engage with the guidelines.

“We are proud to be involved in the development of these guidelines, but these are just words on pages until we, as sport leaders, implement them and bring them to life,” Tiley said.

“As custodians for our sports, we all need to embrace and promote the importance of diversity and inclusion so that sport better represents individuals, communities and Australia as a whole.”

Representing LGBTI sport charity, Proud 2 Play, outreach manager and sporting participant Bowie Stover says the Guidelines are a positive step towards the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people in the wider sporting community.

“As a non-binary athlete and having worked with numerous sporting clubs and codes over the past few years, I’ve experienced first-hand the many positive outcomes that occur when clubs actively show support for their trans and gender diverse participants,” Stover said.

“It benefits not only the trans and gender diverse community involved as players, volunteers and spectators, but also helps the clubs and all sports as whole, in creating a diverse and safe sporting environment for everybody.

“I encourage sporting clubs and bodies to adopt these guidelines in order to help ensure trans and gender diverse inclusion in their sports is proactive and that everyone is supported when joining their clubs, regardless of their sex or gender identity.”

The Guidelines can be accessed at: www.sportaus.gov.au/transgender

Running shoes in bright colours

About us

Sport Australia is the Australian Government’s lead agency for sport and physical activity. Our vision is for Australia to be the world’s most active sporting nation, known for its integrity, sporting success and world-leading sport industry.

The Australian Human Rights Commission is an independent statutory organisation, established by an act of Federal Parliament. It is Australia’s national human rights institution. We protect and promote human rights in Australia and internationally.

The Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports (COMPPS) comprises Australian Football league, Cricket Australia, Football Federation Australia, National Rugby League, Netball Australia, Rugby Australia and Tennis Australia. The role of COMPPS is to provide a collective response on behalf of its member sports where their interests are aligned.

Microsoft celebrates Pride, takes action for equity and visibility

 |   Chris Capossela – Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer

 

Fifty years ago, on June 28, LGBTQI+ patrons and allies at New York City’s Stonewall Inn stood up for justice demanding an equal life free of persecution. This year, as more than 4,000 Microsoft employees march in Pride parades in more than 60 cities and 30 countries around the world, we invite you to join us in pushing inclusion forward.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, we’re taking action for equity by donating to LGBTQI+ nonprofits. Plus, we’re releasing limited-edition products designed with and by the LGBTQI+ community.

 

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Microsoft has a history of LGBTQI+ inclusion

For us, Pride is an opportunity to reflect on our past and galvanize for action. We started our inclusion journey early in the company’s history, introducing sexual orientation in our non-discrimination policies in 1989. In 1993, we were one of the first companies in the world to offer employee benefits to same-sex domestic partners. In 2004, we added gender identity to our Equal Employment Opportunity statement and started providing gender affirming healthcare services. Since 2005, Microsoft has attained a top  score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index, which indicates that Microsoft is establishing and applying policies to protect the LGBTQI+ community.

Our journey is just beginning

Today, Microsoft operates in over 120 countries, most of which still don’t provide legal protections for LGBTQI+ individuals. This year, Microsoft’s Pride campaign is all about the actions that our employees and customers are taking to advance inclusion. GLEAM (Global LGBTQI+ Employees and Allies at Microsoft), our LGBTQI+ resource group, worked with many of our teams to develop products to create visibility into the LGBTQI+ community.

In designing this year’s Pride campaign, LGBTQI+ designers and allies at Microsoft reflected on the LGBTQI+ rights movement of the 1970s. Dozens of LGBTQI+ community members and their allies submitted designs for campaign buttons displaying everything from personal statements to political slogans. These buttons reflect actions that people at Microsoft are taking and are encouraging others to take.

Microsoft is releasing all the button designs as a downloadable archive so everyone can use them, add to them and share their Pride with everyone, wherever they are.

Several Pride-related buttons

For the first time, we’ve also created limited-edition products and curated content to show our continued support for the LGBTQI+ community.

  • Surface – Inspired by the rich and varied tapestry of the LGBTQI+ community, make a more colorful impact with the limited-edition Surface Pro Pride Type Cover and Pride Skin available in the US, Canada, Australia, and the U.K. (only Type Cover).

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  • Windows PrideWindows – This Windows 10 special-edition theme was inspired by the many LGBTQI+ flags. Download the Windows Pride theme pack from the Microsoft Store.
  • Mixer – Discover Pride on Mixer with dedicated streams from select partners, unique stickers, and exclusive programs. Tune in on June 30th to live stream the Seattle Pride Parade!
  • Bing – Learn more about Stonewall on Bing with uniquely curated content featuring LGBTQI+ Bing Prideactivismdating back to 1969 with this quiz. And see Pride take over the Bing homepage in select countries around the world.
  • Office – Show your Pride colors with the exclusive Office theme and unique Pride templates for PowerPoint.
  • Skype – Celebrate Pride with Skype’s new LGBTQI+ flag emoticons, stickers, and more.
  • Xbox – Show your colors and celebrate your love of gaming with the Xbox Pride Sphere Pin available at xbox.com.Xbox Pride
  • Microsoft Rewards – Support LGBTQI+ youth in crisis by donating to The Trevor Project in June, and we’ll match it. Not a Microsoft Rewards member? Join today and we’ll give you $1 free to donate.
  • Microsoft Store – Visit your local Microsoft Store to take part in a Pride celebration, march with us, or learn more at educational workshops, events, and other activities.

Actions speak louder than words!

We’re donating $100,000 to the following nonprofits in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, and the United States to celebrate and support their work on LGBTQI+ equity:

  • Established in 1985, ACON is Australia’s largest health promotion organization specializing in HIV prevention, HIV support and LGBTQ health.
  • Egale works to improve the lives of LGBTQI2S people in Canada and to enhance the global response to LGBTQI2S issues. They do this by informing public policy, inspiring cultural change, and promoting human rights and inclusion.
  • Mermaids is the only U.K.-wide charity working to support transgender or gender non-conforming children, young people, and their families. Their goal is to create a world where gender-diverse children and young people can be themselves and thrive. Mermaids promotes education and awareness, and offers information, support, friendship and shared experiences to those in need.
  •  The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning young people under 25.

We’re also happy to announce that LGBTQI+ nonprofit, Destination Tomorrow, was awarded a grant from the Microsoft Store to support their inclusion efforts for people of color. See what happened when we took action to help them thrive.

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We invite everyone to join us in taking action for equality. Microsoft Pride 2019 products launch today! Follow along with our stories all month and learn more about actions you can take for equality by joining the social conversation using #MicrosoftPride.

New benchmarking tool to assess LGBTI inclusion amongst health and wellbeing providers launches

A new benchmarking tool launched by leading LGBTI inclusion initiative, Pride Inclusion Programs, now provides health and wellbeing organisations the opportunity to assess, measure and improve their practices to better include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in their services.

The Health + Wellbeing Equality Index is Australia’s first instrument to annually benchmark LGBTI inclusive service provision amongst organisations in the health, human services and wellbeing sectors. The index is administered by Pride in Health + Wellbeing, a national program that provides support, training and guidance in LGBTI inclusive service delivery. Pride in Health + Wellbeing is part of Pride Inclusion Programs, a suite of social inclusion initiatives delivered by Australia’s leading LGBTI health organisation, ACON.

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said the Health + Wellbeing Equality Index will be an important resource for health and wellbeing service providers across Australia.

“With significant health disparities between LGBTI and non-LGBTI people and issues many LGBTI people experience in accessing important and critical health services such as perceived or previously experienced stigma, discrimination, harassment or refusal of service, this index is an instrumental tool for service providers as they seek to be more inclusive of all Australians,” Mr Parkhill said.

“We are proud to announce the launch of this index, which builds on ACON’s decades-long experience in LGBTI health and wellbeing. This instrument, in addition to our Pride in Health + Wellbeing support program, will provide a much-needed resource for those seeking to ensure full inclusivity of LGBTI people within the services and programs that they offer and will assist providers in working towards the Rainbow Tick accreditation if that is their ultimate goal,” Mr Parkhill said.

Participation will give service providers clear guidelines on getting started or on progressing their work in LGBTI inclusive service provision, as well as an opportunity to survey both staff and service users regardless of how they identify going forward.

The Health + Wellbeing Equality Index builds on from Pride Inclusion Programs’ benchmarking instruments, the Pride in Sport Index and the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI).

Dawn Hough, Director of ACON’s Pride Inclusion Programs, said just as the AWEI has been instrumental in shifting practices in LGBTI inclusion in workplaces across Australia, the Health + Wellbeing Equality Index will be critical in improving health and wellbeing service provision.

“The feedback provided as a result of participation will allow health and wellbeing providers to not only focus their inclusion work in areas of good practice, but also determine annually what they need to do to improve,” Ms Hough said.

“As index participation grows, the benchmarking data will provide a valuable reference in terms of current best practice as well as both qualitative and quantitative data to show improvements in their service provision.”

Participants to the index do not need to be a member of the Pride in Health + Wellbeing support program to take part. Submissions can be made online and close Friday 8 March 5pm.

More than one in ten LGB workers in Regional Australia bullied in the workplace: Study

The survey also found that 13 per cent of gender diverse employees experienced ‘very high’ or ‘high’ levels of anxiety when applying for jobs.

Almost ten per cent of lesbian, gay, and bisexual workers in regional Australia have reported experiencing casual homophobia in the workplace, and almost 12 per cent have been bullied, according to a new study.

The 2018 Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) Employee Survey was conducted by Pride in Diversity, ACON’s not-for-profit support program for LGBTI workplace inclusion.

This year, more than 23,000 surveys were completed by employees working at 89 different organisations. Of the respondents, 3,709 identified as LGBTI.

“LGBTI employees want diverse workplaces where they feel included and supported – it isn’t only a moral imperative, it’s also just good business,” Chief Executive of ACON, Nicolas Parkhill, said.

“Fear of abuse or discrimination forces many LGBTI people to hide their sexual orientation or gender identity when they access health and well being services, in many cases leading to an increase in anxiety or depression.

“The work Pride in Diversity does in helping businesses as well as employees create more diverse and productive workplaces, is making real and substantial cultural change within Australian workplaces.”

The survey found that one in ten non-LGBTI employees believed LGBTI inclusion at work was no longer necessary following marriage equality, with only 73 per cent agreeing that it was.

Comparatively, a major 91 per cent of LGBTI respondents indicated that there was still much to be done in supporting inclusion and diversity at work.

More than 13 per cent of gender diverse employees said they experienced ‘very high’ or ‘high’ levels of anxiety during the recruitment process.

And while 60 per cent of gay men felt that inclusion initiatives had a positive impact on how they felt about their sexual identity, only 52 per cent of lesbians felt the same way.

“Even with some recent successes in achieving LGBTI rights, there is still a tremendous amount of work to do,” Director of ACON’s Pride Inclusion Programs, Dawn Hough, said.

“It is important that in all aspects of Australian working life we have businesses comprising of leaders, advocates, and allies who know the importance of LGBTI inclusion.”

The full results of the 2018 AWEI Employee Survey can be found here.

Related story: ‘Only 32 per cent of LGBTI people are out to everyone at work: study’

Star Observer, 24 August 2018

Engineering has an LGBTQ+ representation problem – here’s how to fix it

Much attention has been paid to the gender disparity in engineering, but the subject of LGBTQ+ representation is less dominant in public discourse.

recent study of more than 4000 STEM students across 78 different US-based institutions found LGBTQ+ students were almost 10 per cent more likely to not complete their degrees than heterosexual students, even when  accounting for other external factors.

The report, conducted by researchers from the University of Montana, echoes a similar study completed in 2017 by researchers from University of Minnesota and California State University, where survey results from 1400 LGBTQ+ professionals working in STEM-based roles were less likely to have come out to their work colleagues compared to other industries.

The disparity was particularly striking in engineering, where the majority of participants were open about their LGBTQ+ identity in their personal lives but not in their professional ones.

LGBTQ in STEMSTEM professionals rate their openness about LGBTQ+ identities in different contexts, from 0 (no one knows) to 5 (everyone knows). (Image: Barres, Montague-Hellen and Yoder)

“An invisible community”

While most research in this area has come out of the US, similar problems exist in Australia. Members of Gay and Lesbian Engineers at Monash University (GLEAM) have not noted a direct correlation between dropout rates and LGBTQ+ identity at their university, but remained unsurprised by the results of these studies.

“It’s no surprise that LGBTQ+ students are less likely to complete their degrees, and there are many reasons for this, whether it be discrimination, social exclusion or mental health issues commonly attributed to the queer community,” they said.

Members of GLEAM emphasised that although there is no competition between LGBTQ+ representation in STEM and women’s participation in STEM (“we are all in the same boat”), members of GLEAM noted many organisations have gender diversity goals but do not have similar mechanisms to increase LGBTQ+ representation.

Mark Latchford, associate director of Australian not-for-profit Pride in Diversity, said the success of one minority is often beneficial for all minority groups.

“Engineering firms and universities have done a remarkable job in trying to balance out gender within the engineering profession – this is a parallel journey. Often an organisation that is seen to be proactive in LGBTQ+ inclusion, for example at campus recruiting fairs, are seen by straight women as being inclusive for women as well,” he said.

However, he too noted that there are some elements of increasing representation of LGBTQ+ employees and students that require specific frameworks.

“There are some nuances about the LGBTQ+ community that are a little different from others, in the sense that is often an invisible community,” Latchford said.

“Someone walks into a room and usually – not 100 per cent, but usually – you know it’s one gender or the other. Someone has an Indigenous background, sometimes that is obvious. Someone is disabled, sometimes that is obvious. LGBTQ+ is often, if you like, an invisible community of diversity.”

Mentorship is key

Researchers from the University of Montana found mentorship, where possible, was a key factor in retaining LGBTQ+ students in STEM subjects at the university level.

“One factor that has shown to make a difference in retention for both LGBTQ+ and STEM students is mentoring and support from faculty. For sexual minority students, LGBTQ+ faculty and staff serve as confidants and sources of support, especially for students who feel incredibly uncomfortable disclosing information about their sexual orientation to others,” researchers said.

However, mentorship opportunities can be hard to come by.

“LGBTQ+ faculty in STEM also report encountering a hostile climate similar to their students,” the researchers said, “and thus many feel a need to keep information about their sexual orientations private.”

Latchford has observed this trend in Australian workplaces.

“It’s important to understand what not being ‘out’ at work really means,” he said.

“Sometimes people say, ‘What’s their private life got anything to do with the workplace?’. But there’s been a lot of research that shows people who are not out in the workforce spend a lot of time distracted in the workforce. They build up a persona that they think suits their work environment, which is very different to their real life.

“If we can develop an inclusive workplace, which is free of poor behaviour, is supported by good practices and good policy, it will allow us to attract LGBTQ+ talent, keep LGBTQ+ talent, and make sure that talent is really doing their best for the task at hand.”

GLEAM is working to combat this at a university level by creating environments for LGBTQ+ students to create support networks among themselves, as well as professional connections with LGBTQ+ professionals within the industry through a series of meet and greets.

“The premise of the industry nights involves organising representatives from various firms in Melbourne to come and speak about their work and experiences they have regarding being a queer person in a business environment,” they said.

“Much like a panel discussion, club members are given the opportunity to build communication with people employed in various positions. These are done to gain perspective on the working environment for a queer person and also to network with people for future employment opportunities.”

Students also cited the need for training policies within the workplace.

“There are trainings available in nearly every university to become an LGBTQ+ ‘Ally’. They involve teaching the recipient about appropriate social behaviour, homophobia, heterosexism and the issues faced daily by an LGBTQ+ person,” members of GLEAM said.

“[We want] to see these trainings extended to the engineering profession to avoid any discriminatory behaviour and to promote a safe work environment.”

Pride in Diversity is already working to accomplish this, offering training specifically for organisations.

“We do provide professional support, which could be training for frontline managers, training for recruiting, training for executives and so forth. We do policy and practice reviews, making sure that leave policies, partner benefits, all these sorts of things are appropriate,” Latchford said.

“We also provide very specific support, for example if someone transitions, we provide help for the individual, for peers, as well as management during that process.”

The future

Researchers noted that fostering an environment for greater inclusion in STEM is in the best interests of the industry as a whole, citing the need for a larger pool of talent.

But it’s hard to be what you can’t see. Recent projects like 500 Queer Scientists are working to tackle the issue of visibility by creating forums for LGBTQ+ STEM professionals to share their stories and encourage others within these fields.

A snapshot of some of the stories on 500 Queer Scientists. The website wants to create a community of support for LGBTQ+ professionals in STEM fields.

Representation at the top also matters. Deloitte and Google recently announced Australia’s Outstanding 50 LGBTI Leaders, which included many inspiring people working in medicine and tech. However, engineering was noticeably absent, suggesting the cultural shift that is starting to take place in other industries is yet to fully take hold in engineering.

“It will be a great asset if everyone is ultimately accepted and included within the STEM community. Talent and an internal passion for the STEM studies does not discriminate against sex, gender or sexuality,” members of GLEAM said.

“It grants a wider diversity of opinion towards any problem faced by a firm, company or team, which will in turn lead to a far more stable solution. To revolutionise the future with new technologies and innovation, talent from across the spectrum should feel welcome to offer new ideas and solutions in the STEM industries that it could greatly benefit from.”

Credit: Create Digital is powered by Engineers Australia
Author: Mikaela Dery
Mikaela Dery is a staff writer and recent philosophy graduate. Her thesis looked at the ethical implications of AI and its potential as a force for good. She is now only a little bit scared that robots will take over the world.

A Mental Health Check

Dawn Hough

Source: This article was featured in the Australian Institute of Company Director’s magazine, December 2016- January 2017 edition, authored by Domini Stuart.

Untreated mental health disorders costs Australian employers $10.9 billion each year. Domini Stuart explains why now is the time for boards to address mental health issues in the workplace.

In the Australian Institute of Company Director’s magazine, (December 2016- January 2017 edition), Pride Inclusion Programs Director Dawn Hough explains the need for creating a workplace culture where “whoever you are – you can come into work and get on with your job.” Dawn’s excerpt from the article is below and to download the full article, please click here.

The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) demographic is vulnerable to heightened stress and anxiety at work as a result of what academics refer to as an “invisible stigmatised identity” – an identity an individual may choose to conceal for fear of stigmatisation. This requires specific attention from the board.

“The stereotypes some people hold about the way in which LGBTI people act, speak and look are only true for a very small percentage of the community. The majority of LGBTI people have the ability to hide their identity at work,” says Dawn Hough, director of Pride in Diversity, a workplace inclusion initiative of ACON, which was set up specifically to improve the mental health and wellbeing of LGBTI employees through the reduction of discrimination, bullying, harassment and homophobia within Australian workplaces.

“We’re talking about workplace behaviour creating a culture where whoever you are – you can come into work and get on with your job.”  “Unless there are very clear visual cues of LGBTI inclusion, there is a risk that they will stay closeted for fear of negative repercussions on their workplace relationships and their career. This is not good for their mental health or well being, nor is it good for business in terms of productivity, engagement, authenticity and morale.”

The fear of being “found out” is a relentless pressure. “At work, you’re surrounded by people who can talk freely about their weekends, their weddings and the birth of their children – but when LGBTI people are asked about these things they face a constant dilemma,” Hough continues. “Do you lie? Avoid the subject? Or tell the truth and risk potentially damaging consequences? When this dilemma is at the forefront of your mind every single moment of your working life, it’s no surprise if it has a negative effect on your mental health.”

The LGBTI community suffers particularly high levels of suicide ideation, depression and other manifestations of poor mental health. Constantly feeling stigmatised can also lead to the use of drugs and alcohol as mechanisms for coping.

“There are consequences of exclusion,” says Hough. “LGBTI people will only feel safe enough to be themselves if inclusivity is genuine and clearly visible. People at a high level in an organisation often tell us that their company is LGBTI inclusive and that they don’t see any evidence of harassment or bullying, but it can be a very different story down on the ground. And chances are they also don’t see anyone who openly identifies as LGBTI either. Given that this demographic constitutes between seven and 10 per cent of the workforce, we would assume that, in this case, a lot of people in the organisation are in hiding. The question is why?”

Boards need to understand what inclusion means and the positive impact it has on the business as well as the health of LGBTI employees. “We’re not talking about taking a political stance or trying to change people’s values or beliefs,” says Hough. “We’re talking about workplace behaviour – creating a culture where whoever you are, you can come into work and get on with your job and be respected for who you are. Personal authenticity is a valued leadership trait; it’s something we should all be encouraging.”

As part of her job, Hough talks to boards about the challenges that LGBTI people face and what needs to be on the agenda. “We start by looking at where you are
now and what you can change,” she says.

“For example, your policies need to make it crystal clear that when you talk about families, you’re including same sex families; when you talk about partners you include same sex partners; and that parental leave applies to same sex parents. If inclusivity is not spelled out, LGBTI people will, by default, read themselves out of it.”

When LGBTI people join an organisation they scan for signs of inclusivity. “They’re looking for people who are out and comfortable, and also a network of peers,” Hough says. “Having a group of people you can talk openly to and feel safe with is important for all diversity groups, not just LGBTI.”