Blogging and Networking, Celebrant Views

Diversity and Inclusivity

proud ally

I’ve been making a lot of changes recently.

Most of them are happening in my head and in journals as I plan and learn ready to provide better services to the people I want to support.  Diversity and inclusivity are at the centre of much of what I’m trying to build.

You can see the changes coming through in the wording and content of my website.

I’ve been working heavily on the ALL LIFE CELEBRATIONS side of things.  Like I said, my aim is INCLUSIVITY and DIVERSITY.  But I don’t mean in a box ticking way.  I don’t mean just in making sure I have a few images that depict disability, race or  diverse sexual orientation and gender identification.

I mean in actually delivering, not just in words and images but in allyship (is that a word), in product availability and in provision.  I want to be a safe space for people to be their truly whole, authentic selves.  I want anyone working with me to feel truly accepted, seen and supported in all their truth.

I want my clients whole story and I want to be able to help them celebrate it. Meaningfully, wholeheartedly,  uniquely and authentically.

For me to achieve the diversity and inclusivity I want it probably means that means I need to be prepared to make mistakes, learn from them and correct myself.  And grow in the process.  It also means standing up on behalf of anyone who is being marginalised, EVEN WHEN THEY ARE NOT IN THE ROOM.

That’s why, on writing my new content, I’ve invited my friends within the LGBTQ community to feel free to comment on the language I’ve used and check if they are happy with it, would prefer to see it written differently or find any of it in any way condescending or inappropriate.  I am so grateful to those of you that have assured me of the things I have right and those who have suggested ways I might tweak it.

This year I’ve been to some pretty astounding things that have properly walked the walk and talked the talk on accessibility and inclusivity and I’ve realised how little most events, organisations and institutions really do.
Worse, is hearing of organisations that clearly only do it to tick a box and don’t actually believe in or have any intention of following through.  I heard of one (no names mentioned , if you wonder if its you then you probably have some work to do), that invited a person needing ramp access to speak on their stage.  A wheelchair would look great in their inclusivity campaign right?!  But on realising they didn’t have a ramp, thought the solution was to cancel the speaker – not get a ramp or remove the stage!

I’ve learned of so many really simple, inexpensive ways that any event can make everyone feel genuinely welcome and safer
Simple ideas like…

  •  pronoun preference badges
  • hug or not hug badges
  • urinals and no urinals signs instead of mens/womens
  • wider gaps between tables
  • quiet zones
  • captions on half the screens
  • inviting conversation and a safe space to make mistakes and learn from them

It was interesting to hear feedback from one of the few straight white men a room of 400 + people on how it was the first time he’d understood what being a minority felt like and also what inclusivity and safe space meant because he was helped to feel comfortable and included in the space despite his gender and race!

That’s how women have felt in the business world for decades.  That’s how they often still feel.  I’m one of them.  And I still realise that, as a cis white middle aged woman, that I still come at this from a position of exceptional privilege.

I’m working on it.  I’d appreciate any constructive criticism or feedback you may have.

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