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Reflections on Beyond the Binary: Exploring the spectrum of gender identity and gender expression, Deloitte and Alexander Mann Solutions inclusion event

by Aimee de Carcenac

Senior Manager, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant 4th Jul 2018

We are still reflecting on the extremely popular and high energy event that was Beyond the Binary. It was an event designed to create a safe space to explore the spectrum of gender identity and gender expression, that brought diverse perspective and increased understanding on what is an extremely relevant topic of our time. We had a fantastic line up of speakers and panellists - Mae Martin, the British-Canadian writer and stand-up comedian headlined, Emma Codd, the Deloitte Managing Partner of Talent opened the evening and expertly facilitated the panel discussion. Our brilliant panellists included Pips Bunce, Credit Suisse Director, Leng Montgomery, Sainsbury's Diversity & Inclusion Executive, Amanda McKay, Balfour Beatty Quality Director, and Paige Horton, Citi HR Analyst who all kept the audience connected and enlightened on what can only be described as a fascinating topic of our time.

3 May post (3)

The whole concept of gender identity and assumptions around how this relates (or doesn’t) to gender expression and sexual orientation is being increasingly challenged by the language that we use and the next generations who are paving the way for a more inclusive future. While transgender stories are becoming more visible in the media, to both positive and negative affect, there is a whole spectrum of identities under the trans* umbrella that falls outside of the two culturally accepted binary genders. Deloitte and Alexander Mann Solutions used this event to explore the breadth of identities and experiences of trans*, gender variant and gender non-conforming individuals with the hope of breaking open myths, challenging stereotypes and learning how to best support trans* inclusion in the workplace.

The night was in summary inspirational – it felt like a real privilege to hear first hand the authentic experiences, impressions and realities from individuals all along the spectrum and to open up the dialogue. The audience left with a much more comprehensive view of the breadth of gender identify and expression outside of the binary constructs society has so deeply embedded. So much of the audience left as allies, with some visible commitments made to ongoing education, commitment to driving trans inclusion cultures in their own workplaces, standing up to instances of transphobia and moments of mistaken misgendering, commitments to be less assumptive, ask questions and think more deeply about the automatic use of pronouns and mindless boxing of individuals into gendered stereotypes.

Reflections on Beyond the Binary: Exploring the spectrum of gender identity and gender expression, Deloitte and Alexander Mann Solutions inclusion event

8MaypostThere is something so uplifting about being surrounded by beautiful diversity, about being amongst people challenging their own assumptions and opening their minds. At events like these we all start to understand the depth of our unique difference as individuals, as humans. Gender isn’t the first category we should look to impose on people in an effort to simplify our understanding of the world. We all want to feel safe to be exactly who we are, and the very best version of that, wherever we might be on a spectrum.

15 May postWe were thrilled to be oversubscribed on the evening of the Beyond the Binary, standing room only when the Deloitte auditorium was full. Almost 200 people from 70+ organisations gathered in this room. We think the popularity of the event is telling. Trans inclusion and gender identity are topics of rapidly growing interest and awareness, particularly as the next generations enter the workforce and pave the way for a more inclusive future. Our goal was to deliver an educational, funny, and inspiring exploration of the identities and experiences of trans, gender variant and gender non-conforming people. We dispelled myths, we challenged stereotypes and we hopefully equipped attendees with some tools to help drive trans inclusion at work.

16 May postIt was an inspirational event flavoured with some informative “Genderbread Person” cookies. We are all about “edible insight” on the night.  We sought to clarify the difference between gender identity, expression, and biological sex. It is worth seeking some clarity on these concepts to avoid falling into overly simplified black and white binary gender assumptions and automatic stereotyping that restrict our view of the individuals around us.


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