Equality, Diversity & Inclusion at King's College London

Tag: non-binary

International Non-Binary People’s Day

International Non-Binary People’s Day is marked annually on the 14th July. This coincides with Non-Binary Awareness Week which this year runs from the 11th – 17th July 2022. The aim of both occasions is to celebrate Non-Binary people globally and raise awareness of the challenges members of the community face.

Non-binary flag

What is non-binary?

The LGBT Foundation have shared the following definition: Non-binary is used to describe people who feel their gender cannot be defined within the margins of gender binary. Instead, they understand their gender in a way that goes beyond simply identifying as either a man or woman. Some non-binary people may feel comfortable within trans communities and find this is a safe space to be with others who don’t identify as cis*, but this isn’t always the case.

*Cis – ‘The word “cis” comes from a Latin word meaning “the same side.” Cisgender is a term used to describe someone whose gender has not changed from the one they were given at birth’ (LGBT Foundation).

Is non-binary new?

The short answer is no!

Non-Binary and gender nonconforming identities have existed throughout history, you just need  to know where to look. Here are some handy Historic England and Britannica articles that explore this in more detail.

What is it like being non-binary in the UK?

Leading LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall explore what it means to be non-binary in the UK today in this article.

How can I be an ally to non-binary people?

Its important that we all take steps big and small to be inclusive and supportive of one another. The charity Stonewall have created a useful list of 10 things you can do to step up and be an ally of non-binary people, you can find it here.

What are we doing to support non-binary members of the KCL community?

We have developed a toolkit full useful guidance on  how to support trans & non-binary members of our university community, we have also produced a map of the gender neutral facilities that can be found across our campuses and we have a wider LGBTQ+ inclusion resource hub, you can find all of this and more here.

We are committed to protecting the dignity of members of our university community. We want a university free of bullying, harassment, sexual misconduct and hate crime. You can find advice, support and reporting procedures on our Dignity at King’s pages.

On International Transgender Day of Visibility 2020

International Transgender Day of Visibility is celebrated annually on 31 March and is traditionally a time to celebrate transgender people around the world and the courage it takes to live openly and authentically, while also raising awareness about the discrimination trans people continue to face today. 

In light of the current and necessary social distancing measures being observed around the world in response to COVID-19, this blog brings together two statements of support for our trans and non-binary students and colleagues at King’s, as well as an update on the work we are doing to further progress trans and non-binary inclusion. In this time of global crisis, now, perhaps more than ever, is a time for us all to be especially visible in our commitment to equality for all groups in society, advocating explicitly for those most marginalised. 

While concerns about the new coronavirus infection and worries about health and the economy have dominated our thinking over the past few weeks, it is important that we continue to reflect on issues of equality, diversity and inclusion within our remarkable King’s community. Today is International Transgender Day of Visibility. Today and always, we stand in solidarity with the trans and non-binary members of our community and with transgender people across the globe. We know that trans and non-binary people often face discrimination and prejudice in society. Transphobia can sometimes make visibility feel like vulnerability. Today, and every day we say to the trans and non-binary people amongst us that we see you, we support you and we celebrate with you. I want King’s to be a fully inclusive workplace and encourage all other trans allies to be bold in your support for trans and non-binary people. We all need to be informed about the nuances of trans experiences, and challenge transphobia where we can. Please join me in supporting the King’s LGBT+ Inclusion Programme.

Professor Evelyn Welch, Provost (Arts & Sciences)

King’s is committed to ensuring all its trans staff and students are part of a supportive and inclusive work and study environment, and do not face discrimination on the grounds of their gender identity. The King’s LGBT+ Inclusion Programme aims to deliver LGBT+ equality, making King’s a better place for LGBT+ staff and students. The Programme is a key part of delivering the King’s College London Equality, Diversity & Inclusion strategy, as part of Vision 2029. As part of the Programme, we have the privilege of working in partnership with Proudly King’s, KCL’s LGBTQ+ network, implementing a range of initiatives, policy improvements, events and changes at King’s.

Transgender people are our friends, our family and our colleagues. We do not need to identify trans people to see them; instead, we have to recognise the experiences of the trans community to raise them up, acknowledge and honour them. Our aim as an LGBTQ+ network is to improve the experience of queer people at King’s and in the wider community, and International Transgender Day of Visibility raises awareness of the discrimination trans people face and presents an opportunity to celebrate trans history.

Proudly King’s see and respect our transgender colleagues, and we ask our members and the wider college to do the same. Beyond Transgender Day of Visibility, we call on our community, our senior leaders – everyone to increase the inclusion and representation of transgender people at King’s. We work to ensure equality culturally, not just legally, and International Transgender Day of Visibility reminds us that we all have much to do.

Proudly King’s (King’s College London’s LGBTQ+ Staff Network)

Today we publish updated guidance for trans and non-binary staff on making and requesting changes to King’s personal documents and records. We know that transitioning brings with it diverse challenges – from social, to medical, to legal – and want to do our best to simplify the logistical aspect of the process.

Enabled by HR Digital Services, King’s new online HR platform, staff are now able to make and request changes to their personal details themselves across King’s systems via the one system.

Once a staff member has requested or made a change of details via HR Digital Services, this information will be available for use across other systems (eg. MS Outlook) and can be used to print them a new ID card.

Staff may update their gender identity themselves and have the option to record trans and non-binary identity should they wish. We utilise national and international best practice to work towards delivering the best experience for our staff and students. That’s why we recently updated our categories for self-determination on HR Digital Services to bring them in line with Stonewall equal opportunities monitoring best practice.

Staff may contact their HR People Partner to request changes to their title (including Mx.), preferred name, legal name and sex on HR Digital Services.  Legal documentation is only required to request a change of legal name and sex however, so all staff, regardless of what documentation they possess, should know that they can be seen and known by their colleagues for the person they know themselves to be at any stage of transition.

Further information on acquiring the appropriate legal documentation is also published as part of the updated guidance today. We are working to similarly simplify the process for updating personal details at King’s for students.

For help in understanding the guidance, and any other queries related to being trans or supporting trans people at King’s, get in touch with us at diversity@kcl.ac.uk. As Stonewall Diversity Champions and Athena SWAN Bronze award holders, we are constantly learning and aiming to improve. Our ambitions reflect the feedback from the 2018 Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, 2019 Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Qlearsite Staff Survey and 2020 Athena SWAN Action Plan.

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