Transgender Awareness Week 2021
Each year between 13 – 19 November, the week before Transgender Day of Remembrance on 20 November, people and organisations come together for Transgender Awareness Week to help raise visibility about transgender people and address some of the issue’s members of the community face.
Megan Rodriguez is the Chair of our Pride network, our network for LGBT+ staff and allies. We caught up with Megan to find out more about her reasons for supporting Transgender Awareness Week and the suggestions she has, to help make Berkshire Healthcare a safe place for our trans colleagues to work.
“My name is Megan Rodriguez, and I am a Queer* woman who uses she/her pronouns. I’m the Chair of the Pride Network, and part of the admin team for the Adult Mental Health Service in Maidenhead. I am a cisgender woman, and I can’t imagine how hard it is, feeling that you are living in the wrong body and dealing with dysphoria.
“According to Stonewall, almost half of trans people in Britain have attempted suicide at least once; 84 per cent have thought about it and more than half have been diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives”. I have seen first-hand, some of the difficulties and the mental health impact that being trans can have. My partner of 5 years is a trans man who, in less than a month will hopefully be starting his hormone treatment journey as part of his physical transition. He has struggled with gender dysphoria and his mental health throughout his personal life, even more so when trying to navigate the workplace. It is not surprising that Stonewall states that “one in four trans people report having been discriminated against at work”.
“We know people don’t always feel comfortable to disclose their gender identity***, so my priority as Chair is to help make this an inclusive, welcoming and safe space for all.
“Two immediate suggestions I’ll be making are the use of pronouns within email signatures and introducing unisex bathrooms. The use of pronouns means that trans people avoid having to come out multiple times. If this is adopted as normal practice by all, it will become less stigmatised.
“In A 2012 Trans Mental Health Study, over 50% of respondents said they avoided public toilets and gyms, so I believe it’s important to make sure every staff member has access to gender neutral facilities so that trans people have access to any, typically gendered, amenities they need, as well as access to a space for non-binary people that isn’t limited by sex.
“It is heart breaking to see how many trans lives are lost every year, and I hope one day, trans people can walk freely as who they are.”
* Queer is a term used by those wanting to reject specific labels of romantic orientation, sexual orientation and/or gender identity. It can also be a way of rejecting the perceived norms of the LGBT+ community (racism, sizeism, ableism etc). Although some LGBT people view the word as a slur, it was reclaimed in the late '80s by the queer community who have embraced it.
** Someone whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth or differ from it. Non-trans is also used by some people.
You can find more information about our commitments and strategies to equality, diversity, and inclusion on our website.
How we're supporting the community
Find out more about our Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (opens new browser tab)
Find out more about the Stonewall Diversity Champions Programme(opens new browser tab)
Where you can get support
Support U are a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) help and support service based in reading, servicing the Thames Valley area.
Visit Support U website (opens new browser tab)
Visit the R-Trans website (opens new browser tab)
Mental Health support
If you’re struggling with mental health or need someone to talk to
Urgent mental health support – please call 111 or contact 111 online
Visit the Samaritans website (opens new browser tab)
Call 116 123
Visit the Mindline Trans+ website (opens new browser tab)
Call 0300 330 5468