At the d&i Leaders conference on Thursday I was introduced to the concept of “When in Rome; Embassy; Advocate” principles of how companies work in places where there is limited LGBT+ acceptance, or indeed where being your authentic self is a crime.
Previously I’ve been speaking with various Universities about creating self selected LGBT+ flats within their student accommodation and the discussion came up again at our most recent Chrysalis training.
But why do we need safe bases? What really is a safe space?
Are you familiar with attachment theory? That knowledge that we all need a place of safety, a place where we know we are accepted. Once we have that safe base, be that from our family; our friends (adopted family); our Chrysalis support group; or our work colleagues we can go out and explore the world. We have resilience to ride out some of the storms, deal with those places where we are not accepted and in the end we grow and develop and find our own way. We become secure in ourselves, in our identity and in our way of being.
But it’s not enough to have just a safe base. It’s not enough to create an embassy where the rules of fairness, acceptance and inclusion are followed unless we are aware that for many people stepping outside that safe base is dangerous and that we as individuals, as companies, as organisations continue to work to make space safe. To drive forward this idea that actually everyone should be included. Everyone’s authentic self should be respected and that yes it really is OK to #BeKind
Look out for your diverse colleagues, be aware that sometimes they may have had to deal with abuse, with a lack of acceptance when they went outside the embassy. Be the best person you can possibly be and it’s amazing how many people you’ll take with you on that journey.
So yes last week was one of many events, much networking and many talks. So many ideas bouncing around this head, coming soon to a blog near you if I can get the words out right! What else did I learn at the d&i Leaders conference? That statistics should be referenced; everyone is covering something; there’s some amazing people out there working in all industries to make safe bases and safe spaces and eventually we all hope that we’ll make space safe.
The other thing I learnt is that we need to bring our allies into the networks, to celebrate and include them. To make our best efforts to not alienate people by finding the places where we disagree but rather to look towards those places where we have shared experiences, places of connection. Watch this space, or sign up for our Working with trans clients training to come and find out more.
This week is mainly administration, and another training session at the University of Southampton on Thursday
It’s also the first week of March and so all our Trans and Questioning Support Groups are running. Thanks to our great facilitators and teams who give so much of their time, energy and expertise to making those safe bases.
The office move has gone according to plan, the fairies have been and organised the offices so if you want to contact us then please drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07823 504306 between 9:30am and 3pm Monday to Friday