You are Director at Global Butterflies & an Executive Coach. What is Global Butterflies and what does it do?

Global Butterflies is a trans & non-binary inclusion company that aims to help organisations to recruit and support trans & non-binary people in the workplace. We also help companies to provide good and respectful client services to the trans & non-binary community.

What is your background and how long have you been working for Global Butterflies?

My background is over 30 years in senior Human Resources roles in large global financial services organisations. I am an ICF qualified Executive Coach, and I am also a Trustee at the amazing LGBT international charity, The Human Dignity Trust. I transitioned 11 years ago at the Royal Bank of Scotland (who were amazing and very supportive) and I have been working at Global Butterflies on a voluntary basis for the last four years although, since February 2022, I am now working full-time as a Director at Global Butterflies.

What does your role involve?

In Global Butterflies we are a small trans & non-binary inclusion company (there are only two of us full-time) so my role is a bit of everything. I typically lead our Senior Leadership and Human Resources Trans & Non-Binary Inclusivity workshops although I am also a data geek (so I scour the world for data and information on trans & non-binary people) and have a huge passion for global trans & non-binary rights.

Your website says that you help businesses become trans and non-binary inclusive. How do you go about that?

We help organisations take their next step in trans & non-binary inclusion by working with the organisation in a non-judgemental, practical, and humorous way. Many organisations are at the start of their trans & non-binary inclusion journey so we tend to do a lot of knowledge building in these organisations whilst others, which may be more advanced, might ask us to deliver bespoke trans & non-binary workshops or to act as consultants to them.

How important do you think it is for a trans or non-binary individual to be out at work?

Personally, I think it’s very important that we can be ourselves at work. We perform better, we put more energy into being ourselves rather than hiding ourselves. For trans & non-binary people it’s their choice to decide to come out although organisations can do so much to create an inclusive culture where people can be themselves.

What challenges might a trans or non-binary individual encounter which perhaps a LGB person may not?

Trans & non-binary people face some similar as well some different challenges to LGB people when coming out. Coming out as trans & non-binary can be incredibly daunting, especially if an organisation has done very little to raise awareness and knowledge levels. For those seeking medical transition then this pathway can be long especially as the waiting lists for the Gender Identity clinics in the UK are now incredibly long. For non-binary people they have to continually come out to ensure that their identity is respected within an organisation. It can be emotionally and physically draining for trans & non-binary people to continually have to come out in their organisations.

While trans and non-binary visibility, awareness and – arguably – acceptance has increased in the past few years, what more needs to be done?

Here in the UK, I’d argue whether that we’ve seen trans & non-binary acceptance move forward. Yes, we are seeing more visibility although we’ve seen legislative, political and media acceptance (especially news articles) “at best” keep our rights and acceptance static. ILGA Europe now places the UK as 11th for LGBTQ+ rights out of 49 European Countries. Recently we’ve seen the Council of Europe call out the UK as a country of concern for LGBTQ+ rights. Organisations totally get the fact that trans & non-binary people are brilliant and are part of their inclusion strategy. Workplaces are doing amazing work to make trans & non-binary people feel more accepted. Across the LGBTQ+ community we have amazing allies although we’ve seen some prominent LGB people and organisations be very negative towards the trans & non-binary community. We need to be better allies to each other and understand that there is considerable intersectionality between us all.

How important are allies to a trans or non-binary person?

Allies are super important to trans & non-binary people. We have a saying that there is a time for allies to stand behind trans & non-binary people to promote them and let them speak, there’s a time for allies to stand alongside trans & non-binary people, and there are times for allies to stand in front of trans & non-binary people to protect them.

We are increasingly seeing correspondents use their personal pronouns in Their emails. How important is this?

Pronouns are important as they validate who we are. A great ally thing to do is for you to put your pronouns on your email signature and on your social media profiles. It’s a simple thing to do and can act a positive sign that you are OK with this and that you support trans & non-binary people.

On a personal or professional level what is the achievement of which you are the proudest?

On a personal level my proudest achievement was marrying my amazing wife, Rachel Reese, last year. She is my soul mate, and we had an awesome day surrounded by everyone we love. I am also incredibly proud of the work we do at Global Butterflies. We have fabulous clients, and we donate much of our time and money to LGBTQ+ causes, both here in the UK and around the world.