CEO OF GLOBAL BUTTERFLIES
RACHEL REESE IS A TRANS AMBASSADOR AND THE FOUNDER AND CEO OF GLOBAL BUTTERFLIES
You founded Global Butterflies in 2015. What is Global Butterflies?
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.
How important is a diverse and inclusive culture to the successful running of a business, particularly in relation to trans and non-binary employees?
Extremely important. We know a diverse and included workforce performs better and is more competitive compared to others that are not. Workforces are changing, 12% millennials are non-binary and for Gen Z, well, one in four may change their gender expression during their lifetime! Companies need to be ready for this or they will lose good employees and future clients.
How does one go about creating that diverse and inclusive culture?
You have to build it into your DNA, not bolt it on. E.g. Leadership, HR Teams, Managers, Client-Facing Staff, Contractors, Policies and Healthcare. You are only as good as your weakest link, look to them all. It starts at the top, actions not words, a 1% change at the top means a 100% change at the bottom.
While working in the City you transitioned your gender expression from male to female. How did your colleagues react to your transition, and did you experience any difficult situations?
Well, it was a long time ago, but my work colleagues were very good. A good transition /change in gender expression comes down to good communication, respect and a little project management. It was true 20 years ago and still is today. There were difficult situations, constantly being “outed” by some people was particularly annoying, having to educate people all the time could be exhausting.
What challenges remain and what more needs to be done in trans and non-binary acceptance and rights?
Good question. A lot more has to be done, but right now holding on to the rights that we already have is becoming a challenge. We have seen the Government, UK media and BBC actively attack the trans & non-binary community, trans women in particular based on a false narrative.
Ask any trans/non-binary person in the UK right now, and they will tell you that they live in fear. The UN has said, in a recent report, that this roll back of rights intentionally pitches women and some LGB people against the trans community and is being orchestrated by right-wing extreme groups. People need to understand that these groups want to eventually remove LGB and women’s rights also. This swing to extremism is here and now in the UK.
What has been your proudest achievement?
Marrying my wife Emma a few weeks ago LOL! However, I am really proud of the work Global Butterflies has done in just six years. We have an impressive client list and many of them are active trans and non-binary corporate allies. Global Butterflies has donated much of its time and raised money for LGBTQ+ causes, especially for GiveOut, we are very proud of that.