Transgender Awareness Week 2023
Last week David and Sam were in Lisbon with Rhona. They had plans to capture content at a networking party, related to Transgender Awareness Week. In the end they found themselves having a conversation that lasted most of the evening. On reflection, it was the best use of the time. At the end, each agreed to write a short piece reflecting on the comments made during that talk.
If you’re a member of the transgender community, or the broader queer community, Nash Pride exists as a group to support you. For more information please contact Megan.Johnson@nashsquared.com
Rhona Carmichael - Nash Squared’s Chief Commercial Officer
I was lucky enough to attend Web Summit in Lisbon last week, and the highlight of the trip turned out to be getting to know a few of my colleagues a little better. I used to be the Exec sponsor of Nash Squared’s NASHpride Employee Resource Group, so I knew one of them a bit, and was aware they are transgender. In getting to know them last week, I found out they are kind and thoughtful: as a fellow introvert at one of the world’s largest tech conferences, we’d meet up every few hours for some quiet time whilst we both re-charged.
We had some interesting chats about their perspective as a Gen Z’r and whether it really is harder now than when I started my career. We had some great work chats and over dinner they learnt more about me as well. I was a bit nervous about how my sister’s stay this weekend would go (she has Down Syndrome and unfortunately also now has the cruel double whammy of pretty severe early onset Alzheimer’s), which has now influenced me to join our newest ERG, NASHability.
We were just two colleagues with lots to learn about each other and plenty to talk about. I am not someone to post on every “day’” for the LinkedIn likes, but this Trans Day of Remembrance I wanted to show my solidarity with my colleague and new work friend. I truly believe most of us are just trying to make our way through life with compassion and kindness, we all have our own things we try to deal with the best we can.
Sam Bailey - Marketing Analyst at Nash Squared
Around 4 years ago I ‘came out’ as a transgender man. I had no idea what that was going to mean for my life moving forward. I wasn’t sure if it would be easier, more difficult, if I would be able to live safely. I didn’t know what was to come, all I knew is that it was no longer a choice, it was a matter of just being.
Last week I attended Web Summit in Lisbon where I spent some really great quality time getting to know my colleagues. I work remotely and rarely see or spend time with many people around the company, so it was really nice to have a couple of nights over drinks and tapas with a couple of now friends and we got chatting about Transgender Awareness Week.
I explained in these chats that my ‘transness’ after these years has become less and less of my personality. I remember back in 2019/2020 it used to monopolise every waking moment. I used to stress about how I looked, what people thought of me, whether my voice was high, whether I looked ‘manly’ enough. I don’t remember when this shifted, but I find myself these days leaving the house, meeting up with friends, travelling the world, and never having even one of those thoughts.
I fully understand this is a huge privilege. I am a cis-passing trans man with a cis-passing femme partner so for all accounts I look pretty ‘conventional’ to most and that keeps me safe; it also means I rarely need to worry about how I am perceived anymore. Although this is great, I always like to have conversations with people about why it's important to hold onto your identity.
Despite passing, I still transparently identify as a queer trans man. I am proud of it. My colleague said to me, “you are trans, but you are also kind, fun and outgoing, there’s so much more to you”, and that is so sweet and true. It can all exist together. Being trans isn’t all of it; trans people, like all of us, are fun, spontaneous, interesting, beautiful, understanding, and transgender, and I think we are all really starting to appreciate that, and that’s pretty cool.
David Savage - Nash Squared’s Group Technology Evangelist
At the end of last week I found myself having a discussion about the queer and trans community with two colleagues. I will state now, I am an ally who is always learning; this is not my lived experience.
Why were we having the discussion? Last week was Transgender Awareness Week, and today (at the time of writing) is Transgender Day of Remembrance. Right now, with ‘culture wars’ raging, the trans community is frequently under attack. In many ways they are and it’s crucial to support and speak up on their behalf.
But also I feel the culture wars mask a far kinder reality. My Dad is trans and transitioned over 20 years ago. No one cares, no one talks about it, all I ever see towards my Dad is love, friendliness and community. They live in rural France, and have lived in rural Northern England, two places I don’t think you’d (unfortunately) envisage when thinking of forward-thinking, tolerant areas. But in my family's experience people just want to live life and enjoy each other's company.
The hate, and rhetoric, is coming from a small but noisy and troubling source. But I only think they’re shouting so loudly because they’re increasingly out-of-step. Our role is to stand firm and stand by our trans family and friends, and give them the support to live their lives like any other member of society does without a second thought.