Why I Joined Certified Proud

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Why I Joined Certified Proud
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Diversity, equality and inclusion are some of my core values and beliefs. For me, this isn’t a tick box exercise, a nice to have or a token turn of phrase.  For me, it’s fundamental. It’s why I joined Certified Proud.

As a starting point, I take a very broad brush stoke approach towards people, namely:

Are you a nice person or are you not? 

If you are not, I am learning, both mentally and emotionally to open a door and let people that I don’t vibe with, don’t trust or simply believe to be toxic, to keep on walking through the door.  I don’t need them in my life. I don’t want them in my life.  Life is too short to be dealing with crappy people.

What Matters To Me

And why do I point this out?  Well I don’t care about your colour, your faith, your sexuality, your education, your wealth, your title, your status…but I do care that you are a nice person, with a can-do attitude, with dreams and aspirations and that you want to make a difference.  If this is the case, then I want to welcome you into my world!

With that in mind, I recently joined a group called Certified Proud. Have you heard of them? If not, I encourage you to reach out to its Founder, Liam Redmond.

All About Certified Proud

Liam established Certified Proud in 2020 to work with businessess who truly want to foster, nurture and establish diverse, equal and inclusive working environments. The organisation’s goal is to create a collective of safe spaces so that members of the LGBTQ+ community can live a life free from discrimination and unease.

They accomplish these goals through a variety of ways:

  • Educational courses – more details below
  • Updating handbooks and HR policies to ensure inclusive practices and use of terminology
  • Consultating with organisations and businesses to create inclusive workplaces

For many people and many businesses, there is a tendancy to colour wash or pink wash.  As an example, June is PRIDE month, so many businesses change their logos or put up an image of a rainbow.  Great if it’s part of an overall strategy of education and it’s done with intention and meaning, but if it’s a token, it achieves nothing and has absolutely no value.  The LGBTQ+ community needs to know that they will be accepted and supported 365 days a year. As Certified Proud puts it:

Being Proud Isn’t Just for Pride.

I’ll say straight off that I don’t understand all the terminology around the LGBTQ+ community. I don’t know what I don’t know. I don’t know what my own unconscious biases are, so this is why I joined Certified Proud. I want to learn. I want to become aware. I want to know how I can best help and support the LGBTQ+ community as I meet them and learn how to deal with challenges or opportunities as they arise. I want to educate myself.  I’m accountable to my values and it’s up to me to learn, so I can do better.

So when I came across the instagram posting for Certified Proud, I was intrigued. I reached out, had a conversation…then multiple conversations. I read their guidelines and it was simply a no-brainer to get involved.   Supporting LGBTQ+ rights is not just for Christmas, it’s not just for June – it’s a forever perspective and philosophy. It’s a forever point of view.

Did You Know?

  • That 41% of LGBTQ+ people hide their gender or sexuality at work? They fear retribution or that career progression will be impacted.
  • That people in the LGBTQ+ community are not out to everyone, that they don’t just come out once?
  • That terminology matters?
  • That there are 17 different cohorts, that are currently known of how people identify themselves (hence the LGBTQ+ abbreviation)
  • That asking people what pronouns they prefer implies that being LGBTQ+ is a choice.
  • That the purchasing power of the LGBTQ+ community is €495 million per year in Ireland alone and that they are more likely to spend their money with businesses who show allegiance and acceptance.

The Certified Proud Principles

There are 7 principles, known as The Certified Proud Principles.  You can view and print off the page here to read them: Poster Page – The Certified Proud Principles

They are:

  1. Respect
  2. Equality
  3. Inclusivity
  4. Advocacy
  5. Commitment
  6. Safety
  7. Visibility

What Else Can You and I Do to Support the LGBTQ+ Community?

Here are just a few ideas from the team at Certified Proud.

  1. Use Your Privilege

Use your privilege as a heterosexual/ cisgender ally to speak up for LGBTQ+ issues and rights whenever and wherever you can. Write letters to editors, participate in marches, lend support to LGBTQ+ groups at work and in your community.

2. Use Your Voice

Interrupt anti-LGBTQ+ jokes, comments or any other behaviours that make homophobia and transphobia appear acceptable.

3. Use Your Ears

Listen to what LGBTQ+ people are saying – face-to-face, on your social media feed or in the articles you read. It’s not about you, your feelings or opinions; it’s about hearing theirs.

4. Use Your Brain

Seek out books, articles, films, etc. about the history and current issues facing LGBTQ+ communities, and attend workshops and training.

5. Use Your Influence

Introduce your colleagues and management to Certified Proud to ensure a year-round experience of tackling LGBTQ+ discrimination.

Get Educated

Types of training available with Certified Proud are:

  1. LGBTQ+ 101
  2. Allyship
  3. Pronouns
  4. Trans Inclusivity
  5. LGBTQ+ & The Workplace
  6. LGBTQ+ & Society
Any of the courses can be enquired about here.

What’s the Deal With Pronouns?

You’d have to be living under a rock not to have noticed people with him/his, she/her etc after people’s names. So I thought I’d take a moment to share what this means and why it matters.

Firstly, it’s a subtle way of supporting the LGBTQ+ community.  Pronouns are words that people use to refer to others and they are used to replace nouns such as names, e.g.

Jean went to the shop to buy herself new shoes.

By using the pronouns he or she, you automatically make an assumption on a person’s gender based on how they look.  If a person presents themselves in a masculine manner, it does not mean that the person’s gender identity is male.

By being addressed by the incorrect pronouns, we can appear insensitive and insulting to another person.  This is particularly jarring for people who are transgender or in the process of transitioning.  Using the correct pronouns is a mark of respect and it reduces the adverse effects of social oppression.

Ultimately by being aware of pronouns, and using them, we collectively raise our conscious awareness and this helps reduce our unconscious biases. By affirming a person’s pronouns and by extension, their identity, it has been proven to lower depression and raise self-esteem.  It helps make others feel comfortable with their external appearance and their gender identity.

By sharing our own pronouns, we can help break gender stereotypes and normalise the conversation about gender. It also helps to signal that you are an ally of the LGBTQ+ community and it helps put people at ease when they are around you.

A great place to update your details is on Linkedin and here’s how to do it:

  1. Click on your profile page
  2. Click on the pen symbol on the right of the page to edit your details
  3. A pronoun drop-down box will appear under your name
  4. Click on the pronouns you identify with
  5. Click ‘save’.

Other Ways to Share Pronouns

  • In conversation
  • Your email signature
  • Your social media accounts
  • Your Zoom name

One Person, One Organisation At A Time

I am one person. I am one person who is willing to learn and do better. I am educating myself continously to ensure I am being sensitive, compassionate, inclusive and when I build up my company and my team, I will hire and manage my business with these principles in mind.

For my small part, I have introduced the team at Certified Proud to different companies and people who I feel would benefit from being a part of the community, to supporting a more inclusive, diverse and equal world.

For my small part, I can lead and show leadership.  I have young kids and I will do my utmost to ensure that they are sensitive and compassionate to all human beings.  This is a role I have to play and a role I embrace whole-heartedly.

Getting Social With Certified Proud

Their website is here.  The organisation is on Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, and Facebook.

Their podcast here linked here and the blog is here.

In a recent Think Business podcast interview, Liam Redmond and Eve Kerton spoke about their partnership with Huckletree who have begun an overhaul of their policies and procedures in their workspaces in Dublin, London and Manchester in order to create safe and inclusive work environments.  You can listen to the interview here: Think Business podcast

The Bród Awards

Certified Proud will run their first awards ceremony in 2021 to honour the members who have gone above and beyond to create safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community to work, shop and live.  You can keep up to date with all the details here.

Become a Certified Proud Member

If you’d like to get involved with Certified Proud, I would be honoured to make an introduction to the team, or you can email Donya Anvari or Eve Kerton directly to find out more.  There are company and indivudual memberships.

Why not show your support and join the other Certified Proud Members in helping grow and build an inclusive, diverse and equal society.  You can sign up here to start the process.

 


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