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Holly Smith: LGBTQ+ training at Birkett Long

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Last week, Birkett Long received LGBTQ+ Awareness Training at our Colchester office. This training was provided by Tracy Martinez who works for Outhouse East, a local charity dedicated to offering support and information with regard to the LGBTQ+ community.

I considered myself to have a good understanding of the different issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community. However, I found I learnt invaluable information during the session which increased my knowledge and awareness tenfold.

One of the main areas touched upon in the session was the differences between gender identity, sexuality, biological sex and gender expression. In particular the many variations of these elements and how they collaborate to make a person who they are. I learnt that I am Cisgender, which means that my gender identity matches my biological sex; I was born a female and consider myself to be a female.

The focus then turned to the history and the barriers faced by the LGBTQ+ community. Whilst it was distressing to hear the struggles that so many people have faced, and continue to face, it was inspiring to hear the progress which has been made over the years. This also highlighted the progress which we are yet to make and what changes are still required to create a truly equal society.

The training focused on barriers which gave me an insight into the elements of day to day life, which could make an individual who may be struggling with their sexuality or gender identity feel isolated. It shone a light on how binary our society is. Such an attitude to new or existing clients could unknowingly cause offence, thereby discouraging them to continue a relationship with the firm. Therefore, using the correct terminology is crucial, and we were supplied with a glossary of key terms to assist us.

Being within a customer-centred industry, how my colleagues and I engage with our clients is of the utmost importance. As such, I consider it crucial that more and more firms undertake such training to be aware of the issues that their current and potential clients face.

As mentioned, this training session was provided by Outhouse East. Their mission is to develop and promote a sustainable, fair and equal society where all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people can achieve their full potential.

Find out more about Outhouse East and the services they provide.