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East Ayrshire marks Transgender Day of Remembrance with launch of new policy

East Ayrshire Council marked this year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance with the adoption of a new policy, “Supporting Trans Employees in the Workplace” which outlines all aspects of how the organisation supports Trans people to enable them to perform comfortably in their workplace, free from constraints or discrimination.

The policy, written in accordance with legislation from the Equality Act 2010 and the Gender Recognition Act 2004, is written in an easy to follow style and includes checklists for both Trans employees and their managers to make sure everyone understands what is expected and what it is possible to achieve in the workplace. The new policy is the next step in a rolling programme of seminars and awareness raising initiatives. It seeks to ensure no Transgender person, whether working for the council or coming into contact with council employees, suffers the kind of discrimination and harm which led to the establishment of Transgender Day of Remembrance. The remembrance day was set up following the 1998 murder of Rita Hester, a highly visible member of the Transgender community in Boston, USA who worked to educate the public about transgender issues. The day was set up in 1999 by advocate and writer Gwendolyn Ann Smith, who held a vigil in Rita’s honour. It commemorated her and many others whose lives have been lost due to anti-transgender violence. It is now celebrated worldwide on 20 November. In East Ayrshire, the new policy recognises and values the diverse talents, skills, experience and perspectives that exist within society and believes that those qualities should be reflected within the composition of its workforce, employment practices and in the planning and delivery of its services. Katie Kelly, Depute Chief Executive, East Ayrshire Council says: “The adoption of this policy sets in stone our responsibilities as employers and service providers. It’s our duty to make sure that no one is discriminated against or disadvantaged while at work or delivering a service, and this policy makes it clear what we all have to know, think about and take into consideration when conducting our business for the council. Many of our employees have already taken part in a series of workshops which aim to foster greater understanding and consideration of the issues faced by Trans people. It’s good to have this policy in place which we can all refer to and abide by to help bring out the very best in our workforce for the wider benefit of the community as a whole.” View the policy Transgender Day of Remembrance

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