13 July 2017

Owl blogs: Our interaction with HR departments and Pride staff at ITV

Blogged by Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir (Owl), My Genderation, All About Trans Advisor and facilitator

Since February, All About Trans has been busy planning and hosting two media training courses for trans and non-binary people. Therefore, we were excited that on 29th June 2017, a long planned interaction was also held with the Human Resources department at ITV and ITV Pride committee members.

Participants share meaningful items

A group of 11 trans and non-binary people, all with different experiences and knowledge of trans inclusion policies, met with 12 senior staff from the organisation and talked about topics related to trans inclusion in the workplace and how to support trans people at ITV.

How to support trans people working at ITV and being proactive

Something highlighted during the interaction was the importance of having policies in place for ITV staff who are trans, and how best to support them before, through and after their social and/or medical transition.

It was clear that HR staff need to be proactive and have solutions and policies already in place before people come out as trans or join the organisation. That way, trans people will feel that they are entering a safe working environment and know that they will be supported in line with the policy.

“It felt like ITV is committed to working on their policy and are taking steps in the right direction” – All About Trans participant

More than just a trans person

Conversations between participants at ITV

When it comes down to trans representation, it’s important to actively involve trans people in all stages of production and not just on screen. We need to tell realistic and engaging stories of different trans people and avoid falling into tired tropes or reinforcing misconceptions about trans people and their lives.

At the interaction, we talked about involving trans and non-binary writers and consultants more often when creating media, and why it is important to have trans actors playing trans roles. But what was also pointed out is how trans people can play roles that aren’t necessarily trans and how they can contribute to the storyline and diversity in different ways.

“It was an excellent experience and felt really empowering to be able to actively be a part of an important discussion for change.” – All About Trans participant

Role models, language and terminology

Talking language and terminology

Seeing the right language and terminology used throughout your place of work and having trans people supported and represented in a positive light is immensely powerful.

Before the meet-up, all ITV participants received resources about trans language and terminology. During the interaction we delved deeper into those issues and asked why it is important to have the right terms.

We also discussed the importance of having role models, both as on-screen and also as a part of the workforce. Trans people are such a diverse group with all sorts of backgrounds; being able to reflect this with a wide range of people within ITV is important.

“We’ve all got a role to play to cause change – it’s not just down to one person. Working together, there’s so much we achieve.” – Katie Blaseby, ITV Diversity and Inclusion Manager

It is an ongoing conversation

Group photo with all participants

As with all interactions, the meet-up offered all the participants a chance to come to the table and discuss matters that are important for trans people and their inclusion. The conversations had during this interaction will be a start of ongoing dialogue with ITV and has helped HR and Pride members on their journey to continue making ITV a more trans inclusive workplace and environment for the future. ITV staff are developing their Transitioning at Work policy which is expected to be launched later in the year and upcoming events will involve trans guest speakers. They are exploring how to capture their trans and non-binary audience and colleague population and are exploring how they can increase trans awareness across ITV soaps.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop, meeting people who were so generous with their time to help us understand how we can support transgender individuals at ITV. I learned an incredible amount in a short space of time and was particularly shocked at how inappropriate some of their experiences were. Our aim is to be as inclusive and welcoming as other organisations and make everyone’s experience at ITV a positive and supportive one.” – Trish Brady, Head of HR ITV Studios.

We’d like to thank all of the ITV staff for supporting and participating in the interaction. Thanks also to the players of the Postcode Lottery, who supported this event and the media training courses in June through the Postcode Lottery Trust.

All About Trans