Friday, March 09, 2018

It Is The Little Things…

That makes a difference, like the use of pronouns.
How Philly organizations tweaked their email signatures - and transformed their culture
Philly Inquirer
by Samantha Melamed
March 2, 2018

There are few things more mundane than an office email signature. But in December, the Philadelphia organization Gearing Up made a minor tweak to its digital protocol — with a surprisingly transformative impact.

It was an addition of just a few words, right below the sender’s name but above the job title: a line declaring the author’s preferred pronouns.

“Lately, with people talking about gender so much, we realized that policy wasn’t quite as clear or accepting as we needed it to be,” said program director Al Sharrock (whose preferred pronouns are they/them/their).

And, though subtle, the change is working for Gearing Up, an exercise program for those recovering from addiction.

“For people who are nervous about whether they’ll be accepted in our space, it has brought them out of their shells,” Sharrock said. “I would imagine everyone else doesn’t really notice it. But the people who need it are seeing it.”
If you go to the waiting room for the dentist of the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective you will find LGBT magazine, on the forms there is a place for preferred pronouns, and preferred name along with “legal name,” yes you would expect to find that there but you also will find the same thing at my diabetes endo office.

However, it is not in most of my other doctor’s offices.

It is the little things like that and maybe having just a safe space sticker can make a difference and the West Hartford Jewish Family Services is making the difference, they will be the first organization who will have trained their staff to be LGBT friendly. Their staff has taken “Getting It Right” training that is giving by Connecticut Community Care.

The organization that I’m the Executive Directors is a member of the LGBT Aging Advocacy that guided CCC in developing the training program to make sure that they got it right. Which by the way is where I am at this afternoon… a meeting of the LGBT Aging Advocacy.

LGBT Aging Advocacy is also responsible in the Moveable Senior Center where a town senior center has a LGBT day at their centers one day a month at a different senior center.

Update 4:20 PM

At the meeting we heard how a social worker that had a “safe space” symbol on her name tag was at a client’s home when the client spied the “safe space” triangle, came out to the social worker and reintroduced her “friend” as her wife.

We can make a difference!

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