A profile on Jacqui Gavin, a leading transgender rights campaigner, who as vice-chair of a:gender, the Civil Service transgender staff network, is working towards creating a more inclusive Civil Service.
A long-standing transgender rights campaigner and highly respected civil servant, Jacqui Gavin is someone who gets things done. She is a natural leader and wherever she goes, she inspires, educates and challenges outmoded assumptions.
Having joined the Civil Service 9 years ago, Jacqui has lived and worked through wide-ranging changes in the service, both in terms of human resources and the daily workplace culture.
As the current Vice-Chair of a:gender, the Civil Service staff network, Jacqui gets to support staff in government Departments or Agencies who have changed or need to change permanently their perceived gender, or who identify as intersex.
A key part of her role is working alongside the Civil Service management to ensure that policies, procedures and working practices are evolving at the right pace. A good example of this is the work that has gone into refreshing the Civil Service Talent Action Plan.
Recent austerity measures have actually brought benefits for the transgender community within the Civil Service. The narrowing of the public purse has brought with it a step change in attitudes from colleagues of all grades and a dawning realistion that if everyone works together (cross-diversity strands and head office functions), much more progress can be made.
The old, inflexible ‘computer says no’ attitude has now gone and across the service Departments and Agencies are genuinely working together and are actively engaged in dialogue about how to move things forward. There is far more collaboration and the old silos are breaking down.
What Jacqui Gavin brings to the table is a determination for lasting change. Her watchwords are authenticity – being your true yourself – and understanding – of the world in which we live and the people around us.
If she had a magic wand, Jacqui would use it to take people’s fear away. The fear is two-fold: the fear that transgender people have about not being themselves at work (and at home) and the fear that male or female colleagues continue to express about working alongside their transgender colleagues.
At the end of last year the House of Commons Women & Equalities Committee published their first report into Transgender Equality. We may have made a lot of progress towards transgender equality, but the initial findings suggest we still have a long way to go.
Some (not all) of the barriers that transgender people encounter at work are commonly experienced by other minority groups, so it makes sense that by working together and sharing best practice, we can learn and evolve together. With greater trans confidence, we will have greater workplace inclusion – and equality – and Jacqui Gavin is leading the way.
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