Why inclusion matters?
Pride takes place throughout June. On the 50th anniversary of the first pride march in the UK it’s time to celebrate the progress made for the LGBTQ+ community. Here at Tom Owen and Son, we are changing the logos on our social media to feature the Pride flag. However this is not just an aesthetic change, we are committed to being an inclusive employer and funeral director that serves all communities.
Pride month takes a positive stand against discrimination and the ill-treatment of those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ). And, it raises awareness of diversity and inclusion in all walks of society.
Society has come a long way since the ’50s and ’60s, and, for the most part, many workplaces are supportive of LGBTQ+ employees. However, there is still some work to do to ensure that any discrimination is removed once and for all. Stonewall have published new research that shows the UK public is four times more likely to feel positively towards LGBT people than they are negatively. Homo/bi/transphobia is now restricted to a tiny, intolerant minority.
Changing to the pride logo
We have changed our logos on social media to feature the Pride flag throughout June. To some, changing a logo will be seen as a signal that there is an inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ people however some will see this as ‘pink washing’ (where a brand seeks to improve their reputation by associating with the community yet not actually providing any real support). At Tom Owen and Son, we want to ensure that the changing of our logo accompanies changes we have made as a company throughout the year and isn’t just an aesthetic change.
Tom Owen and Son may not be able to address the large-scale changes needed in our society, particularly for trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming individuals in our community but we can help in a small way to our clients and colleagues as an ally.
Initiatives Tom Owen and Son has implemented over the last year to be more inclusive
Normalising the use of pronouns in work
As a company that works with both people and businesses, we believe that allowing others to communicate their pronouns in advance is important. We encourage colleagues to add their pronouns to their email signature as an act of allyship.
Advocating for the LGBTQ+ community
As a business, we advocate the whole community with updated policies that reflect Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. We have attended training courses and webinars to help ensure how we provide our services will positively impact the communities we serve. This isn’t a box ticking exercise. We want to ensure no-one feels left out, discriminated against, passed over for promotion, or singled-out because of their sexual orientation, age, ethnicity, beliefs, or their marital or parental status.
Allyship to the LGBTQ+ community
We have joined an NAFD Pride group as an ally. In addition we are signed up to the mailing list for Stonewall, so we can be kept up to date and sign any pledges including the recent Take Pride in standing up for LGBTQ+ rights.
Providing a workplace of pride
An inclusive workplace where LGBTQ+ people can be their true selves and fulfil their potential is important, however this isn’t always the case for many. According to Stonewall research:
- Almost one in five LGBT staff (18%) have been the target of negative comments or conduct from work colleagues in the last year because they're LGBT;
- One in eight trans people (12%) have been physically attacked by customers or colleagues in the last year because of being trans; and
- One in eight LGB people wouldn’t feel confident reporting homophobic or biphobic bullying to their employer.
Being an inclusive Funeral Director
For the LGBTQ+ community, thinking about death and bereavement can trigger some unique anxieties. At Tom Owen and Son, we know this is the last thing anyone needs to be worrying about when organising a funeral. We have undergone training and read reports (including the fantastic Making Informed Choices when Planning a funeral guide by Ash Hayhurst) and research, to ensure that we can provide the best possible service to those organising a funeral service. You can also download a copy of the guide here.
Some family members may not have been aware of or accepted the deceased’s sexual orientation or gender identity. There are many LGBTQ+ people who have experienced intolerance within their community and may not have felt comfortable to reveal this information. Our role is to ensure that the deceased’s wishes are carried out as they wish. We will always assume that no one knew so we don’t unintentionally ‘out’ you. Funerals can be listed as private events if needed.
We will ensure that you are dressed as you wish to be, in clothes that are appropriate for your gender identity. We will help ensure the deceased person is dressed in clothes that are not ‘gender conforming’ if they wish. We can also help you or on your behalf paint the nails or style the hair of the person that has died.
We will ensure that your wishes are maintained, as an impartial intermediary, if you discuss them with us beforehand or make reference to them in your will or funeral plan. This can help ensure that the deceased doesn’t have to worry about any family members changing their plans with their own opinions.
We will ensure that your identity is honoured. That you are empowered to have a funeral that is befitting of you. We understand that some family members may not have been aware of or accept the deceased’s gender identity or sexual orientation.