My name is Ellie Lowther – charity founder, creator of the first trans-specific safe house in the UK, and the only binary trans finalist from 28,000 nominations in last year’s National Diversity Awards for the Positive Role Model category for LGBTQ.
I am also the founder of Essential Learning Curve Ltd, and an all-round diversity ninja!
The above terms are all labels that have been given to me, but the labels I choose for myself, and the ones I am most proud of, are those of Nanna and Parent (yes I am still proud to be my children’s Dad), regardless of my trans status.
It’s interesting to see what labels are put on people in order to categorise us. Often in life, we feel the need to put a label on people who we don’t understand, and then that person becomes nothing more than the label they are given.
When we look at the trans issue in our society, there seems to be a defined, rigid perspective on the validity of our existence; though this taps into the concept of tolerance being the imposter of acceptance.
The only time we need labels is when we have to identify something, and this approach may work well for pots of jam, but when we look at fellow humans we really need to up our game and try to understand each other more.
As a society, I feel we are making progress, but it is a long old road.
The third week of November is Trans Awareness Week.
This is a week when trans people and their allies bring attention to the community by educating the public about who transgender people are – sharing stories and experiences, and informing the public about the issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence that the transgender community are affected by.
Transgender Day of Remembrance was first held on November 20, 1998, following the murder of Rita Hester, a trans African-American woman in Massachusetts. Trans activist Gwendolyn Smith then arranged for the first formal Transgender Day of Remembrance to be held the following year. Organised by volunteers from the trans community, it has since grown into a global commemoration. Vigils are held to mark the day, and the full list of victim’s names is read at events all across the world.
I create an audio resource each year for organisations to use at their events, and I am happy to email it out to anyone who is holding a TDoR event. If you’d like to receive a copy, simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Who Does ‘Diversity’ Include?
If I were to ask you what percentage of your hometown is ‘diverse’, what would your answer be?
It’s a very subjective question, which is kind of the point!
I often ask this question when I am travelling around the country delivering sessions on this very subject. The fact of the matter is (and this tends to surprise people), YOU are the only ‘normal’ person in the world.
From your own perspective, everyone else is different to you in some way. Everyone reacts differently to the events which befall them, and sees the world from their own unique viewpoint.
This realisation informs people that, in fact, everyone is diverse!
Therefore, diversity includes everyone, and it means no-one is excluded due to their differences.
Generation For Change
I had a team of National Citizen Service graduates on my radio show one morning, and I was shocked when an amazing young person asked me why the older generation calls them the ‘snowflake’ generation simply because they care about each other.
This was one of the most profound things I had heard in a conversation, and it told me that within ten to fifteen years a lot of the hatred that divides us will no longer exist.
This is because Gen X is not having it!
The world is changing, and each day is a step towards that place of inclusion for all. But until every one of us is free to be our true selves, we will never create the safer, more inclusive world which benefits us all.
Each month, I will be addressing a topic related to a protected characteristic, as defined by the Equality Act 2010. Hopefully, this will generate positive discussions and raise awareness of the issues which affect our marginalised communities.
Please feel free to reach out to me if you have an issue relating to diversity that you would like me to cover. By talking about these issues, we enable others to think, speak out, and act for social change.
You can find my audio series on Equality and Diversity at: