VISIBILITY DAY: Northern celebrates transgender colleagues working in rail industry
|To celebrate International Transgender Day of Visibility, Northern is highlighting the stories of two of its transgender colleagues who work for one of the UK’s biggest train operators.
International Transgender Day of Visibility is dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of the discrimination they face around the world.
|Paula Bailey, Deputy depot shift manager, Liverpool
I can’t imagine having this level of support anywhere else, says Paula, who has worked at Northern for 10 years.
Paula, who is pre-operative transgender, says Northern has been supportive of her transition - and she has been instrumental in advising Northern’s transgender policy.
She says: “The support you will get from every conceivable level is unrivalled, I can truly say that hand on heart, from executive down through senior and middle management levels, from colleagues and even in dealing with other departments the respect and acceptance is absolutely second to none.”
But it's not always been easy, as Paula struggled growing up in the 1960s, when being transgender wasn’t something that was understood or accepted.
However, Paula says thankfully times have changed for the better.
Skye Howard, Train presentation leader, Preston
It was just last year that Skye told her family and friends she identified as a trans woman and ‘took the first step to being who I am’.
She says she now feels much more uplifted, and there is a sense of relief at being able to be her true self when she had previously behaved in stereotypically masculine ways to try and fit in.
“Most people that I am close to have been accepting and understanding,” She says.
Colleagues have offered support, with one even reaching out from another department to share their experience of being transgender.
She says she also has regular meetings with her line manager so they can offer any assistance she may need.
She says more businesses should behave in this way to create a trans-friendly environment.
“My advice to other businesses is to listen to us transgender folk. Always ask, don’t presume and treat us like equals.”
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