My HR person gave me a nice post birthday present the other day. Â She was working on a proposal involving me (I’m a consultant, so we’re always working on the next contract and assignment). Â The proposals often involve writing paragraphs that illustrate our experience and suitability for the assignment. Â The paragraphs generally start along the lines of “Mr. Jones has been blah blah for over 10 years …” or in the case of me in my professional life, “Ms. Jones blah blah.”
Every time I’ve had to read through and review these proposals, I’ve cringed and mentally squirmed each time I read ‘Ms.’ associated with my name. Â I’d resolved to email my HR person to ask that we choose a gender neutral approach and drop the gendered title. Â A little background here: Â she is connected to me through Facebook and has been asking what she and the company can do to respect my gender identity and support me. Â So I was feeling pretty optimistic about how that conversation would go.
Then I saw some of the paragraphs, sent to me for review. Â She’d already done it. Â The language was entirely gender neutral. Â I was surprised and deeply happy. Â And proud. Â Proud of her making that leap, proud to work for a company who would see me as a valued member of their team, important enough to change protocol for. Â I emailed her today, copied her boss and the other HR person, giving her kudos and thanks for making the changes, for respecting me and doing it without prompting from me. Â Though she’s read my posts on my gender identity, the other two had not, so I came out professionally for the first time as gender non-conforming. Â I told them that I am bi-gendered, male and female, and that it is sometimes hard to choose one gender over another, and their understanding and support was very much appreciated. Â In the same email, Â I also asked that they consider removing gender references from all proposals for all consultants, since gender is not a necessary component when evaluating our compatibility for assignments. Â I have yet to hear back on that, but I’m hopeful.
I’m happy to say that sometimes it does get better.
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