Beyond the Binary: Abbie's Journey as a Non-Binary Employee at EDF
We're proud to share a message written by a member of our very own LGBTQ+ Supporters Network. At EDF, our employee networks are integral to our inclusive culture, they are open to all and support our people whilst advocating for positive change.
As a non-binary person I think it’s important to remind others that we do not owe anyone to look or act a certain way. We do not need to present a certain way or dress a certain way for anyone. We do not all have to be androgynous or feminine or masculine. We don’t all have to use they/them pronouns, some of us may use she/her, he/him, xe/xer etc. or a possible combination of pronouns. But we deserve to feel and be ourselves as much as any other person does. We are just as valid as cis-gendered people (those who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth) and our existence should not be a debate.
To me, being non-binary is the peak of queer liberation. Breaking out of the way society expects certain people to look or show themselves. When I realised I was non-binary I feared how people may look at me or react to me saying I was non-binary. Very quickly though I realised how proud I should be of being non-binary and how I was able to be my true and authentic self with no one being able to tell me how I should do anything, just listening to what I want for myself. I have found love and support from everyone around me in my life and at work, encouraging me to be myself and re-educating themselves on the use of pronouns etc.
A good way to describe what it’s like is by using colour theory. Take the idea that Male and Female are red and blue, some of us may be a different colour for example; orange, yellow, green or purple. So the binary is red and blue, everything that isn’t those two colours would be outside the binary (non-binary is an umbrella term for many different gender identities).
But as we know with colour, it’s never-ending there are lots of colours and those colours have so many different shades so there is no one way to be outside the binary. An example of this is someone who may be genderfluid, standardly they might feel purple, some days they might be a bit more red or some days they might be more blue. This can change and alter and some days they may not even feel any of those colours.
It is super important we recognise days like International Non-Binary Peoples Day as we need to celebrate Trans joy and life, especially during this time where there is so much hate being thrown at us simply for existing. Reading on the news or on social media that another trans brother or sister has been lost to transphobic violence or suicide just shows us all how much more important it is that we celebrate the life we have and to show up and fight for our rights. There is a lot of fear on whether we will even have rights as the world keeps progressively going backwards.
Events like Trans+ Pride in London show us how much support we have and reminds those in places of power how we have always fought for our rights and protested and we will continue to do so. It is a strong reminder that pride was originally and will always be a protest, from the first brick thrown at Stonewall to one day having full Trans liberation for all.
EDF as a company has proved to be supportive of all trans-people. The LGBTQ+ Supporters Network is a welcoming place for all who may be coming to terms with their sexuality or gender identity or those who wear it proudly on their sleeve every day. The company has many things it does to show its support for the community, such as; providing lanyards with the pride progress flag and waving the progress flag on the flag poles during pride month or even allowing people to change their gender on the MyHR site. The Supporters network can also provide people with pride flag shoelaces, I got a couple pairs of non-binary flag laces to celebrate my identity.
To help Trans and non-binary people, I believe we need to have more access and care for those who seek life-saving gender-affirming healthcare, allowing the proper-time off to allow the person’s body to heal and get back to its full operation. We need those in positions of power to speak up more regularly about their support of our Trans employees and vocalise what they are doing to help the company be as progressive and welcoming as it can be. Whether it’s showing that the company is donating to charities or going to pride events as a company or helping fund them.
Teams need to support those that come out, make an attempt to use the correct pronouns, if they change their name using their correct name and not their deadname is also a great way to help. People can be helpful to each other by putting their pronouns in their email signature and if you don’t know someone's gender, just say they.
In short, I am proud to work here at EDF, I am proud to be myself everywhere I go and I’m proud to be non-binary!