As the proud sponsor of AGL’s LGBTI+ employee network AGL Shine, I am committed to ensuring our people feel included, supported and safe to be their authentic selves at work. To recognise Transgender Awareness week, I’m proud to share Lisa and Jacquie’s story.
Being a ‘trans parent’
By Lisa Ingram, Risk and Compliance, AGL
I could start by telling you all about the wonderful talents my daughter Jacquie has, and we’d be amused by the conviction of most parents, that our children are admirable in every way. But instead, let me take a different approach and share with you all of her stubborn and intractable qualities, as well as her diverse gifts.
During her school years, Jacquie was perfectly capable of passing maths tests, but instead, she failed them. My daughter would state point blank: “I’m not wasting my time”, as she hated maths. Reassuringly, at university Jacquie found her passion for education, and she eventually won the University Maths Teaching Prize. Over time, this became quite typical of Jacquie.
At aged 12, Jacquie was playing on the gymnastic rings, taking a break from watching her brother play hockey one evening at Melbourne University when the university’s head athletics coach noticed her potential for pole vaulting. After weeks of resistance and cajoling, Jacquie finally agreed to join the pole vault squad, which led her to a lifelong passion for the sport and a silver medal in the U18 Pacific Games (with an impressive vault of 4.25m!)
Jacquie is a talented artist; she paints beautiful portraits, which we have proudly framed all around our home. Never one to miss an opportunity, Jacquie always makes us pay the going rate!
Jacquie is also a great actress, convincingly playing Jack for 23 years. But hold on, did I forget to say she’s transgender? My daughter has so many other defining qualities, which is exactly the point I wish to make in talking about Jacquie – let’s not let ourselves get hung up on it!
This week is Transgender Awareness Week, #TransWeek, a cause dedicated to raising the visibility of the transgender community and addressing the issues they face through education and advocacy.
There are so many ways we can all be ‘trans allies’ for my daughter, and the broader transgender community. And this doesn’t only have to occur during #TransWeek.
We can start by listening, and by making it clear they can speak to us anytime. We can avoid making assumptions or casting stereotypes, focusing instead on the individual person and their own, unique experience. If we're unsure what pronoun a person would prefer (he, she, they), we can ask, without making a big deal of it. And we can call out negative or discriminatory behaviour, fostering a more supportive, inclusive and respectful society.
You can shine at AGL
At AGL, we’re committed to providing a supportive and inclusive environment for all of our employees. We know that when people feel free to be themselves, we enrich our thinking and make better decisions for our colleagues, customers and the community.
Our employee network AGL Shine plays an important role in driving a diverse and inclusive workplace culture in which our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI+) colleagues feel safe, valued and able to bring their whole selves to work.