Wednesday, 20 May 2015
How I Got Stonewall To Change Their Website And How Your Voice Is Important
I'm sure many of you will know about the organisation Stonewall, the LGBT charity in the UK named after the Stonewall Riots. Stonewall has been around since 1989, and the organisation is actually celebrating it's 26th birthday today.
Despite having been around for so long I was shocked to learn that the organisation hasn't included the transgender community for the majority of its lifetime, having only just announced their plans to campaign for trans equality since mid February this year.
What really shocked me, however, was that despite including the treansgender community in their mission statement for three months their website barely makes mention of transgender people or the charities support for the community.
I read through their 'Brief Overview of Stonewall', 'How We Work' and 'Stonewall Key Priorities' pages and found plenty of mentions of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual people, but nothing about transgender people. I knew that some of what they were talking about on the site is in reference to the Section 28 Laws, that specifically apply to Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual people, but there were incidences on the site where they talk about the LGBT community in a general way, but don't talk about the T.
If I'm being honest I didn't like this. If I'm being brutally honest, it hurt. Here is an organisation who I believe in, whose praises I have sung and they seem to be ignoring me and people like me. I didn't like that.
I went to their website and I took pictures of their pages where they left transgender people out, highlighted it ans posted it on Twitter.
I tagged Stonewall's Twitter in the posts, used the Stonewall hashtag and even came up with one of my own, #WheresTheTrans? I didn't expect much to happen, I thought that maybe a handful of people would see it and that it might get around a little. What I wasn't expecting though was for Stonewall itself to respond to me within an hour of the first tweet going online.
Stonewall thanked me for pointing out the lack of inclusion of trans people and promised that they would be looking at correcting their website.
The next day I checked their site and found that the changes had not been made, so I once again started Tweeting on the subject. Some people replied that it had only been a day, that it hadn't been enough time. I argued that a day was more then enough time to go into a website and add a few words here and there.
It looks like my complaining paid of a second time though as Stonewall responded fast, telling me that they had updated the pages and made the changes. I checked again and they were true to their word, Transgender was now a part of their website.
Unfortunately there is still one page on their site that so far doesn't mention transgender people where it should, and I have once again pointed it out to Stonewall in a public manner, and hopefully it will again result in changes being made.
I was shocked that a group like Stonewall took the time to listen to my one small voice, and even more surprised that it resulted in change.
But then that's one of the things that I've been telling people for a long time now, that a single voice and make a difference. One person can get another person talking, and them another, and another and on and on it goes. Sometimes one lone person pointing out a mistake or challenging a wrong doing can lead to change.
Please let this be a small example to you, don't stay quiet, speak out, fight for what's right because sometimes a single person can make a difference, no matter how small.
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