During my internship supporting an Internal Communications team in Southampton, I’ve had lots of different objectives and bits of content to work on. One of my highlights has been having the privilege to listen to and write a short article on Joanne Lockwood and her story which she calls ‘The life of me’. Joanne is the founder of See the Change, is the first openly transgender former national president of the round table ‘Men’s club’ and advocate for transgender awareness.
Jo spoke about her struggles and obstacles whilst transitioning gender and becoming her authentic self. The underlying theme of her talk is believing in yourself, believing that you can achieve and that you can be who you want to be. She opened up about her relationships and the difficulties she faced coming out at work and to her family. She also focussed on the importance of EDI in the workplace and how it can make such a difference to individuals.
Her story has been documented on the channel four show ‘The Making of Me’, where you can follow the transition of 9 people in the UK and it shows how hard it can really be. A couple of the people featured were risking losing their partners, and it shows conflict with family, experiencing being misgendered, family and friends refusing to accept who they were, grieving the loss of their husband or daughter and overall it was quite difficult to watch how painful it can be. This documentary really demonstrates not only how important it is to be happy and your authentic self, but it shows the harsh realities of transitioning and how it affects not only the individual, but also the people around them.
Watching this documentary and listening to Jo’s story really highlighted how important it is to be accepting of others, even if you don’t fully understand your differences. I think that generally, you should make an effort to be understanding and try and make your environments as inclusive as they can be. The gender spectrum is something people talk about a lot now, it has come a long way, and simply just educating yourself and making the effort to talk to different people can really change your outlook on life; you will appreciate how amazing we all are. She reinforces the importance of ‘people just being people’ and no matter who you are or what you look like, you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, but also to remember that #Loveislove.