Hello, it’s lovely to meet you

31 March 2024

On Transgender Day of Visibility, Ivy Speight, who chairs Leonardo UK’s Pride network group, shares a personal insight into being transgender.

I’m Ivy. I am a mother. I am a sportswoman. I am a friend and a girlfriend. I am an activist. I like cooking and reading and playing my second hand drum kit.

I am a human being. I am a person. More than that, I am a person who has struggled her entire life to be where I am today. A person who lived 26 years of her life trying to be a boy, and then a man.

This is the fourth year in a row that I have written some form of article, opinion or news post about Transgender Day of Visibility – and transgender people in general – celebrated on 31 March. This date also raises awareness of the discrimination faced by transgender people around the world, and is a chance for us to celebrate the strengths and hopes we have as a community.

The transgender community asks for recognition and acceptance that biology and fate have dealt us challenging hands, and we are making the most of what we have been given. We are asking that you see us as people, as colleagues, with empathy and kindness.

There is much I can say about what is in the press, or online about our community, a narrative that runs far more negative than positive. The statistics speak for themselves – between 2012 and 2019, the total number of stories about transgender people rose from around 900 to around 6,500, with the vast majority of this increase negative in nature.

Days like this give my community and I the opportunity to spotlight who we really are. Sadly, this feels like a challenge, and a risk, more than the joy and hope that it should. Nevertheless, I hope that sharing who I am – a person, just like you – will show that there is more to transgender people than headlines and controversy.

Regardless of the above, there is always hope for the future. Even something as simple as choosing our own names is an expression of hope for something different. I hope that one day I won’t need to choose my words carefully, or have to choose them at all; because people like me won’t be “othered”. Because we will just be seen as regular people. And to its credit, Leonardo and its people overwhelmingly see us as just that – employees and colleagues, just like anyone else.

Leonardo’s Pride network seeks to help support both the LGBTQ+ community, and the wider business to celebrate our rich diversity, but also put in place a level of support and connection so that colleagues know they aren’t alone, that Leonardo is listening and seeking to consistently evolve our processes and experiences to make them as inclusive as possible.

Creating an inclusive and supportive environment through Network Groups

Creating an inclusive and supportive environment through Network Groups

At Leonardo, our network groups are the place for like-minded people and their allies to come together, help shape engagement and lead associated educational initiatives with all our people to deliver an inclusive and consistent experience for everyone in the UK.