He is a dad

She is a mom

They are a parent

Reykjavík City Library has received the City of Reykjavík Rainbow Certification at all seven of its branches. In order to receive the certification, staff must participate in training on LGBTQ+ issues and review the services provided at the workplace. This applies to both internal and external operations, collaboration in the workplace, customer services, signage in the facilities, visual material, visibility, terminology and use of language, aesthetics, literature, and art. 

Do we assume that a person belongs to a particular group, for example based on their appearance or our beliefs?  That this person here is a woman who is addressed using “she” and that she is heterosexual and has a partner who is a man?

Icelandic is a fairly gendered language, which makes it important to shift our language and way of thinking away from traditional patterns or even habits. So it’s good for us to begin considering how we talk to each other on a daily basis and important to be thoughtful and maybe practice if needed. Although we won’t change our way of thinking just by learning and using new terms, it’s a big and important step towards acceptance. All visibility is important; that each and every person is acknowledged and treated with respect. We all want to be accepted; we want our gender, gender identity, sexuality, and gender expression to be accepted; and to not be excluded from the discussion. We all have the right to belong. It can be hurtful and exclusionary for a person to be addressed using the wrong gender, for example to speak with a person repeatedly as if they are a man when they are non-binary and want to be addressed with the pronoun “they,” or to automatically assume that a child’s parents are of opposite genders; a mom and a dad.

One topic of reflection in the training session was the difference between being cis and trans. Cis (cisgender) is an adjective used to describe people who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. Trans (transgender) is the term for people whose gender identity does not conform to the gender they were assigned at birth. Trans refers to non-binary people, who identify as outside the gender binary, as well as to trans men and trans women, including people who undergo gender corrective surgery and people who do not. Non-binary people are a diverse group, some people choose to use gender-neutral pronouns such as they (hán in Icelandic) instead of he or she, for example: “They are a parent.” Other genderqueer people use he or she, that is each individual’s personal choice.

A few examples of staggering reflections on being cis vs. trans:

I can use public toilets without being afraid I will be assaulted or threatened.

People don't assume that they can ask me what my genitals look like or how I have sex.

People don’t refer to me using incorrect pronouns or grammatical gender, even after I have told them how I choose to be spoken about and to.

The healthcare system does not make decisions for me about what I do with my body.

I am never asked what my “real” name is.

My gender is always an option on forms.

Others don’t define me based on my gender identity.

I don’t need social permission to use change rooms that correspond to my gender identity.

People don’t try to dismiss me or say I’m being sensitive when I point out prejudice that I have experienced due to my gender identity.

People don’t think my gender identity is influenced by some sort of trend.

Icelandic neologisms worth mentioning from the 2020 Queer Word Competition (Hýryrðasamkeppni)  are the words kvár and stálp. Kvár is the noun for a non-binary adult (cf. man, woman) and stálp for a non-binary child or teenage (cf. boy, girl). They are a kvár (non-binary person), he is a man, she is a woman. They are a stálp (non-binary youth), she is a girl, he is a boy. (English does not have corresponding terms that are widely accepted, though the noun “enby” is sometimes used informally to refer to non-binary people.) – This is just a small part of the important and fun training that is offered through Rainbow Certification. It also covers the legislative amendments that have been passed in the 20th and 21st centuries and clearly show how brutally the system has violated queer people’s human rights throughout history. 

The City of Reykjavík Rainbow Certification training takes 4.5 hours to complete and consists of a lecture, discussion, tasks, and games, generally focused on opening people’s minds and examining the ways in which each and every workplace can be more queer-friendly and as a result its staff and the community as a whole. When the age-old binary system needs changing, it can be helpful to practice and take one step at a time. The goal is to prevent direct and indirect discrimination against queer people and is a part of implementing the City of Reykjavík Human Rights Policy.

The Reykjavík Library’s branches in Árbær, Spöng, Kringlan, Sólheimar, Grófin, Gerðuberg, and now Úlfarsárdalur have all completed training and received the City of Reykjavík Rainbow Certification.

All City of Reykjavík workplaces can receive Rainbow Certification, but they need to request it themselves. The training takes 4.5 hours in total, and can be completed in a single session or over several days. In order to maintain Rainbow Certification, regular training sessions need to be conducted every three years, but training can also be requested based on need.

Rainbow Certification makes people think, is both educational and thought-provoking when it comes to the state of LGBTQ+ issues, and is very necessary for all workplaces, people in general, and society as a whole.

UppfærtFimmtudagur, 8. september, 2022 14:11