The little things matter (and why I’ve changed my branding).
You may have noticed that the site has gone through a bit of a revamp; and my colour scheme has changed? (Or you may not, that’s ok too).
I wanted to spend some time talking about what I’ve changed how the site looks; because it’s important (to me at least) and I think it’s an important thing to acknowledge that it’s a deliberate change; in my attempt to be a better ally.
Growing up a working class girl who found herself privileged enough to land an Assisted Place to a prestigious private school (before assisted places were scrapped by the government at the time) politics and identity were always a factor in my life;. my mum was the local union rep; and the right for everyone to have their say and their vote really mattered to me.
When I started in the Civil Service, I was one of the few women working in most of the teams I joined; I became a passionate advocate for women’s rights and equality in the work place. Especially when I began working within Digital; and so I began learning more and talking more about the fantastic (oft forgotten) women who had helped make the technology we use today what it is; and so, when I started blogging (many years ago) and was trying to come up with the colours for my branding; the woman’s suffrage colours felt like a good fit.
I was always been interested in the suffragette movement; but on the surface, it has always seemed like the suffragettes were the bastion of upper class white women; (maybe this was Mrs Banks’, that famous Disney suffragette, fault) but as I grew up and visited places like the People’s History Museum; and read articles and books on the suffragette movement; I realised how diverse and inclusive the movement was and how “Queer” it was. Hell, many leading women within the suffragette women were LGBTQ+; as we now recognised, the battle for women’s rights has always been intersectional; tied up with the fight for LGBTQ+ equality, racial equality and social mobility etc.
When I started the blog I wanted to not just talk about what makes good products and services; but also trying to encourage more people to join the Digital community. I wanted to push for equal representation within Tech for women; for LGBTQ+ folks; for Disabled folks, for folks from different ethnic or racial minority communities; for those from different socio-economic backgrounds (As we all know, if our teams don’t represent our communities, then neither will the products and services they deliver), and as such it felt like the woman’s suffrage colours were a good fit for the values and topics I wanted to cover in my blog.
When I chose those colours; I firmly included Trans women within my fight for woman’s equality. Trans people have always been part of the battle for women’s rights; just look at folks like Frances Thompson; Marsha P. Johnson; and Dr. Margaret Chung (who preferred to be called Mike); and while we may not have had the terminology back in the early 1900’s that we do now; ‘trans’ was not in our lexicon; nevertheless; folks who did not fit inside the gender binary like Annie Tinker and Vera ‘Jack’ Holme were there fighting for women’s suffrage alongside their Cis sisters. The suffragette historian Dr Fern Riddell talks about this exact topic here.
Sadly, in the last few years; those colours, and the message of the women’s suffrage movement has been co-opted for the Gender Critical Movement; deliberately excluding trans women; but also focusing solely on the experiences and opinions of a small but vocal majority of mostly white women (or at least from my admittedly white perspective; but better women than I have written about the overlap between the GC movement and racial privilege).
I’ve resisted changing the colours in my brand for a while now; hoping to push back against this co-opting of the suffragettes and their messages of equality; by those who want to use the suffragettes message to deliberately exclude trans people and return us to a society that defines women solely by their sex or anatomy.
But, as the mainstream media has kicked up its anti-trans rhetoric, and the GC movement keeps getting more vocal; I’ve realised that by sticking to the colours I had chosen for my brand; I could be sending the wrong message.
My duty, as an ally is to signpost that is blog is a safe and inclusive place; and the branding I had did not sign-post that. So as we mark the Trans day of Remembrance; remembering all our Trans siblings we’ve lost in the last year; It’s time for this ally to do better; and update my branding. I’m only sorry it’s taken me as long as it has.
So, to sum it up, the TLDR version….