Question about joining as an Adult Staff Member/CI - Transgender

Just a quick one, I’ve looked through and found a couple of threads on this, but they are from 4 years ago so thought it’d be best to get a new one started.

I’ve been thinking about volunteering as a CI for a while now, but I was wondering if my transgender status would have an impact on me applying. Obviously every squadron and area is different and not all places are the same in terms of leadership or diversity. I’m 30, went through the cadets a decade and a half ago and it had a big impact on my childhood, ideally I’d like to give something back to the cadets if that makes sense.

Anyway, back to my actual question - Does anyone know of any trans members of staff, past or present or have experience on how they’ve been handled by squadrons?

1 Like

the Corps as a whole has one approach to inclusivity and although recognise that the diversity may not be equal you shouldn’t see being a minority as a negative.

my personal experience is not at Squadron, or even the Wing. But I have met a trans Staff member on camp (the RIAT airshow camp).
there was no issue in how they were handled, although there was some initial resistance to the shared accommodation until individuals were met.

they wouldn’t have been able to attend a national camp without having the support at Squadron and Wing level to be a Staff Volunteer and so from this example alone can’t see why any trans staff should experience an issue.

there are a number of trans persons in the Air Cadet organisation (Staff and Cadets) and although not common, are not unheard of, there are policies and guidance in place.

I would suggest contacting your local Wing HQ who will be able to put you in touch with the local LGBTQ+ representative and be best placed to answer any questions and concerns.

1 Like

I agree with Steve’s comments.
Long story short, you shouldn’t be treated any differently compared to any other staff member, and I’d hope that in practise this is the case!
As Steve said, contact your WHQ and just ask the question! If you’re within London and South East Region I know that their LGBTQ+ (Aspire?) representative is awesome!

1 Like

Worth noting that incoming Commandant is highly inclusive aware and a strong supporter of LGBT

1 Like

The real world is of course, very sadly, littered with [people of questionable moral standing]
It is conceivable that you may meet some in this organisation, but their [unacceptable attitude] isn’t tolerated and there should be no block to you whatsoever.

Though, I would think (or at least hope) that the vast majority of people you’ll meet will be absolutely onboard.

*Deleting those ‘words’? Really chaps?
Fine. I’ll try again…

4 Likes

I would add from my own perspective, that each Sqn varies massively and you might find the first one you go to isnt a ‘good fit’, dont forget that’s actually normal and almost certainly wont be due to transphobia, but the fact that, that Sqn is different to what you are looking for. Maybe they are a ‘drill’ sqn and you want adv trg, etc etc

Give it a go.
I’m sure any Sqn will bite your arm off to get a keen staff member.

1 Like

All good responses! And I would echo what @Paracetamol says; when working so closely with other squadron staff you want to make sure it is a good fit… some people just get on better than others. But do check out a few local squadrons - one might just click a bit better than the others.

As a “G” in LGBTQ+ and knowing several others (although I don’t know anyone transgender in the org) it has been of zero interest to other staff or the cadets, quite rightly…

I’m confident you will find it exactly the same.

my wife is always amazed at the number of "G"s in my friendship group - all through the RAFAC.

it is without doubt that my most diverse circle of friends comes from within the RAFAC rather than the other hobbies and groups I am part of…

Definitely give it a go…Like the above has said has said find a Sqn that feels right for you…each one operates completely differently. Each wing should have a LGBTQ+ rep that you can approach with concerns and its now a very inclusive and welcoming organisation. If you face any challenges im fairly confident the wing would sort them out with a matter of urgency.

As a member of staff arranging camps and the like, the hardest part is understanding what support if any you require. Otherwise just crack on and do the job you feel best suits you.

1 Like

Indeed.
As a commander, I would simply ask anyone in a minority or frankly just anyone, if they need support or any special circumstances to just speak up and early!

I will bend over backwards for cadets and staff alike.

But the only thing which really annoys is when someone comes along at the coach pick up and says, ‘hi I’m bob and I’m X and so I need Y’.

These last minute announcements dont help!

But if told at the planning stage, i would be like that’s fine… in fact because you told me early, instead of me sorting ‘crummmy Y’ for you, i have been able to arrange ‘Y+’.

1 Like

I’d like to think that the Corps is in such a place now that most people (at least round my neck of the woods) really wouldn’t care (in the best sense possible) as people are more than just their gender.

I can put you in touch with someone within cadets who does a lot with RAF LGBT if you’d like?

2 Likes

Is it sad that you feel the need to ask that question in the first place? I think we have a trans officer or CI in our wing but I’m not 100% sure on that. We did have a officer who joined us and kept saying their partner a lot and when it was just me and him (Short story) I said you are gay aren’t you? Why you feel the need to hide that I don’t know :neutral_face:

He isn’t one bit ashamed but wasn’t sure how everyone would treat him. His sexuality doesn’t bother any of us and he is a vital cog on our Sqn and we’d love more people like him…Straight, Gay, white pink or blue…ok maybe not blue cos my first aid qual has ran out :rofl:

In this day and age more people, including myself need educating on trans. I have never come across it in person (face to face) so I hope you do find a Sqn that suits you and that you keep us all updated on how it goes.

As you say “should”, not aware if our Wing does or not, nothing put out :man_shrugging:t2:

You could see if the lgbt.<wing> account has been assigned in Bader…

And just to add to everyone else - I also know a lot of L and G (and probably B, but not so many T) folk in the organisation - they are all awesome and bring a lot to RAFAC.

This is a very crude metric, but in the recent volunteer survey, out of 3464 responses, there were 815 females, 2610 males, 6 ‘other (including intersex)’, and 33 preferred not to say. Gender is a very personal thing, but is this a way of showing that, potentially, the community which would most self-identify as T are massively under-represented? I think this means we should encourage them, and work hard to make sure they feel welcome and valued.

(it’s a very difficult metric to measure, because trans men are men and so will often self-identify as such)

Thanks for all the replies, peeps! I’ll speak to a couple of my local squadrons and see how they react (for all I know, they might be full for volunteers anyway making this a whole moot point!)

Doubt it! From a cadets point of view everyone is really inclusive and no one looks down on LGBT+ staff or cadets (which, as said above, we have a fair few of!)

Agree that experience may sadly vary, but my perception is that welcome is generally and increasingly likely to be enthusiastic! Thanks for considering volunteering, EllieL, and posting - hope all goes very well for you :slight_smile:

There needs to be more than a loved up perspective. People will be welcomed, as anyone just wanting to volunteer as staff is akin to a hen’s tooth in unicorn poo. I’m always amazed when someone says they want to become a member of staff as with all the pressures of modern life, fitting volunteering in is increasingly difficult.
Frankly if they get through the checks and prepared go through the admin hurdles, and don’t create internal problems, we need bum’s on seats and after the last few months may be in need of more coming along as some CFAV find their circumstances have changed significantly and they are no longer able to or even want to continue.