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Thoughts on acronyms, protected characteristics and power
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MaybeDoctor · 04/08/2022 09:50

I was thinking last night that it may make sense for those supportive of sex-based rights to re-formulate the acronym LGBT (or the extended versions) in such a way that it actually reflects the protected characteristics.

This acronym matters because it is often used as a way to rapidly represent protected characteristics and signify inclusivity or fairness - in discussion, in policies and in training - yet the protected characteristic of sexual orientation is grouped alongside other identifiers that are not protected characteristics at all.

What about LGBGR? That would be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual (all of which fall under the protected characteristic of sexual orientation) and Gender Reassignment (which is the actual protected characteristic in the Equality Act 2010).

This focuses anti-discrimination efforts on sexual orientation and those who are undergoing the process of gender reassignment - as is legally correct and entirely right to do - while the groupings represented by other letters fall within the realm of personal identity choice (or what should be an entirely private in-the-bedroom matter in the case of K!) and therefore fall outside the shorthand acronym.

Personal identity choices

While I would like to be absolutely clear that no one should be bullied, harmed or disadvantaged for personal identity choices my understanding is that they cannot be used as grounds to claim discrimination, e.g. in the workplace. To use non sexual-identity examples, having extensive tattoos or dressing as a goth are personal identity choices - others may not choose it themselves but should still treat the people who do so politely and fairly - but employers can reasonably and legally have policies that ask someone with tattoos to cover them up in the workplace or wear a uniform in the workplace as the personal identity choices of having extensive tattoos or dressing as a goth do not relate to any protected characteristics.

So having covered sexual orientation and gender reassignment under LGBGR, the remaining protected characteristics are:

agedisabilitymarriage or civil partnershippregnancy and maternityracereligion or beliefsex
Could there or should there be an acronym for the remaining protected characteristics? Why doesn't one exist? Is it because the remaining protected characteristics are represented by a multiplicity of different groups/causes? There are organisations campaigning against age discrimination, racial discrimination or disability discrimination, but they don't seem to have the power or effectiveness of Stonewall. Is it because the people campaigning against those forms of discrimination have less power, money and influence in the first place, so their campaigns haven't got as far? Are some protected characteristics 'easier' for the power structures of business, public services or politics to accommodate than others? Why do we hear so much more about gender reassignment than we do about disability? Is it because it is far 'easier' for a business to accommodate the needs of a middle-aged man who decides to go through gender reassignment than it is to employ, retain and promote someone who has a significant disability?

So should sex, age, disability and race be picked out for a new acronym, covering the characteristics that do or can affect absolutely everyone during their lifetime? I suggest SADR.

It would be an interesting sociological experiment to begin confidently using a new acronym and observe people's reactions in the current climate.

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MaybeDoctor · 04/08/2022 09:52

I will post that list of remaining protected characteristics again, with hard returns this time!

age
disability
marriage or civil partnership
pregnancy and maternity
race
religion or belief
sex

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achillestoes · 04/08/2022 10:06

PPC

People with a Protected Characteristic.

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ChagSameachDoreen · 04/08/2022 10:34

Gender and sexuality need to be completely separate.

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BranchingOut · 04/08/2022 11:31

This message has been withdrawn at the poster's request

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MaybeDoctor · 04/08/2022 12:48

I quite like PPC and it has the advantage of brevity.

Any views on my suggestion of SADR for Sex, Age, Disability and Race? To be pronounced using the letter names, like we say LGB etc. As a way of quickly saying or signifying: 'Remember there are other protected characteristics'.

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YetAnotherSpartacus · 04/08/2022 12:52

Any views on my suggestion of SADR for Sex, Age, Disability and Race?

RADS?

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achillestoes · 04/08/2022 12:53

PPC also has the advantage of being inclusive. 😉

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howdoesatoastermaketoast · 04/08/2022 13:25

achillestoes · 04/08/2022 10:06

PPC

People with a Protected Characteristic.

I like it, but it does have the advantage / disadvantage of including everyone. I say advantage because as long as it was written to be mindful of that it could be genuinely useful

e.g. Managers must always be aware when discussing new policy that staff are not disproportionally affected or burdened based on people's protected characteristics (PPC). May be a little too close to POC to catch on though.

I personally believe that LGB need to be their own thing where appropriate. You can't accept and respect someone's sexual orientation if you can't accept and respect that sex exists.

GNC would then be a separate category to consider which might include some LGB people as well as some Trans people. I prefer this as it has the advantage that if there's some sexist bollocks uniform thing or something that a woman isn't comfortable with she can opt out without having to literally declare herself an unwoman to do so.

"Those claiming the protected characteristic of gender reassignment"
with definitions in the policy and protections including robust defences against abuse or harassment and clarity that certain situations will remain single sex as a 'proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim' & clarity that a coworker not believing in your religion is not a hate crime.

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Thelnebriati · 04/08/2022 16:21

I like PPC as a 'top tier' acronym. The other characteristics are divided into material reality and culture/belief.

Protection against disability discrimination is limited; you can only ask an employer to make a reasonable adjustment. That seems sensible to me. I can't make demands that would cost them more to implement that they would gain by employing me. It assumes there's a balance between my rights and the employers. I think it should be applied to other areas where there's a conflict of rights.

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achillestoes · 04/08/2022 17:08

Can we also have TOTP?

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achillestoes · 04/08/2022 17:09

PPC actually includes everyone, just to be a PITA.

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MaybeDoctor · 04/08/2022 17:44

YetAnotherSpartacus · 04/08/2022 12:52

Any views on my suggestion of SADR for Sex, Age, Disability and Race?

RADS?

Yes, I am liking RADS! Although I think SADR trips off the tongue more as an acronym...

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MaybeDoctor · 04/08/2022 17:48

Thelnebriati · 04/08/2022 16:21

I like PPC as a 'top tier' acronym. The other characteristics are divided into material reality and culture/belief.

Protection against disability discrimination is limited; you can only ask an employer to make a reasonable adjustment. That seems sensible to me. I can't make demands that would cost them more to implement that they would gain by employing me. It assumes there's a balance between my rights and the employers. I think it should be applied to other areas where there's a conflict of rights.

Yes, that's a very good point about limited protection against disability discrimination.

Is it the case that protections against discrimination on the grounds of sex, age, race or others are higher?

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MaybeDoctor · 04/08/2022 17:52

achillestoes · 04/08/2022 17:09

PPC actually includes everyone, just to be a PITA.

You are completely correct. We all have a sex, an age and a racial background...
Hmm...returns to drawing board.

Has anyone been confident enough to challenge or alter an acronym in a real life situation?

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achillestoes · 04/08/2022 19:34

I’ve just seen TGNB used for the first time.

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MaybeDoctor · 04/08/2022 21:50

Wow, so the 'L' really has been removed...

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MangyInseam · 05/08/2022 00:40

DWA
(Down With Acronyms)

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Deliriumoftheendless · 05/08/2022 07:38

achillestoes · 04/08/2022 17:08

Can we also have TOTP?

😂

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MaybeDoctor · 05/08/2022 10:15

DWA is all very well, but they seem to be here to stay...

It is so easy for a company or service to swiftly say 'LGBTQ+' when they want to signal inclusivity, but that acronym has only limited relationship with the protected characteristics.

Can it not be adjusted to be reclaimed?

Can no one else see the merit in adopting other acronyms, that swiftly highlight the less 'popular' protected characteristics?

Perhaps I will simply begin doing so myself...

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MangyInseam · 05/08/2022 11:57

No, I think that the whole acronym business is part and parcel of the bigger issue.

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Bergamotte · 05/08/2022 12:27

To flag up a possible issue with your proposed acronyms, my brain read SADR as "sadder."
And LGBGR as something like "little bugger" although looking back it really doesn't look much like that.

I once saw someone trying to change to acronym to QUILTBAG. Partly to make it pronounceable, but also clearly trying to push the importance of "queer." So not a good one to consider!

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Ereshkigalangcleg · 05/08/2022 12:30

I once saw someone trying to change to acronym to QUILTBAG. Partly to make it pronounceable, but also clearly trying to push the importance of "queer." So not a good one to consider!

I saw the QUILTBAG thing recently too, racking my brains as to where it was. Some crap "toolkit", I think.

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LangClegsInSpace · 05/08/2022 12:43

MaybeDoctor · 04/08/2022 17:48

Yes, that's a very good point about limited protection against disability discrimination.

Is it the case that protections against discrimination on the grounds of sex, age, race or others are higher?

There is a specific duty in the EA to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees, service users etc. There is no equivalent duty for other protected characteristics.

But in terms of discrimination, harassment and victimisation, the protections are the same as for other PCs.

In answer to your OP, I don't think it's helpful at all to lump disparate protected characteristics together as if they have the same interests. There seems to be a widespread understanding now that BAME is not helpful (and those letters at least all refer to the same protected characteristic - race), time to ditch LGBT too.

Even LGB is pushing it at times!

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