When Stockholm LGBT held their seminar at the Vasa Museum, I got my hopes up for the future. It feels positive that Djurgården is taking a step in the right direction. Or?
Today is the last day of my 10-week internship at The Royal Djurgården Society. Yesterday I had the privilege of participating in the Stockholm LGBT+ Travel Symposium at the Vasa Museum. Of course, I said yes when asked to attend – now I would finally be in a situation where I could feel safe and be myself. As a trans person, there are many situations in my life where I do not feel safe and secure, scared even. When I started my internship, I was terribly nervous. Not about the tasks I would have to perform during the internship but about how I would be treated. Is this place safe? What is the attitude towards LGBTQ+ persons? Will people use the wrong pronoun to and about me? But my anxiety subsided rather quickly. During my time here, I have always been treated well, which I am happy about. However, as an LGBTQ+ person, I can say that Djurgården has a lot of work ahead. You are all fantastic, but in all honesty, you must raise your game a little.
There are things that we as transgender think a lot about but many of you do not. A good destination for me is a destination that has the skills and resources needed to make my experience and stay as a visitor positive. An easy thing that I would like to ask you all to start doing is to ask your visitors about their pronouns and that you write your own pronouns on your nametags. Just by asking the question you make me as a visitor feel included. I do not have to worry about being addressed in the wrong way and I will see that you have the skills required to meet me as an LGBTQ+ person. Why I want you to have your pronouns on your nametags? Partly because it shows your competence, but also because before I even start talking to you, I can tell that you are thinking about inclusion. Then we must not forget that it also helps me how to properly address you.
I think Djurgården is a fantastic place. During my time here, I have seen the enormous potential of the destination, but also the potential of everyone who works here. You can create a dream destination for us. You can and I expect you to do so. It’s about not making things unnecessarily complicated. Start with small and simple things like asking for pronouns. Do not just raise the Pride flag, let all your businesses and organisations expand on their competence about us. There are many good ways to do this, RFSL is an example. I also want to encourage you to use the resources that are around you – us. We, the LGBTQ+ community, are everywhere and many of us are more than happy to answer your questions about how you can welcome us.
PS. It’s time for you to start using they, everyone else is already doing it. DS.
James Thörnroos (he/him)
Trainee at The Royal Djurgården Society