Guidance on advancing trans inclusion for museums, galleries, archives and heritage organisations

September 8, 2023

In the context of growing uncertainty and anxiety surrounding trans-inclusive practice in the cultural sector, the University of Leicester’s Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG) – working with a team of legal scholars and experts in inclusion, equality and ethics – has developed comprehensive guidance on advancing trans inclusion for museums, galleries, archives and heritage organisations.

The guidance, supported by the Economic and Social Research Council, is freely available to download from the RCMG website:

The guidance, intended primarily for anyone working with or in museums, galleries, archives and heritage, sets out an ethical framework to support cultural organisations to advance trans inclusion. It explains key components of UK law, as well as some of the limitations and complexities of the law.

Drawing on over 130 responses to a survey inviting cultural organisations and those who work with them to share the challenges they were encountering in their daily work, the guidance includes a series of scenarios with practical strategies and solutions designed to build skills, knowledge and confidence for anyone working in this area. Developed in full, the actions and strategies shared in the guidance will enable staff, volunteers, freelancers, leaders and trustees to work together to positively impact the experiences of trans individuals and communities.

This guidance is supported by the following culture sector organisations. Collectively they represent and advocate for thousands of museums, galleries, archives and heritage organisations and culture professionals; they recognise and award world-leading excellence; and they set standards, develop advice and guidance used by staff, volunteers, freelancers, trustees and cultural leaders across the UK and internationally to create inclusive experiences for many millions of visitors:

Acesso Cultura; Association of Independent Museums (AIM); Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA); Archives and Records Association (ARA); Arts Marketing Association (AMA); Engage; Fundación TyPA; Group for Education in Museums (GEM); The Heritage Alliance; Heritage Volunteering Group (HVG); ICOM ICME (International Committee for Museums and Collections of Ethnography); ICOM ICOFOM (International Committee for Museology); ICOM UK (International Council of Museums UK); ICOM ICFA (International Committee for Museums and Collections of Fine Arts); Kids in Museums; Museums + Heritage Advisor; Museums Association (MA); Office de cooperation et d’information muséales (OCIM) supported by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research and the University of Burgundy; South and East Museums Federation (SEMFed); and Scottish Museums Federation (SMFed).

Professor Suzanne MacLeod, co-director of RCMG comments; ‘The guidance brings together leading-edge scholarship and expertise around ethics, the law, trans inclusion and equality to create guidance that can address a pressing need across the cultural sector. The first of its kind, Trans Inclusive-Culture shares actions and strategies that will equip staff, volunteers, freelancers, leaders and trustees to work together to positively impact the experiences of trans individuals and communities’.

Professor Richard Sandell, co-director of RCMG comments; ‘Trans-Inclusive Culture intervenes in what has become a highly-charged debate by offering very straightforward, precise and deeply researched guidance to address the uncertainty and anxiety that many cultural organisations are experiencing. The backing of so many culture sector bodies clearly shows how significant this issue is for the sector and highlights the need for museums, galleries, heritage and archives to be more ambitious in their trans-inclusive practice.’

Liz Ellis, National Lottery Heritage Fund Policy Project Manager, (on behalf of the Heritage Fund) comments; ‘The National Lottery Heritage Fund is delighted to endorse this new guidance on Trans Inclusive Culture. As the largest funder for the UK’s heritage, we know that across the cultural sector, wide ranging cultural organisations and creative industries want to achieve inclusion, wider access and put equity at the core of a sustainable sector. This guidance is timely and relevant across the UK and internationally’.

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