Building a trans-inclusive workplace


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Trans people often feel pressured about their identities in social settings. They experience discrimination and hostility even in their workplace. Such experiences can have devastating consequences for their well-being as well as their job satisfaction. Awareness and acceptance are on the rise. Workplace protection on the basis of gender identity has improved considerably. A number of issues still remain.

Pervasive issues

Work is stressful for a lot of people. Trans people carry the additional weight of concealing their true gender identity for the fear of being ostracized by others. It is traumatic not being able to reveal their authentic selves to their colleagues, whom they see almost every day for the fear of facing rejection. A lot of organizations are ill-equipped to create workplace cultures and policies that would make trans employees feel comfortable about their identities. They face abuse and harassment and little or no legal protection. Some employers are well-intentioned but are unprepared. Trans employees should not feel fearful about coming to work as that would also lead to decreased productivity and engagement. They could also end up with destructive coping behaviors such as alcohol abuse and social isolation. Discrimination can also hurt the image of a business.

Given below are suggestions to make organizations more inclusive for their trans employees.

Remove biased language

Biased language do not support gender transitions. To make trans employees feel valued, organizations should pay attention to pronouns and the names employees prefer to use. Gender choices on application forms should also be removed. It should be replaced by an empty box. “They/them’ should also be a vital component of communication. People should be given the freedom to be who they are. There should be a record of the chosen names of employees and their correct pronouns. This would make sure that appropriate names and pronouns are used for personal and administrative purposes such as email addresses and business cards.

Open door policy

An open-door policy means that a manager or a CEO’s door is open for each employee for honest communication. Having such a policy in an organization can be an excellent foundation for an employer/employee relationship. Trans employees may set up a network to create a safe space for themselves. Asking them questions, and listening to their answers can also lead to constructive results. If employees feel heard, it would only prove to be beneficial for a business.

Gender-neutral bathrooms

Gender-neutral bathrooms in the workplace are a way to show that trans employees are valued. Colleagues can make them feel safe and welcome. Other employees should be trained to be accepting when they find themselves in a bathroom with their trans colleagues.

Gender-neutral dress code

A gender-neutral dress code policy can also make trans employees feel valued. Trans employees might feel burdened by dress codes based on gender. For instance, Accenture implements gender-neutral dress codes. employees can choose from a range of options such as sweaters, slacks, pantsuits, and blouses.

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