by Sharon Florentine

Standing up for transgender rights in the workplace

Oct 26, 2018
IT JobsIT LeadershipStaff Management

In the wake of this latest devastating attack on human rights, it’s more important than ever to support transgender people. Here’s how you can help.

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Credit: Thinkstock

Last week we learned that the Trump administration is attempting to erase the entirety of transgender rights in the U.S., introducing a new policy by which gender would be determined solely by a person’s assigned genitalia at birth.

It’s more important than ever to stand up for trans rights. If the current government will not, it’s left to the private sector to pick up the slack. What can you do?

First, a few quick stats to understand how dire the situation is, according to an excellent piece from Everyday Feminism:

” … trans people face a lot of BS at work. Some sources estimate our un/underemployment rates to be close to 50 percent. And 90 percent of us report experiencing discrimination or harassment on the job. A recent survey of hiring practices towards the most privileged trans people in Washington, DC found that 48 percent of workplaces would rather consider a less qualified cis-gendered person than a more qualified trans person.”

That’s just focusing on workplace issues. The trans community’s suicide rate is a horrifying 41 percent.

What can your organization do to make sure you’re being more inclusive and actively supportive of your transgender workers? A good place to start is with gender pronouns, as I explained here a few months ago. And the Everyday Feminism piece lays out 11 steps you can take to help, which includes providing training for your entire workforce and making sure your company’s healthcare plan(s) affirm the needs of trans workers, including hormone therapy and medical transition care, if that’s something an employee wants to pursue.

You also should create, explain, and enforce specific inclusion policies both internally and externally to make sure everyone at your company, as well as your customers, understands the need to acknowledge and support trans workers. Sure, you might get some flak, like Target did when it came out in opposition to the anti-transgender bathroom privacy laws in North Carolina, for example. But don’t let that deter you from making a public stand to help protect trans persons.

For trans persons looking for a new role, it’s helpful to know where to look; don’t waste your energy trying to land a job somewhere that’s not going to support you. More than 450 U.S. employers now have policies in place to support their trans employees, and this piece from Business Insider pulls together a list of the most trans-inclusive companies from 2015 – I wasn’t able to find a more current list, unfortunately.

It’s imperative for individuals and companies to stand up and make clear that the rights of the trans community aren’t “special interests;” trans rights are human rights. They will not be erased.