Improving trans inclusion in the workplace
6 min read | Joshua King | Article | Diversity, equity and inclusion
Fewer than one tenth (9%) of transgender people in the UK said their workplace had supported their medical transition, and, in other research, one-third (33%) say they have been subject to negative comments or behaviour from their coworkers in the past 12 months, including bullying, abuse, and being outed without permission.
Transphobia and discrimination extend beyond the workplace with the charity Stop Hate UK citing 2,630 victims of Transgender Hate Crimes in 2021 alone. And that’s what we know about, with 88% of transgender people not reporting Hate Crimes they experience.
Unrelenting violence targeted at trans individuals
20th November marked the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. This day has been recognised since 1999 to honour the death of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was murdered the year prior, as well as all other members of the trans community who have been killed. This day not only memorialises those lost to trans-hate-related violence, but also reminds us that the fight against hate is far from over.
In the past 12 months alone, there were 320 murders of transgender and gender-diverse people globally, according to The Trans Murder Monitoring report.
Further, Hate Crimes against the trans community have hit a record high in England and Wales, rising 11% since last year, as per data from The Home Office report. This report advises that comments by politicians and in the media could have contributed to this increase. In contrast, Hate Crimes against the other four monitored strands – sexual orientation, race or ethnicity, religion, and disability – have all fallen.
The reality of the workplace
On average, a transgender person is paid 14% less than their cisgender peers. Further, 11% of trans workers said they had lost a job in the last 12 months as a result of being LGBT, while almost a quarter (24%) had been overlooked for a promotion due to the same reason, according to Stonewall.
Based on published data, trans employees are being made to feel uncomfortable being their authentic selves in the workplace. Stonewall’s survey also finds that over half (51%) have hidden their identity for fear of discrimination. Some also don’t even feel comfortable using the bathroom (9%) and wearing clothing that reflects their gender identity (18%).
Meanwhile verbal and physical attacks are commonplace for trans employees, with more than one-tenth (12%) having been physically attacked by their colleagues or customers in the past year as a result of their gender identity. Meanwhile, 50% have been victim of judgmental comments from coworkers.
How you can support your transgender colleagues
Employers have a duty to make sure all employees feel comfortable and safe no matter their gender, identity, religion etc and research dictates more action is required to better support transgender employees. So what can your organisation do to better embrace equity for the trans community?
- Review your policies and update them where necessary to make them more inclusive for trans employees. Stonewall advise organisations to consider their bullying, family leave and transitioning at work policies.
- Provide trans inclusion and unconscious bias training to line managers, filtering this down to more junior staff members. Educating staff can go a long way toward making a workplace more inclusive. There are a number of free toolkits available online to get you started.
- 15% of trans employees are still not referred to by their correct name and pronouns in the workplace. Adding pronouns to your email signature and LinkedIn profile, and encouraging others to do the same, is a simple way to show support and can help to prevent incidents of misgendering.
- Acknowledge awareness days beyond Pride Month, using it as an opportunity to educate employees and fundraise. Key dates to add to your calendar include International Transgender Day of Visibility (March 31st), International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (May 17th), Transgender Awareness Week (November 13th-19th) and Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20th).
- Drive change all year round by supporting charities such as Mermaids and Stonewall.
Do you identify as transgender and feel you can be your whole self at work? Do you value working for an employer who prioritises equity? DE&I is becoming increasingly important to those entering the workforce; is your company doing enough?
To discover more about how you can help your organisation become an inclusive environment for all, enquire about our DE&I advisory service.