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Making Your Workplace Trans-Inclusive

Occurring annually on March 31, International Transgender Day of Visibility is a celebration of transgender and non-binary people around the globe and the determination it takes to live openly and authentically. Because everyone has a right to be treated with respect and dignity for who they are, it's imperative employers make the effort to adopt workplace policies, or improve existing standards, to be trans-inclusive.

According to research from the Human Rights Campaign, 2021 was the deadliest year for transgender and gender non-conforming people on record in the U.S., with at least 50 trans and gender non-conforming people being killed. Having inclusive workplaces is one of many actions that should be taken to ensure transgender and gender non-conforming people can feel safe and thrive while living their daily lives.

In addition to normalizing the conversation around personal pronoun usage, Harvard Business Review offered some insight for creating a trans-inclusive workplace:

Adopt basic trans-inclusive policies.

These policies could include bathroom access—offering gender-neutral bathrooms or making it known trans employees could use the restroom in line with their gender identity, and encourage cisgender colleagues to be supportive. Gender-neutral dress codes are another policy which could help make trans employees feel more welcomed in the workplace.

Support gender transitions.

According to authors of the article, "Employers must develop a comprehensive approach to managing gender transitions—one that focuses on the employee but also on cultivating a work environment conducive to the transition process."

This could include listening to and collaborating with employees about what matters most to them during their transition (which is a process—not a singular event—that happens on their terms and timeline).

Affirm the value of trans employees by ensuring they have access to health care benefits that are gender-identity-specific; asking and listening to their wishes so nobody is accidentally "outed" before they're ready; and ensuring HR is equipped with resources and plans for offering additional support.

Develop trans-specific diversity training.

Article authors recommend that these trainings include contact with those who identify along the trans identity spectrum, and help cisgender employees develop the skills to become informal champions of their transgender colleagues. Employers should emphasize to other employees how crucial it is to move about the workplace in a way that affirms everyone's gender identity and offer sensitivity and support when necessary.

To foster true inclusivity, don't wait until the law says you must enforce progressive policies in your office; take it upon yourself to ensure all employees feel protected and that they can be their authentic selves in the workplace—today.

Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for Groups Today.


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