Being trans is not easy in our current world and so it is certainly not easy to manage a gender transition at work either. There are definitely extra layers of complications that come with that territory.
Around 65% of trans people hide their gender status or history at work. While disappointing, this statistic can hardly be surprising when we take into account that 33% of openly trans people have experienced discrimination in applying for jobs and 25% of trans people have experienced further discrimination from their colleagues while in active employment.
At Aspiring to Include, we want to make sure that people of all sexualities, gender orientations and identities have comfortable and safe experiences in employment. Everyone deserves to work in a job that they like, in a way that works for them. Knowing your rights, what support is out there, and how to get it is all super important information for anyone. This blog intends to give you a little from each category regarding managing a gender transition in the workplace.
In our opinion, you should:
Do It On Your Terms
It is important to remember that you only need to transition at work if and when you want to. No one can force you to come out earlier than you want to and no one is entitled to know your gender history or future.
The only time you can be asked about your gender is in the case of your medical gender that is listed on official documentation. However, you can ask for this information to be kept confidential with the HR department/management team. As far as anything that isn’t listed on your documents, you aren’t required to discuss or disclose it.
Don’t let your own journey be rushed because of societal expectations or external pressure, that never ends well. If you are making the decision to openly transition at work, make sure you are doing it for yourself only.
Know Your Rights
It is sometimes uncomfortable to talk about the rampant discrimination that affects trans people across the U.K. If you are trans yourself, you might find that thinking about this kind of thing is upsetting. However, it is important to remember that you are protected against all kinds of discrimination, harassment, and victimisation under U.K. law and that it is ok to speak openly about these issues.
The Equality Act of 2010 specifically protects people going through gender reassignment from all forms of discrimination in the workplace and the wider world of employment and recruitment. It also protects people from discrimination based on their sexuality and gender identity, so even if you aren’t actively transitioning, you are still protected.
Knowing your rights can help you stand up against poor and discriminatory treatment. Knowing you are protected against certain actions helps you call out inequality and discrimination and take it to the appropriate channels.
If you feel that you are experiencing discrimination based on the fact that you are trans, or you have done so in the past, you can find signposting on where to go through this government webpage.
It is important to call out everything that isn’t right. You deserve better.
Ask for Back-Up
If you want to publicly come out after transitioning in work, you might feel scared and alone. It can be very intimidating to make a big declaration to people whose reactions you won’t be able to predict.
When it comes to actions such as sending emails about your new pronouns or holding meetings to discuss your identity with others, you are well within your rights to ask your management team at work for support. Sometimes having a CC’d-in manager can make all the difference when it comes to a display of support.
You don’t have to feel alone in transitioning, because you are not alone.
Reach Out For Support
On that note, one of the best things to do during a gender transition is to reach out for support.
There are lots of public and free avenues of support for trans people going through these experiences. Remember that you deserve to make use of them. Some options you have include:
Don’t forget that you can also call your GP for help with your mental health and physical transitioning needs. Helplines can be great if you need to talk to someone quickly too, you can try Samaritans on 116 123.
Find the Right Job
Your transition at work can be made easier depending on the type of company and employer you work for. If things aren’t going well in your current place of work, that doesn’t mean that you are stuck there. Moving somewhere more diverse and accessible can make a big difference.
If you want to find an accessible job that will be able to support you through something like a gender transition in the workplace, you can take a look at our inclusive job board designed for diverse job seekers.
Getting into the right place of work as a trans person can help keep you safe and happier for a long time.
You deserve that.