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How to Create a Transgender-friendly Workplace

LGBTQI advocate Melissa Griffiths shares some advice.

Workplaces can be intimidating for people who identify as transgender. People who feel they can’t bring their authentic selves to work spend more effort and time “covering up”, impacting greatly on their mental health, stress levels and productivity.

At Scout, we’re firm believers in equal opportunities for all and have partnered with Agency Iceberg to help raise awareness of transgender people working in the community.

Here are Melissa Griffiths’ tips on how to create a supportive and inclusive workplace:

Implement a gender identity policy

The policy can be a simple document outlining that transgender people have a right to use toilet facilities of their adopted gender identity; that the workplace’s dress code is applicable in its usual way, and that members of the workplace are to conduct themselves sensitively and respectfully at all times. The document can also outline examples of inappropriate behaviour that won’t be tolerated by the workplace.

Have an action plan

If a transgender person decides to transition then the workplace can implement an action plan, covering an understanding of the transition timeframe, establishing the transitioning person’s name and their preferred gender-specific pronoun, and expectations and etiquette in the workplace. This will provide management and other employees with a sensible and supportive approach.

Offer practical help

While an employee is going through a transition, employers can offer practical help to colleagues who may need support in understanding the process and how to behave appropriately. This can come in the form of one-on-one discussions, or the offer of referrals to external counselors. Regularly communicate with your staff about the importance of having an inclusive workplace, and how they play a significant a part in this environment.

Be sensitive and respectful

Mistakes will inevitably happen when adopting new gender pronouns. Ask questions, such as how the employee would like to be addressed, and be flexible if that changes. An open dialogue is the best way to avoid unnecessary stress.

More information can be found at Transgender Victoria, Transcend for Young Transgender Australians and Human Rights Commission: Equal Opportunity Act 2010

This is a transcript of a recent interview by Agency Iceberg with
LGBTQI advocate Melissa Griffiths. Read the full article here.

Connect with Melissa Griffiths on LinkedIn here.

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