Transgender in the workplace/society – Issues, Help and Support. A free resource created to cover trans issues in the workplace. This film covers some of the basics and is a useful tool in starting a conversation about trans issues in the workplace and beyond.
Film made by Fox Fisher and Owl Fisher.
Transcript provided by YouTube
Trans basically is short for ‘transgender’
and transgender means anyone who doesn’t entirely
identify with the gender they were assigned at birth
Trans women are people who were assigned male at birth
and identify as women, and express themselves as women
and they are women
A trans man is the opposite
it’s someone who was assigned female a birth and has transitioned into being male.
Non binary is where you don’t identify as either male or female
it’s where you identify with being fluid, or neither
Pronouns are important because
it’s our way of identifying with the world
it’s a way the world shows that they respect
who your identity is and that they are aware of it
and that they are aware of it
If possible, ask somebody their preferred pronouns
They/them work really well, if you’re not sure
Gender identity is about how you identify as a person inside
and that’s quite different from gender expression
which is you portray ourself to the rest of the world.
I was born, and everyone saw my physical traits
and they said: ‘Okay, it’s a boy’
and I can understand that, of course would jump to that conclusion
it’s statistically probable that I would’ve been a boy.
but it turns out I wasn’t.
I can’t explain why my genetics were the way they were
I just know how I’ve always felt.
Not all trans people have surgery
but that doesn’t make them any more or less
of a trans person than somebody who has taken steps to have surgery
and there are many reasons why people might opt not to have any surgeries
That might be because they don’t feel they need it
it might be because they are scared of operations
or maybe considered too old or have health issues that preclude them from it.
Transitioning in the workplace shouldn’t be a big deal
it’s really not a complex process at all
We just need to make sure that when somebody is going through their transition
which could take anything from two years to five years plus
that they feel included and supported at work.
So that’s going to be a range of different things
talking about how we refer to them
what facilities they use
making sure that the team they work in have some trans awareness
but ultimately it’s important to remember
that under the Equality Act 2010, all organisations have a responsibility
to make sure trans people are included at work and don’t face discrimination.
I’ve been nervous that I wouldn’t get certain jobs
I thought maybe I would be judged by my appearance
One of the reasons I haven’t always brought it up is because I feel that
my gender is just one small part of myself
People generally understood that actually what was important was doing the job
Me as a person wasn’t in myself changing
I was just being who I have always have been
The misconceptions that some people still took on board was that
Friday would be one gender and on Monday I’d come back as a ‘new gender’
I could define my transition happening over
two to three year period, but it’s such a transitional gradual event
When Ayla arrived with us
it was a total change of what we were expecting.
We’re worried in a workplace not to upset anyone
and say the wrong thing.
I think from day one, it was a breath of fresh air, really.
If you know somebody is transgender because they’ve told you
or you’ve heard about it
it’s really important that you’re careful about not outing them to anybody else.
There are couple of laws that pertain to this
The Gender Recognition Act 2004
it’s actually a criminal offence in a professional capacity
to tell somebody that somebody else is transgender
and also the Equality Act 2010
Ensures that we don’t harass, discriminate or victimise somebody because they are trans
Some people transition and just want to live their life as quietly as anybody else
in the gender that they know themselves to be
So by outing somebody, you could put a serious risk to their mental health, physical health
and it might lead to something really, really serious
There’s definitely times where I’ve been outed, against my will
I know I am very out and proud and happy to talk about being trans
but it’s still wrong to do that
The power of that should be in the individual and never by those around them
As colleagues we should be really mindful about showing respect to trans people
So for example, just because somebody might have a deep voice
it doesn’t automatically mean they are going to identify as male
So if somebody says they are a miss or a missus
even though they might sound what you think is a man
it’s important to respect the fact that they’ve told you that they are in fact female
If somebody shares what their preference is
they are trusting you
If you make a mistake, it’s fine, just try not to do it again
Even though we might not have anybody at work that is openly transgender
it’s really important to remember that you don’t know that they might be
in the closet about being trans or they might have somebody in their family
or one of their friends is trans
You might be having what you think is an innocuous chat around the water cooler
about a trans celebrity that you’ve seen in the press
and you might say something that we consider offensive
but don’t realise you’ve said it
So it’s really important to understand about trans terminology
and about trans people’s feelings
Just as you would about somebody from a BAME background or from a disabled background
You don’t know who’s around or who’re your affecting
My brother would go to work for example
and people didn’t know he had a transgender sister
and he would suffer the same comments or jokes in general society
and suffer the same for them
When we raise the conversation about being trans, certainly in the workplace
the toilet conversation always comes up
You can pre-plan for all of this
it shouldn’t be beholden on the trans individual to make that happen
It can happen before you have someone trans working for you
So you’re already prepared
Gender neutral facilities are really easy to implement
There has to be a line in the sand drawn at some particular point in a transition
where we allow somebody the facilities for the gender they are identifying with
and that should be done in agreement with line manager and the person themselves
It’s important to say that once somebody has reached that decision
that the organisation supports them and takes steps against anybody
who chooses to challenge that process
and that can be in a disciplinary, or in a supervisionary conversation, or something like this
But it’s really important that we address anybody who says that somebody
shouldn’t be using a facility that’s been agreed that they can use
Don’t make a trans person, once they’ve come out to you, have to only use the disabled toilet
They are the kind of things that really create some form of stigma
for people who need to use the disabled toilet anyway
but also for the trans person
because they are not being allowed to use the facilities according to their gender.
Clothing that they say that they prefer, should be given to them, certainly in the workplace
There can be flexibility on behalf of the person
but there definitely has to be flexibility on behalf of the organisation
to really show that those staff members are valued and that they are included.
So in Westminister Police, in custody, we have very gendered uniforms
The men wear clip on ties and the women wear cravats
And no questions were asked at all, I was sent to uniform stores
I was quite anxious: ‘What if they send me to the female uniform stores even though I applied
as Dylan and male?’
They didn’t, they sent me straight to the male uniform stores and I got my tie
and I got my male uniform, and it was brilliant, no questions were asked.
So at the restaurant we’re working on changing the public bathrooms to non identified
And I think that’s really important so that you don’t feel like people are judging you
I’ve had security follow me into toilets
That’s the kind of thing that can scar you
You may not realise it, but years later it can still cause an effect
I know people who don’t even use the bathroom in public spaces
they will wait the whole day until they get home because they are nervous
of having some kind of judgement.
If you’re woman, you’re entitled to use the women’s loos
and if you’re a man, you’re entitled to use the men’s loos
Doesn’t matter how far in your transition you are
We’re going to look back and think that gendered toilets were a ridiculous idea
Since Brexit it’s fair to say that we’ve seen an increase in hatecrimes across a lot of
We want to make sure that LGBT people feel safe in reporting those crimes to the Police
and can actually see that things are getting done when they do report
Hatecrime can take many forms and even things like
being shouted at, being spat at – we encourage trans people to report these
because even though they might feel it’s not a big deal or there are more important crimes to solve
it builds up a pattern of intelligence should something more serious happen
Don’t have any preconceived ideas of what the person might be like, might not be like
It’s a person
I’m sure there will be lots of questions that you have
Ask those questions – that person would be only too pleased to tell you as much as they
are comfortable with, about themselves, and about the journey they’ve had to get to where
they are at the moment
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Photo credit: Screenshot from video