Transgender in the Workplace

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.
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00:02
Trans basically is short for ‘transgender’
00:05
and transgender means anyone who doesn’t entirely
00:08
identify with the gender they were assigned at birth
00:12
Trans women are people who were assigned male at birth
00:15
and identify as women, and express themselves as women
00:19
and they are women
00:20
A trans man is the opposite
00:22
it’s someone who was assigned female a birth and has transitioned into being male.
00:26
Non binary is where you don’t identify as either male or female
00:30
it’s where you identify with being fluid, or neither
00:34
Pronouns are important because
00:36
it’s our way of identifying with the world
00:38
it’s a way the world shows that they respect
00:40
who your identity is and that they are aware of it
00:42
and that they are aware of it
00:44
If possible, ask somebody their preferred pronouns
00:47
They/them work really well, if you’re not sure
00:52
Gender identity is about how you identify as a person inside
00:57
and that’s quite different from gender expression
01:00
which is you portray ourself to the rest of the world.
01:04
I was born, and everyone saw my physical traits
01:06
and they said: ‘Okay, it’s a boy’
01:08
and I can understand that, of course would jump to that conclusion
01:12
it’s statistically probable that I would’ve been a boy.
01:15
but it turns out I wasn’t.
01:17
I can’t explain why my genetics were the way they were
01:20
I just know how I’ve always felt.
01:23
Not all trans people have surgery
01:25
but that doesn’t make them any more or less
01:28
of a trans person than somebody who has taken steps to have surgery
01:31
and there are many reasons why people might opt not to have any surgeries
01:36
That might be because they don’t feel they need it
01:38
it might be because they are scared of operations
01:41
or maybe considered too old or have health issues that preclude them from it.
01:46
Transitioning in the workplace shouldn’t be a big deal
01:50
it’s really not a complex process at all
01:52
We just need to make sure that when somebody is going through their transition
01:55
which could take anything from two years to five years plus
01:59
that they feel included and supported at work.
02:03
So that’s going to be a range of different things
02:06
talking about how we refer to them
02:08
what facilities they use
02:10
making sure that the team they work in have some trans awareness
02:14
but ultimately it’s important to remember
02:17
that under the Equality Act 2010, all organisations have a responsibility
02:22
to make sure trans people are included at work and don’t face discrimination.
02:28
I’ve been nervous that I wouldn’t get certain jobs
02:31
I thought maybe I would be judged by my appearance
02:36
One of the reasons I haven’t always brought it up is because I feel that
02:40
my gender is just one small part of myself
02:45
People generally understood that actually what was important was doing the job
02:49
Me as a person wasn’t in myself changing
02:51
I was just being who I have always have been
02:53
The misconceptions that some people still took on board was that
02:56
Friday would be one gender and on Monday I’d come back as a ‘new gender’
03:01
I could define my transition happening over
03:04
two to three year period, but it’s such a transitional gradual event
03:08
When Ayla arrived with us
03:11
it was a total change of what we were expecting.
03:14
We’re worried in a workplace not to upset anyone
03:18
and say the wrong thing.
03:20
I think from day one, it was a breath of fresh air, really.
03:24
If you know somebody is transgender because they’ve told you
03:28
or you’ve heard about it
03:30
it’s really important that you’re careful about not outing them to anybody else.
03:34
There are couple of laws that pertain to this
03:38
The Gender Recognition Act 2004
03:40
it’s actually a criminal offence in a professional capacity
03:44
to tell somebody that somebody else is transgender
03:47
and also the Equality Act 2010
03:51
Ensures that we don’t harass, discriminate or victimise somebody because they are trans
03:57
Some people transition and just want to live their life as quietly as anybody else
04:01
in the gender that they know themselves to be
04:04
So by outing somebody, you could put a serious risk to their mental health, physical health
04:10
and it might lead to something really, really serious
04:14
There’s definitely times where I’ve been outed, against my will
04:20
I know I am very out and proud and happy to talk about being trans
04:24
but it’s still wrong to do that
04:27
The power of that should be in the individual and never by those around them
04:32
As colleagues we should be really mindful about showing respect to trans people
04:37
So for example, just because somebody might have a deep voice
04:41
it doesn’t automatically mean they are going to identify as male
04:45
So if somebody says they are a miss or a missus
04:48
even though they might sound what you think is a man
04:51
it’s important to respect the fact that they’ve told you that they are in fact female
04:57
If somebody shares what their preference is
05:00
they are trusting you
05:01
If you make a mistake, it’s fine, just try not to do it again
05:06
Even though we might not have anybody at work that is openly transgender
05:11
it’s really important to remember that you don’t know that they might be
05:16
in the closet about being trans or they might have somebody in their family
05:21
or one of their friends is trans
05:22
You might be having what you think is an innocuous chat around the water cooler
05:25
about a trans celebrity that you’ve seen in the press
05:29
and you might say something that we consider offensive
05:32
but don’t realise you’ve said it
05:33
So it’s really important to understand about trans terminology
05:38
and about trans people’s feelings
05:40
Just as you would about somebody from a BAME background or from a disabled background
05:46
You don’t know who’s around or who’re your affecting
05:49
My brother would go to work for example
05:51
and people didn’t know he had a transgender sister
05:53
and he would suffer the same comments or jokes in general society
05:59
and suffer the same for them
06:02
When we raise the conversation about being trans, certainly in the workplace
06:05
the toilet conversation always comes up
06:07
You can pre-plan for all of this
06:09
it shouldn’t be beholden on the trans individual to make that happen
06:13
It can happen before you have someone trans working for you
06:16
So you’re already prepared
06:17
Gender neutral facilities are really easy to implement
06:20
There has to be a line in the sand drawn at some particular point in a transition
06:25
where we allow somebody the facilities for the gender they are identifying with
06:30
and that should be done in agreement with line manager and the person themselves
06:35
It’s important to say that once somebody has reached that decision
06:40
that the organisation supports them and takes steps against anybody
06:45
who chooses to challenge that process
06:49
and that can be in a disciplinary, or in a supervisionary conversation, or something like this
06:54
But it’s really important that we address anybody who says that somebody
06:59
shouldn’t be using a facility that’s been agreed that they can use
07:02
Don’t make a trans person, once they’ve come out to you, have to only use the disabled toilet
07:08
They are the kind of things that really create some form of stigma
07:13
for people who need to use the disabled toilet anyway
07:15
but also for the trans person
07:19
because they are not being allowed to use the facilities according to their gender.
07:23
Clothing that they say that they prefer, should be given to them, certainly in the workplace
07:28
There can be flexibility on behalf of the person
07:31
but there definitely has to be flexibility on behalf of the organisation
07:34
to really show that those staff members are valued and that they are included.
07:39
So in Westminister Police, in custody, we have very gendered uniforms
07:43
The men wear clip on ties and the women wear cravats
07:46
And no questions were asked at all, I was sent to uniform stores
07:48
I was quite anxious: ‘What if they send me to the female uniform stores even though I applied
07:52
as Dylan and male?’
07:53
They didn’t, they sent me straight to the male uniform stores and I got my tie
07:57
and I got my male uniform, and it was brilliant, no questions were asked.
08:01
So at the restaurant we’re working on changing the public bathrooms to non identified
08:08
And I think that’s really important so that you don’t feel like people are judging you
08:11
I’ve had security follow me into toilets
08:14
That’s the kind of thing that can scar you
08:16
You may not realise it, but years later it can still cause an effect
08:21
I know people who don’t even use the bathroom in public spaces
08:24
they will wait the whole day until they get home because they are nervous
08:29
of having some kind of judgement.
08:33
If you’re woman, you’re entitled to use the women’s loos
08:36
and if you’re a man, you’re entitled to use the men’s loos
08:39
Doesn’t matter how far in your transition you are
08:43
We’re going to look back and think that gendered toilets were a ridiculous idea
08:47
Since Brexit it’s fair to say that we’ve seen an increase in hatecrimes across a lot of
08:52
minority communities
08:53
We want to make sure that LGBT people feel safe in reporting those crimes to the Police
08:59
and can actually see that things are getting done when they do report
09:02
Hatecrime can take many forms and even things like
09:06
being shouted at, being spat at – we encourage trans people to report these
09:11
because even though they might feel it’s not a big deal or there are more important crimes to solve
09:17
it builds up a pattern of intelligence should something more serious happen
09:23
Don’t have any preconceived ideas of what the person might be like, might not be like
09:28
It’s a person
09:29
I’m sure there will be lots of questions that you have
09:34
Ask those questions – that person would be only too pleased to tell you as much as they
09:39
are comfortable with, about themselves, and about the journey they’ve had to get to where
09:43
they are at the moment

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Photo credit: Screenshot from video

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