Transition is the word we use to refer to the action a person takes to get to feel comfortable from the gender assigned at birth (male or female) to the gender they align or identify with.
When a transgender person decides to transition, everyone in their lives are involved, which includes work peers, friends, and family.
Trans-Friendly Policies for Ethical Businesses
Many employees won’t transition due to fear of being bullied, or worse, losing their job. Offering a transition at work policy will help your employees feel more comfortable with embracing themselves at work.
A transition at work policy ensures that protections and accommodations are in place for transgender individuals. It outlines repercussions for harassment, how they navigate the workplace, and more. For more details on what a transition at work policy is, read this report on transgender employment policies.
Having these policies in place will positively affect your employee’s happiness levels, their performance, and their interactions with other colleagues.
Sex and Gender: the Difference and Why it Matters
It is important to keep in mind that sex and gender are not the same, though they have been intrinsically related for over the last century in western cultures.
Sex is our biological features. It determines if we are male, female, or intersex. There are 5 physical traits that help to determine our sex: reproductive organs, sexual organs, chromosomes, gonads, and hormones.
In western countries, we only use two of them in determining sex. When a baby is born, a doctor identifies their sex according to their sexual organs. Reproductive organs might come to play here, but that’s it!
1:2000 births are assigned intersex, though it has been proven that up to a 4% of the population is born with differences between the 5 physical traits. For example, someone may be born with male organs, and female chromosomes and hormones.
Gender is the inner sense of oneself. It involves the individual and cultural understanding of gendered behaviors and roles. The meaning of gender varies amongst cultures, and at different times. Western societies enforce gender norms based on sex-gender linked roles.
Masculine males and feminine females are considered the natural and normal expressions in our societies, though it is important to consider that this is only part of how people experience gender. We need to learn to include everyone’s experiences about gender and normalize them all.
Why Intersectionality Matters in Your Business
Intersectionallity is the study of the relationships between different social categories and how they intersect between them. Different social categories intersect and affect experiences, structures of power, and oppression. Oppression is complicated and differs from one culture to another.
You should definitely keep that in mind when creating inclusion policies for your company, as things such as sex, race, income/status, and gender can be decisive factors to create your anti-harassment policies. It is best to build out policies that are inclusive of different cultural and societal views.
How to Create a ‘Transition at Work’ Policy for Your Business
Say, you want to have an LGBT friendly company and don’t know where to start. Here you can find some tips and tricks on how to create your own “Transition at work policy” to support all your transgender employees during their transition.
Benefits of Having a ‘Transition at Work’ Policy
The advantages of having a transition at work policy are many, starting with the fact that your transgender employees will feel safe at work and won’t feel the need to change their workplace if they want to transition.
Creating a transition at work policy will educate your employees on how to interact with transgender people, which will become an advantage not only in peer-to-peer interactions, but also when your employees speak with any transgender customer.
Your company’s reputation will benefit, as you will be known as a trans-inclusive business, and will be working towards becoming one of the best places to work at.
Other Outcomes of Having a ‘Transition at Work’ Policy
You will need to invest time and money into educating your employees.
You might lose extremist employees that disagree with your inclusion company policies
The benefits of having a trans-inclusive business policy far outweighs the setbacks.
Getting Started on Creating a Trans-Inclusive Business
Vocabulary is extremely important. Use words such as transgender and gender identity. Transgender is an adjective– remember it when creating your policy.
Your policy should offer guidance, but be flexible. Each individual will transition differently and that should be explained in your policy.
Create different policies for different roles in the company. Executives, management, and staff won’t have the same role during a colleague transition nor need to know the same policies.
Don’t forget to emphasize that the transgender person is the one in control of the whole transition process in your policy. Reassure them that their colleagues and managers are there for support pre, during, and post transition.
Transitioning may include or not medical procedures (hormones, surgery). It is important that you include that in your policy leaflets so your employees will not harass any transgender peer with less than pleasant questions like “When will you get surgery?”
Reassure managers that they will have support if needed in any matter related to a transgender employee.
Have questions about creating a trans-friendly business? Leave them in the comments below!