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Joanne Lockwood

SEE Change Happen Ltd

Inclusion and Belonging Specialist

Read more from Joanne Lockwood

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Transgender Day of Visibility: It is your job

Joanne Lockwood examines Transgender Day of Visibility, current negative representations and what organisations can do to support trans employees.

On March 31st, we celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility (#TDoV), an occasion to recognise and honour the contributions of transgender individuals to our society, as well as acknowledge the discrimination they face. However, the past few years have brought increased visibility for trans individuals for all the wrong reasons. 

For example, trans individuals are often portrayed in the media as "cheats" in sports, "threats" in prisons, or "damagers" of young people when supporting their choice of gender identity. Trans people also face discrimination in employment, housing, healthcare, and education, and they are more likely to experience harassment, violence, and homelessness compared to cisgender individuals.

Moreover, the use of derogatory terms and negative stereotypes in the media perpetuates harmful and untrue myths about trans individuals, leading to further discrimination and stigma. This can include sensationalized stories that present trans individuals as a threat to public safety, or false information that suggests that gender-affirming healthcare is dangerous or unnecessary.

Transgender employees must be safe.

As a business, you can make a significant impact by creating a safe and inclusive environment for transgender employees. The Totaljobs survey carried out in 2021 showed that 40% of trans people identify colleagues expressing anti-trans opinions as a significant workplace concern. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that the workplace is a safe space for transgender individuals.

To do this, businesses need to do more than just temporary displays of support, such as changing their logos or hosting quick learning sessions. Instead, they should implement robust anti-bullying and discrimination policies that clearly define acceptable language in the workplace and personal social media. 

For instance, The BBC vs Gary Linker case demonstrates that companies cannot ignore the impact of personal social media on the workplace.

take action to counter negative rhetoric

Trans Day of Visibility: Take action now

This year, businesses can take action to counter negative rhetoric, dispel myths and misconceptions, and learn more about the experiences of transgender individuals. 

Transgender Day of Visibility is an opportunity to promote visibility and acceptance for transgender individuals as who they truly are: individuals, a community, and human beings. 

By standing up as allies, businesses can help transgender individuals thrive in the workplace and show their talents based on their abilities, rather than their gender identity.

What is your role as an organisation?

Businesses have a critical role to play in supporting transgender employees and creating inclusive workplaces. Here are three key takeaways for businesses to become more aware of the challenges trans people face:

Educate yourself and your employees

Transgender individuals face unique challenges in the workplace and beyond. It is important to educate yourself and your employees about the experiences of trans people and how to be supportive. Providing resources such as training, workshops, and reading materials can be a great way to promote understanding and awareness.

Create inclusive policies and practices

 Businesses should create policies and practices that are inclusive of transgender individuals. This could include providing gender-neutral restrooms and allowing employees to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity. It is also important to ensure that healthcare benefits cover gender-affirming care and that dress code policies are inclusive of diverse gender expressions.

Foster a culture of respect and support

Creating a culture of respect and support is essential for promoting inclusivity in the workplace. Encourage employees to use our pronouns and avoid making assumptions about gender based on appearance. Providing opportunities for transgender individuals to connect with others in the workplace can also help build a sense of community.

If you can, stand-up as allies.

What to do as an organisation in 2023 

For Transgender Day of Visibility please consider countering negative rhetoric, dispelling the myths and misconceptions, simply learning about how we are forced to live, and allow us to visible for who we are.  

Help us transform from a marginalised minority who are often discounted for jobs based on our gender identity, to being allowed to show and use our talents in work. If you can, please do stand-up as allies.  

Transgender Day of Visibility has to redefine visibility and allow transgender people to be seen for who they truly are, as individuals, as a community, and as human beings. We are after all just everyday people wanting to thrive, wanting to be ourselves.

Interesting in this topic? Read more from Joanne Lockwood

Author Profile Picture
Joanne Lockwood

Inclusion and Belonging Specialist

Read more from Joanne Lockwood

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