Drawing from the lived experience of trans professionals and industry leaders, PIOW’s Trans Workplace Inclusion Series explored the complexities of coming out and transitioning in professional spaces, strategies for seeking and signaling allyship, and the need to back inclusion policies with consistent trans-affirming practices. Watch the Learning from Lived Experience Panel and the Implementing Policy and Best Practices Panel below or on PIOW’s YouTube page. Continue reading for our series recap, best practices, and a digital download to share with your team.
Supporting trans professionals
Companies should be proactive, not reactive, in creating trans-inclusive policies and resources. If a company waits until hiring trans employees or until someone comes out to develop training and implement inclusion policies, the organization is already behind.
- Allyship is a constant practice of supporting others and is something that we all work towards. Commit to connecting with trans professionals, learning more about community needs, and leveraging your privilege to advocate for equitable spaces for all employees.
- It is not the responsibility of trans employees to educate coworkers or company leadership. The experience of educating can be exhausting or triggering and will take away from office productivity. For trans professionals, set boundaries about what you’re comfortable sharing and what resources you need to protect your own mental health.
- Believe and support trans people when they choose to share their experiences. Follow the lead of trans employees in keeping shared information private and using appropriate pronouns across various professional contexts.
Policy vs. Practice
While it is important to include “gender identity and expression” in your workplace nondiscrimination statement, companies must go deeper than written policies to adequately support their employees with inclusive and affirming practices.
- Embed diversity, equity, and inclusion training in the employee onboarding process. Provide resources addressing transgender and non-binary identities, pronoun usage, and allyship strategies. If you don’t have the ability to develop these resources internally, hire a consultant to write policies and train staff. Make these resources easily accessible online.
- Communicate to employees, clients, and external stakeholders that your company has a zero-tolerance policy for transphobic jokes, language, and harassment. If you notice a pattern of transphobic behavior, alert the appropriate department in your organization or, depending on the context and frequency of comments, confront individuals directly.
- Continuously recruit and track the retention of gender-diverse employees. Offer surveys and exit interviews to understand how you can better support current and future staff.
Panel 1: Learning from Lived Experience
Our first session aimed to amplify the voices of trans professionals speaking to the current state of trans inclusion and (in)equity at work.
We would like to thank Cheryl Katon, Ryan Rasdall, and Trevor Boylston for sharing their stories with us. We would also like to thank Tori Kaufmann-Paulman for moderating this discussion.
Panel 2: Implementing Policy and Best Practices
Our second session featured industry leaders and consultants diving deeper into best practices in implementing impactful trans workplace policies and fostering cultures of belonging.
Pride in Our Workplace also thanks Ellen LaPointe, Irene Brank, Jennifer L. Levi, and Colleen Simonelli for sharing their insights in the second part of this series.