A study which was conducted last month has sadly found that 60% of transgender people have experienced discrimination in the work place.
This UK survey spoke with 435 people who identify as transgender, which for the purposes of the study was used as an umbrella term for anyone who feels that the biological sex assigned at birth fails to describe them.
Some of the key findings are:
- 60% have experienced trans discrimination at work – 38% from colleagues, 25% from management and 29% during job interview.
- 53% have felt the need to hide their trans status from colleagues.
- 51% believe acceptance and understanding of trans employees has improved in the workplace due to increased media focus on trans issues.
- 50% received positive reactions from colleagues when they transitioned.
- 29% reported not experiencing discrimination at work.
- 43% actively look for companies with trans-friendly policies when applying for jobs.
- 36% of trans people surveyed said they had left a job because the atmosphere at work was unwelcoming to them.
- 43% said they received support and/or guidance from their HR department when transitioning, while 21% said they received no support.
In terms of employer provisions to avoid discrimination against transgender people:
- 21% had no provisions for transgender employees.
- 23% had information on gender identity
- 25% had gender-neutral toilet facilities
- 63% included gender identity in anti-discrimination policies
The results were timed to release on Transgender Day of Visibility, which is today (March 31).
Transgender actress, Rebecca Root, commented on the results saying: “Even with the advances made in recent years in changing societal perceptions of the trans community, these figures clearly indicate there is still a way to go in diminishing transphobia in the workplace. The quest for making such spaces safe for trans people must continue.”
Filmmaker and trans activist Fox Fisher had this to say: “Staying in or seeking employment can be a potential nightmare when you’re trans. Many employers are unaware of our rights and we are often at a vulnerable stage of our transition. The irony is that so many trans people I know are extremely clever and willing to work. I was lucky that my employer was very supportive, although there was an adjustment phase which was difficult for everyone, including my new name, pronouns and getting used to my changes.”
There was also comment from another trans activist, Paris Less, who discussed the findings on a blog for TotalJobs. According to her post, she didn’t find the results of the survey all that surprising.
“The research echoes the discrimination trans people suffer in wider society. Being made to feel unsafe. Questioned. Rejected. These are all things that I and many other trans people have had to deal with when all we’ve ever wanted is to live our lives and be ourselves.”
And finally, Emma Cusdin, co-chair of the trans employee network group, Trans*formation weighed in: “This ground-breaking report clearly shows that there is a still a long way go to for employers to create truly trans inclusive workplaces. This report and International Transgender Day of Visibility should both be further wake up calls for employers to do more to stamp out discrimination and to make trans employees feel welcomed and valued.”
Clearly there is a lot of work to be done when it comes to transgender equality, which is echoed not only in these findings but also in the alarming amount of anti-trans “bathroom bills” that are trying to get pushed into law. It shows that despite our immense victories of late, we sadly have our work cut out for us to achieve true equality.