Diversity and Inclusion

Creating a Gender-Affirming Workplace: A People Ops Guide

How can I contribute to a gender-affirming work environment?

What you can do about this varies widely relative to your role in the organization.

If you are in People-Ops

When crafting your HR policies and selecting the tools to support those policies, think actively about your under-represented groups, including transgender people. Do not assume that transgender people are so in the minority that they are not your concern. Seek them out and ask them about their needs. Do not assume that you don’t have transgender individuals at your company just because you don’t know of any.

Examine the details of your health care policy with an eye toward these double standards. Does your policy cover post-mastectomy breast reconstruction, but call transgender breast augmentation “cosmetic?” Does it cover a prosthetic wig for women with alopecia but not for transgender women? Does it cover preemptive mastectomy for those at high risk of breast cancer, but deem trans-masculine mastectomy “cosmetic?” Don’t hide from these issues when you find them. They represent opportunities for improvement when selecting the following year’s policy. If your provider states that expansive transgender health care is not something they cover, ask them why not. It’s good to push. They will not change unless you do.

When selecting tools, ensure that they allow for preferred names, for they/them and neopronouns, for non-binary gender identities, and for easy changes to this information. Work with your IT department to ensure these policies are standardized. 

Most importantly, and this is true of all of the minorities represented in your staff. Unless you are a member of that minority, do not assume that you understand their needs. Ask someone. Be open. Learn for yourself. 

Take initiative and take this opportunity to explore our comprehensive employer’s guide on fostering support for transgender individuals in the workplace.

If you are NOT in People-Ops

Become an informed consumer by requesting the Summary Plan Document for your health care policy. It is a lengthy and tedious document, but it is the single source of truth regarding what the policy does and does not cover.

Armed with that information, engage your manager in a conversation about ways in which you believe the company can do better. Speak privately but ardently to your HR team. Lean on their insight into the political and bureaucratic structures in your organization. Learn who the decision makers are and the best ways to engage them. Larger companies often have affinity groups or employee resource groups that can be excellent resources for information and positive action. 

Ultimately, when HR and its systems are unable to provide me with basic human rights in the workplace, I cannot work and live as my authentic self. It detracts from my safety at work. It makes me feel alienated, frustrated, angry, and despairing in equal measure. If I have the benefit of passing privilege*, that makes me afraid to disclose my transgender status. I have to wonder what I stand to lose. And if I don’t disclose, it makes me feel as though I cannot be myself, cannot be my gender, at work.

Take the initiative and take this opportunity to explore our comprehensive employer’s guide on fostering support for transgender individuals in the workplace.

* When transgender people so successfully perform gender that they are mistaken for cisgender, they are accorded a level of privilege that they would not otherwise have access to.

Change can begin with me but it can also begin with you. Raise these questions. Start the conversation. There is no better time now.

Begin your journey toward a more gender-affirming workplace by participating in our engaging lunch & learn program dedicated to LGTBQIA+ culture and fostering an environment of inclusivity that benefits all. Schedule a chat with our team today!

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button