In 2021, we have the impression that people can be who they are without prejudice or judgement, but the reality for people who identify as transgender is very different. A new YouGov survey has shown that more transgender people are hiding their identity at work than there were five years ago, and this highlights how employers need to be doing more to provide support and be proactive in policy and practice implementation to create safe working environments for transgender people.
Stonewall estimate that around 1% of the UK population identifies as transgender, including those who identify as non-binary, which is as many as 600,000 people, many of whom may feel unable to be their true selves in the workplace. 410 UK trans people were involved in the YouGov survey and 65% of them said hey had to hide their trans status in work, while this figure was only 52% in 2016 in a similar survey. The poll also found a shocking 32% of respondents had been discriminated against in the workplace and 43% had actually quit due to the unwelcoming nature of their work environment.
Stonewall pushes for Workplace Trans Policies
Stonewall is the UK’s leading LGBTQ+ charity and they are committed to supporting transgender people at work. In response to the survey they have urged employers to consider putting in place transitioning at work policies and to ensure companies are a public and outspoken ally of trans people and their journeys. Stonewall believe companies should be celebrating important occasions such as Trans Day of Visibility on 31st March each year.
Employers need to recognise the need for zero tolerance towards transphobia, in the same way they would for any other discrimination. Organisations need to put policies in place which leave no room for imagination when it comes to appropriate action if a trans employee is abused or discriminated against.
The YouGov study sadly showed that over half of respondent felt their employer di not support their trans workforce through adequate training and only 36% said their employers had a dedicated policy for anti-transgender discrimination.
What can your Business do to Support Transgender Employees?
Employers need to take proactive measures to ensure trans employees feel safe and supported at work. This could be through specific training, such as our Level 2 Certification in LGBT Inclusion in the Workplace, something you could consider for all new employees during their induction or for trained employees within your company to provide the support trans employees may need.
Companies should look to make inclusivity and diversity a priority and in having a diverse recruitment policy, you’re signalling to others that your workplace is welcoming and supportive to people from all walks of life. This also looks good to clients and customers, who may be more likely to use your business if your employees reflect them and the world they live in.
In the 21st century no one should have to live a double life and people transitioning between genders should feel confident and safe in the workplace, as they do at home. Policy changes and an open, transparent approach to your business shouldn’t be too difficult to achieve, but it could make a huge difference to trans employees and potential employees considering working with your company.