Is your workplace ready to welcome LGBTI millennials?
Hear from K, the newest member of team RISE.
I was sixteen when I first came to the realization that I am genderfluid.
I can still remember the moment–it was early morning, the sun hadn’t risen yet, and the stars were twinkling over the coconut grove outside my window. As I came to the conclusion, a strange sense of relief settled on me. Like the final piece of the puzzle had fit into place.
This sudden lightness, however, lasted only a few days—I had to come out to my family and everyone I cared about—but those details are for another time. Along with the confusion and indecision that accompanied coming out, was the question, “will I ever get a job now?”.
At the time, I was afraid that the answer would be “no”. But as months passed, as I interacted more with communities and people online, I learned of individuals and organization that are making it possible for people from all sections of society to engage in meaningful, dignified employment.
But enough with laying down the context—let’s get to the matter at hand. A few days ago, I contacted the founders of one such organization, called Pride Circle, looking for volunteering opportunities. They asked me for my perspective on an inclusive workplace.
Before I launch into that, however, I must make it clear that I cannot, and do not presume to speak on behalf of the Transgender community. We are all different, our ideas and views molded by our experiences, just like anyone else. That said, I will try to remain as neutral as possible.
The first thing that comes to mind at the mention of an inclusive workplace for trans people is the need for respect. Many cis people assume that it is acceptable to ask us questions they would never dream of asking other cis people. While I understand that they may be innocently curious, invasive personal questions can make trans people uncomfortable, especially in an office setting. Save your queries for a non-professional setting, if you must.
Secondly, in an ideal world, washrooms would not be gendered. I know that this would be nearly impossible to implement, but nonbinary people are often left in a lurch because washrooms are either male or female. Similarly, forms are often marked with only two options in the gender section.
Parental leave, when having a baby, is another issue that becomes a bit complicated when viewed from the trans angle. for instance, some trans men do opt to bear babies. They should have adequate leave to recover and care for the child, just like cis women.
Health insurance is also fairly black-and-white, although that is now changing. Some cis people say that we should mark the gender assigned at birth, because that’s how our bodies function, but it’s not that easy. Trans bodies are different and medical care should be inclusive of that.
Another of my pet nightmares is the scenario in which a trans person makes a mistake at work, as all people are wont to, and suddenly, all trans people are written off as the same. That’s unfair, in simple terms. It also makes work so much more stressful.
Often, it’s the small things that add up, that make work and interaction in general difficult. I believe in the adage ‘live and let live’. Don’t let your biases and prejudices make life uncomfortable for someone else. Just respect other people, its as simple as that.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to inclusive workplaces, but times are most definitely changing, so the future looks very bright and promising.
Join the inclusion revolution, upload your resume here : https://resume.thepridecircle.com/