Inclusion | Two-thirds of trans staff have hidden identity at work

Two-thirds of trans staff have hidden identity at work

According to the latest report from TotalJobs, the wellbeing of trans professionals in the workplace has deteriorated significantly over the past five years, as more hide their status at work now than they did half a decade ago.

The report, which polled over 400 trans employees and was conducted in partnership with YouGov, noted that a worrying 65% of respondents claimed that they find it necessary to hide their trans status at work.

The up-to-date figures are in stark comparison to data collated five years ago, with a 13% rise on the same report in 2016 when 52% stated they deem it necessary to do so.

It also seems that trans status is preventing professionals from gaining employment; over half of respondents believe that they have been previously denied roles as a result. A further 50% admitted to masking their true selves to increase their chances of landing a job.

Currently just 56% of trans employees feel comfortable sharing their status with colleagues. However, around 51% noted that their colleagues did respond positively to them coming out, compared to 50% in 2016.

Only five per cent confirmed that colleagues had reacted negatively – a 50% reduction on the 2016 results.

Yet, whilst this number has reduced, the lived experience of trans workers in the workplace should be a concern to HR, as one in three have experienced some form of anti-trans abuse over the past five years.

Around 32% of respondents said that they had experienced bullying or insults, 27% had been targeted in ‘deadnaming’ – or the act of calling someone by a gendered name that they no longer identify with – and 30% noted that colleagues had deliberately misused pronouns.

One-quarter of trans employees have experienced some form of social exclusion by colleagues, 17% have been left out from work projects and six per cent have been physically abused or threatened in the workplace.

How can HR support trans employees?

A recent report from LGBTHealth noted that there are several key initiatives that businesses must consider in order to support trans employees.

Firstly, it should institute a ‘zero tolerance' policy on abusive language or behaviour, making it absolutely clear that equality in the workplace is an essential part of corporate culture.

HR can also promote insight into the lived experience of trans employees by providing platforms, support groups and celebrating Pride as key ways of sharing stories.

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However, HR must be aware that those who do not wish to discuss their status at work are within their rights to do so and ‘outing’ people is a form of harassment.

To ensure that LGBT+ staff are supported and included in all aspects of working life, Kate Williams, Associate Director of Workplaces at Stonewall previously told HR Grapevine that the people function and employers should tweak policies so that they are inclusive of all LGBT+ staff.

She previously advised: “There are so many ways that organisations can take tangible actions to champion LGBT+ people in their workforce – from ensuring that their policies are inclusive of LGBT people, to creating virtual events for staff to celebrate awareness days like LGBT+ History Month.”

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