Poll finds two-thirds of transgender employees hide their identity at work

According to a recent TotalJobs poll, the number of trans people hiding their identity at work is increasing.

A survey of 410 workers found that two thirds (65%) of trans employees hide their identity at work, compared to half (52%) five years ago.

This comes as Jamie Wallis yesterday became the first openly transgender MP, revealing he has had gender dysphoria from a young age.

Trans Visibility Day is dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of transgender and gender non-conforming people around the world, while remembering those who have lost their lives to transphobia.

However, it also serves as an opportunity to raise awareness of the work that still needs to be done to support people both in and out of the workplace.

Kate Palmer, HR and Advisory Director at Peninsula said: “The fact that the number of transgender employees who hide their identity at work has increased over the last five years shows that there is still a lot more work to be done. As a society, we are getting better at recognising the struggles trans people face and we should be seeing this reflected in the workplace.

“A report conducted in 2018 found that nearly half of all UK employers are unsure if they would recruit a transgender worker and less than a quarter of employers are aware of the laws protecting their rights.

“More than ever employees are looking for what sets your company apart from the others that they will be applying to. Proving that you actively support your employees and are a trans-friendly workplace could be the selling point that persuades them to join your team.”

A third of transgender employees say that they have experienced discrimination at work and more than two in five have quit a job because their working environment was unwelcoming.

Creating a safe space, such as a network group where employees can meet and discuss shared difficulties, is a good way to help support your employees. You should also ensure that a thorough and well-thought-out complaints procedure is in place, should they face discrimination.

Kate Palmer adds: “All transgender employees are protected under the Equality Act 2010, but some may have additional protection if they have received a gender recognition certificate (GRC).

“If someone is granted a GRC they are protected through law against the disclosure of any information relating to their gender history. It should be noted that employers are not allowed to ask if an employee has a GRC.

“Less than 2% of businesses have a transitioning at work policy and only 3% have an official support system in place for workers that wish to disclose their transgender status.

“Harassment based on gender identity and expression can take many forms in the workplace including inappropriate comments or questioning, teasing, isolation, bullying, and other forms of verbal abuse.

“Employers have a duty of care to prevent this but with the number of trans people choosing to hide their identity, it seems not enough is being done.”

“While the trend over the last five years is concerning, there are ways for employers to challenge and even reverse it. By encouraging open dialogue and demonstrating tolerance in the workplace, transgender employees will feel more confident in safely coming out.

“A combination of factors has led to this trend, but to help reverse it, you must make your company one of the leading voices in trans visibility and acceptance. One way to do this is to openly celebrate Trans Visibility Day, both in the office and on company social media, while featuring trans workers in marketing and promotional material.”

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