Adjustments for inclusion are a moral and practical imperative. Amy Grace explains how to ensure you and your workplace are trans-inclusive and that, while mistakes may happen during the learning process, the best apology for getting it wrong is to get it right in future.
The most important step towards creating trans-inclusive workplaces is to include trans people in your workplace!
Enormous strides have been made, over the past few years, towards greater public visibility and acceptance of trans people. For laboratories and other businesses, creating trans-inclusive work environments is both a moral and practical necessity.
Adjusting your language and behaviour for trans inclusivity might be a daunting prospect. In practice though, it can be made very easy. There are a few main areas where you should work to adjust personal language and behaviour.
Gender trans people correctly. Refer to your trans colleagues in ways they feel comfortable with. This includes using the correct name and pronouns.
Avoid invasive personal questions and comments. You wouldn’t ask a cis coworker about private aspects of their anatomy or sex life. You should extend the same courtesy to your trans colleagues.
Avoid making transphobic jokes or using transphobic language. You may not realise that some colloquial terms referring to trans people are very offensive. Check before you use these words if you're unsure.
Your trans coworkers understand that the move towards trans inclusivity is a learning process. Mistakes and slip-ups are easily forgiven if you’re trying to do better. A correction, even a blunt correction, isn’t something you should take personally. The best apology for getting it wrong is to get it right in the future. Over-apologising or drawing attention to your mistake are usually unhelpful.
That said, there’s a big difference between occasional slip-ups during the learning process and a pattern of consistent misgendering. The latter can often be a form of harassment or bullying and may have a serious impact on the victim’s emotional wellbeing.
The most important step towards creating trans-inclusive workplaces is to include trans people in your workplace! Trans people are often passed over in hiring for a variety of reasons, some of which you can work to reduce. Interviews, in particular, are an area of the hiring process where bias can creep in.
Steps towards making your workplace more trans-inclusive can often be guided by the specific needs of the trans people working there. It’s vital that trans workers feel they can safely talk about ways your workplace could be made more trans-inclusive.
Simultaneously be aware that many trans people may prefer that their transgender status isn’t discussed, or even acknowledged, at work.
For more information visit glaad.org and explore their transgender information
Author: Amy Grace is a graduate communicator with a focus on ethical and inclusive content creation