What’s it like to be a trans employee?

I read with interest the Totaljobs employee survey about trans people – a survey completed by trans people about their job and career. They should be congratulated by taking up the chance to collate this survey and sharing it with a wide audience.

If you are trans there are no really surprises (it’s not great), however, if you are new to all this trans ‘stuff’ then you should probably read it. As very soon, if you’ve not already worked with (or met) someone who is trans – you will.

Things are not great for trans people. I work in IT – it is a male dominated, misogynistic environment – just go to any IT trade show or venture into any IT department for proof. As a professional woman this is neither inspiring or encouraging, and as a trans-woman it is all that and more. And IT is not the only environment where this is the case.

Typically, trans-women are less successful than genetic-women, and trans-men are ‘just about’ as successful as genetic-women after they transition in their careers. This simply should not be the case. Equality should be for everyone – including women and trans people.

The survey reveals that 10% of people that transition at work receive a “negative reaction”, and 36% left a job because it was unwelcoming for them as a trans person. Seriously, this is 2016. Who cares about someone’s gender? Well clearly some people do. And it needs to change, today.

Trans-women are the most visible, but there are many trans-men too who often just blend into the back-ground. The point is whatever someone’s gender is, or however they identify it has NOTHING to do with their ability to do a job.

Over half the trans people surveyed said their performance improved after they transitioned (that’s with the current level of support from colleagues). But, imagine if you could improve the performance over night of any of your workforce? WOW!

For me it’s not all great either, as I listened to a voicemail that was left for me the other week, it was recorded just before a recruitment agent hung-up after getting my message to say I was not available. It tailed off with “Rebecca, oh it’s a geezer”. Now, I simply can’t explain to you how disheartening this was – however – I know which agency it was, and I simply will not use them again, and I have at least 20 years in senior IT roles left.

But nobody needs to lose out here. In fact, everyone has something to gain. Businesses that have a supportive, trans-inclusive policies and act on them will simply encourage better performance from their trans employees (the ones that are out or yet to emerge). This also creates a better balance of well-being within the working environment that benefits EVERYONE in the organisation.

There is no room for discrimination here (trans or otherwise). If people are gossiping, bullying, miss-gendering a trans person that is simply not acceptable. This needs to be stopped, and challenged by colleagues as soon as it happens. Working environments need to be positive and encouraging – and this can be achieved without affecting tight-deadlines and ambition targets; I know as I’ve done it.

Someone’s gender identity and expression is no one else’s issues but that persons. And if someone has a difficulty with that, then they are the ones with a problem.

Am I happy being trans? Yes, I have never been happier, and I have never been more motivated.

Totaljobs Trans Employee Survey Report 2016

What’s it like to be a trans employee?

What’s it like to be a trans employee? [Infographic] by totaljobs


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