Every profession and industry has transgender people working in it. They need to have an inclusive yet safe working environment like everyone else. Although, many countries have laws against discrimination. Many people in the transgender community face the problem of unfair treatment towards them. You only need to follow a few simple tips to make your workplace safe and inclusive for everyone.Here are a few tips to help you better understand and work with your transgender co-workers.
Understand and Respect the Transgender Co-Workers
The transgender co-workers do not expect anything special from us. They want us to treat them with respect. You need to address a transgender from their name and the pronoun of their choice reflecting their chosen identity. Make sure to address them the way they like so that they are able to work in a comfortable environment.Also, like everyone else, they do not want others talking about them when they are not around. No one wants people to make fun of them. We must treat all our coworkers the way we want ourselves to be treated.
Do Not Ask Every Question That Comes To Your Mind
Everyone becomes curious about things that they do not know about. This may also include asking about something to build knowledge on that subject. In some cases, we just want to know more so we can be respectful to our transgender co-workers. However, we must keep in mind that a person do not necessarily have all the answers to your question.It is the same way as if someone had asked from us about our gender or identity and we may not have been able to give answers to all their questions. It is understandable that we sometimes get curious. However, we can use internet to learn more about any topic.There are many videos on the popular video-sharing platforms where they have interviewed persons from the transgender community. See these videos to get an idea of those ‘typical’ questions and stereotypes that make them uncomfortable.
Abide by Values of Dignity
Most of us have some kind of religious, political, or cultural affiliation. Therefore, we may have inherited some ideas objecting someone to be a transgender. Being respectful does not imply that we have to be rude or disrespectful to someone. We may still hold our thoughts inside us yet show respect. The showing of respect does not make us look as if we are not holding onto our beliefs or deviating from them.We may not necessarily have to show our disapproval or strong opinion against the transgender at the workplace. This means showing values of dignity that we all desire in our lives.The gender of a person should not decide the level of respect that we are willing to give to them. We must equally respect them all when we show up for work. It means our workplace attitudes or professional conduct must not exhibit what we might hold as our own thoughts in our private lives.
Help the Co-Workers Settle Down in their Job Roles
The top management in any organization can play an important role. They need to set a culture where everyone has to respect their coworkers regardless of their identity. It means making them understand the difference and being sensitive to other person’s need for more space. Therefore, the organization must only judge people by their work and not by their gender.
For example, if a company hires new employees, it must clearly communicate the policy of respecting the coworkers. Sometimes, employees are not sensitive to each other due to lack of clear communication about the organizational policy. In such case, it is not only a fault on the part of the employees but also the management failed to provide an equal employment opportunity.
Organizations must hold meetings and conferences to understand their transgender employees’ need for space and privacy. In this manner they will be able to better formulate and implement policies for creating a friendly and productive work environment
Respect Confidentiality and Give Space
Sometimes, non-transgender are very curious about the transition of a transgender co-worker. It not right to ask them questions about their medical history or a surgery they underwent. Surgery or transition is an extremely personal matter. No one is comfortable sharing about their medical history with someone.
Some people wrongly assume that their transgender coworkers will be comfortable sharing their private medical history. Even if your coworker initiates the conversation, make sure that you empathize with them. Become a good listener to understand their concerns and confidentiality.
Make sure to never discuss their transition or any other part of their medical history with anyone else, unless you are specifically told to do so. If you are allowed to discuss their matters with someone, try to provide them with as much assistance as possible to help others better understand them.
No one likes to be discriminated against. We always talk about ending these practices of discriminating against someone. However, unless we start from ourselves, we will not be able to make any real change to our workplaces.