LGBTQ+ refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer/questioning, with the plus sign signifying a desire to be inclusive.
Transgender or Trans, the T in *LGBTQ+, is an umbrella term used to describe individuals whose gender is not the same as the sex they were assigned with at birth. A transgender man is a term that can be used to describe an individual who was assigned male when born but now identifies and lives a woman, and vice versa for transgender women.
The term transition refers to the process and steps an individual may choose to take in order to live as the gender of which they identify; each and every transition process is unique to the individual. For some this process may involve medical intervention such as hormone therapy and surgeries, however not all trans people may want or are able to have these procedures.
There are many other transitioning steps that an individual can take, one of which is telling their employer and colleagues.
It is vital as an employer that you take the necessary steps to ensure there is an inclusive culture within your workplace, one that on a day-to-day basis, not just during a transition period, supports your Transgender employees.
Ensuring this, may include asking yourself and your employees some difficult questions…
- Are the inclusions and diversity policies followed by your company underpinned by core principles that actively celebrate, support and encourage differences?
- If you have them, are the processes you have in place for employees to voice any concerns and issues regarding microaggression, inclusivity and diversity adequate, user friendly and more importantly analysed and responded too?
In the likelihood your policies and processes need some work, here are some recommendations for how you can go about tackling the problems.
- Work with your LGBTQ+ staff in a positive, proactive manner, commit to having a two-way communication stream that supports the utilisation of their insights and personal expertise, with the aim of altering your HR policies and practices and therefore the company culture.
- Educate and re-educate your managers and other level employees on LGBTQ+ terminology and how best they can support their LGBTQ+ colleagues, this will help your managers to make sure they are implementing all HR practices on equal grounds.
- Actively champion LGBTQ+ inclusion and diversity from top management, create relationships with supporting organisations and have top level managerial allies.