Workplace Transition Central
A Support Resource for Transgendered Employees, their Employers, and Helping Professionals

Overview
Upcoming Topics
Workplace Transition - News of Interest
Workplace Transition Stories
Resources

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ATTENTION:

In preparation for providing real-life experiences of workplace transitions, I will need people to provide their stories for me to publish at this site.  Please contact me for details if you would like to provide your story for possible inclusion.

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Trans 101 DVD - July 2006

I gave a talk at Eastman Kodak last August.  It was video taped for use as a Corporate Trans 101 DVD that we were talking about creating at HRC.  The talk went very well.  I subsequently got a copy of the video and although I generally don't like to see myself on screen I was pretty happy with the way it turned out.

It has been almost a year between then and now.  Things have progressed much slower than they should, and although I'm told that there is an edited version of it somewhere at HRC (they edited an hour out of the original hour and 45 minute footage) the fact of the matter is that this footage is too important to allow it to sit on a shelf somewhere.  A friend has copied the version that I have to DVD, and I'm happy to distribute it as needed until the finished version is delivered (if ever).

I mention this because there are companies that desperately need trans education who wouldn't know where to find it.  If you work for one of these companies, or you know someone in HR or diversity who might benefit from some trans education, feel tree to have them contact me.  I have about 20 of these DVD's so I'm happy to provide them until they're gone.

 

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Overview

Workplace gender transitions are a big deal.  In fact, for many of us it's among the most difficult things we'll ever do in our entire lives.  It's where our personal issue suddenly becomes a workplace issue; where our careers, our reputations, and our very financial livelihoods can suddenly become vulnerable to assault as a result of simply being ourselves. The results can range from amazingly successful, to tragic.

A workplace transition is something that very few transsexuals can avoid, as we're all people and most us have jobs.  Most of us follow the Harry Benjamin Standards that require us to live for at least a year in our new gender role before we can obtain Sex Reassignment Surgery.  As a result, the probability that our changes will go unnoticed by coworkers and peers is very, very low.

In a global economy where diversity awareness has become a business imperative for many companies, employers often find themselves scrambling to manage the ever-increasing stream of workplace transitions. A Reuters article dated Nov. 9, 2003 titled "Transsexuals New Focus of Companies' Legal Protection" highlights the new visibility and legitimacy that this issue is receiving in the workplace.  More and more employers are making a tangible commitment to their transgendered employees by adding "gender identity and expression" to their list of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) protections.  More and more employers and finding ways to minimize disruption, and maximize productivity and the probability of retaining their valuable employees throughout an employee's gender transition.  More and more companies are finding ways of continuing "business as usual".

This level of success does not come easily, especially when considered in the context of continuing public perceptions of transgendered people.  The results of a 2002 poll conducted by the Human Rights Campaign that focused on public perception of transgender people yielded some rather startling statistics. Take a look at some of the numbers:

Most Common Place Where a Person is Likely To Know a Transgendered Person

Personal Acquaintance 39%
At Work 33%

 

Which of the following is closest to how you would feel about working with a transgender person?

I would have no problem working with a transgender person 48%
I could work with a transgender person, but it would be a little uncomfortable 26%
I could with with a transgender person, but I would not like it 15%
I would not be willing to work with a transgender person 8%
Don't know 3%

 

What are your feelings about transgendered people?

  Responses among those who know someone who is transgender Responses among those who DO NOT know someone who is transgender
Positive feelings 48% 18%
Neutral 36% 53%

Source:  The State of the Workplace For Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Americans 2002 (Human Rights Campaign)

 

How can these numbers be improved?  What can employers do to address the fact that these numbers indicate that nearly 25% of their employees either would refuse to work with a transgendered employee outright, or would do it if forced but would not like it?  What can we learn from the dramatic difference in public feeling towards transgendered people simply based on whether they've actually met one of us or not?  How can both employers, and transitioning individuals, maximize the potential for ensuring safe and healthy workplace transitions? 

These are but a few of the questions that this site is meant to address.

Upcoming Topics:

        An Open Letter To Employers

        An Open Letter To Transgendered Employees

        TS-101.  A Transgender Primer.

        Corporate Best Practices

        Common Transition Strategies

        Ten Common Mistakes

        Managing Your Workplace Transition Like a Project

        Real-Life Workplace Transition Stories

        Resources

 


Workplace Issues  - News of Interest:

Recent Media Attention

Over the past few weeks the topic of  Transgender Issues In The Workplace has gotten quite a bit of media attention. This is wonderful to see, as it helps to validate the special issues we face, and it demonstrates that business in this country is way ahead of the government in terms of providing discrimination protection and support for us.  Here are a few recent examples:

July 31, 2005 - An Employee, Hired as a Man, Becomes a Woman.  Now What?  (NY Times)
July 29, 2005 - Raytheon Protects Transgender Employees.  - the first of the six large defense firms to do so.
June 9, 2005  - Transgender Employees See Changes in Colleagues, Too (USA Today)

 

Press Release from the Human Rights Campaign (June 6, 2005)

The State of the Workplace is an annual report, published by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Workplace Project. This report is a national source of information on laws and policies surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace. The HRC Workplace Project advises employees and employers on the value of workplace diversity. It collects, analyzes and disseminates information to assist employees and employers in implementing policies and procedures aimed at treating gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender workers equally

 Get it here.

 

Press Release from the Human Rights Campaign (June 18, 2004)

Responding to the increased visibility of transgender people in workplaces across the United States, the Human Rights Campaign Foundationís WorkNet project has created a new guide, Transgender Issues in the Workplace: A Tool for Managers, to help employers understand and manage this emerging diversity concern.  

I am proud to have participated in developing this tool - I wish something like it had been available for my employer during my own transition.  Get it here.

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Out and Equal Workplace Summit (The 2006 Conference will be in Chicago on Sept. 14-16)

Out and Equal Workplace Advocates is an organization dedicated to education and training on GLBT issues in the Workplace.  They hold an annual Workplace Summit that provides an opportunity to bring together GLBT advocates and educators, HR professionals, managers, employee resource group members, and others looking for information on the latest GLBT workplace information, how to develop GLBT awareness and policy in their own company, and networking opportunities with leaders in the community.  It is a wonderful event, and I highly encourage any GLBT employee to strongly urge their HR management, and anyone else who might be a "change agent" at their company, to attend.

 


Workplace Transition Stories

09/2005 - I have moved the Workplace Transition Stories provided by readers to the Our Stories page.

 

Resources

Transsexuals in the Workplace - A Survivor's Perspective - This is a handout I sometimes provide at workplace discussions.  It provides an overview of transgender terms and topics.