To help in cultivating supportive relationships, work groups should be told when those who are transitioning will be out of the office, whether they will return part-time, and what work will have to be covered during their absence. Emphasizing the need for coworkers to show sensitivity, provide emotional support, and act in ways that affirm the gender identity of their colleagues is crucial. For example, people can make it clear that they are available to talk about any issues related to transitioning or gender expression-while following trans employees’ lead about when and where to have those conversations. That approach enhances feelings of support and care and allows trans employees to be comfortable having honest conversations with their colleagues. Even well-intentioned employees may be nervous about their ability to support a colleague through a transition, and employers can help ease some of their anxiety by taking the above steps.
3. Develop Trans-Specific Diversity Training
More general training on gender-identity topics is also essential. Although media coverage has helped facilitate conversations about gender identity and expression, corporate diversity trainings still have room for improvement. We offer two recommendations:
A large body of research on the “contact hypothesis” suggests that providing opportunities to build relationships with specific groups-to hear their stories, appreciate their challenges, and gain empathy-is critical for shifting attitudes and behavior toward them. However, it is not the responsibility of members of the LGBTQ+ community to educate others or to be visible in this way; “out” trans employees should be included in trainings only if they are willing. If they’re not, many corporate training firms and LGBTQ+ nonprofit organizations offer training of this nature. Continue reading “1. Include contact with those who identify along the trans identity spectrum”