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Creating an Inclusive Culture for Gender Non-Conforming Employees

Kelly Peters

When it comes to building an LGBTQ+ inclusive culture, many organizations have great policies in place that support their employees. But, often, these policies are more clear in their support of cisgender employees and don’t take into account gender non-conforming people.

(The term ‘cisgender’ means people whose gender identity corresponds with their assigned sex at birth.) 

Transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people exist too, and they offer a wealth of talent and knowledge to your organization.

As such, your HR team must work towards championing broader gender inclusivity. Here are three steps to get you started.

  1. Assess your current policies 

Chances are you already have a non-discrimination policy in place. Revisit your documentation and ensure it contains explicit guidelines around gender identity and expression.  

Some areas to consider: 

  • Privacy. Gender non-conforming individuals have the right to openly discuss their gender identity or to keep it private.  
  • Gender transition support. Ensure your HR team is prepared for gender transitions within the workplace. Assign support for any transitioning persons and have a process in place for implementing transition-related workplace changes (e.g. changing administrative records).  
  • Dress codes. Allow any gender non-conforming employee to dress in a manner that fits within their identity and gender expression.  
  • Restroom and locker room accessibility. Permit your employees, regardless of their gender identity, to use whichever restroom or locker room they feel comfortable in. You may want to consider gender-neutral bathrooms.  
  • Healthcare. Do you currently offer transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits? Are you eventually going to adopt these benefits? Express your intentions within your policy.  

For more in-depth advice, take a look at this model for creating a transgender employment policy. 

  1. Refactor your hiring process 

Transgender people are twice as likely to face unemployment than their cisgender counterparts. Your hiring process is an opportunity to change the tide, promote your inclusive culture and onboard awesome gender non-conforming employees. Demonstrate your ongoing commitment to building a diverse team and creating an inclusive culture.  

Here are some best practices:   

  • Scrutinize the wording of your job postings and ensure you use inclusive pronouns (‘they/them’ instead of ‘he/him’ or ‘she/her’). 
  • With training, tackle unconscious bias within your hiring teams, your hiring software, and your company as a whole.  
  • Within the interview process, respect your candidate’s pronouns and ask considered, gender inclusive questions.  
  • Make sure your employee onboarding process accommodates your new gender non-conforming hires. 
  1. Source gender non-conforming diversity training  

Workplace discrimination is very high for transgender and gender non-conforming employees. To change outdated attitudes and tackle unconscious bias in your workplace, invest in ongoing diversity training

Training will help your cisgender employees become better allies, practice pronoun usage (and sharing), and make space for LGBTQ+ conversations. In turn, making your business a more inclusive and friendly place for trans individuals to work. 

Transform your cultre

‘We are all part of a larger collective looking to create a more beautiful and just world.’ – Janet Mock, writer, director, and advocate 

There are multiple ways to champion an inclusive culture for gender non-conforming employees. However, remember that inclusivity is a journey, not a destination. There is always more to learn, to change, and to celebrate. The good news is, by reading this you’re already part of the way there. 

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Kelly Peters

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