In relation to trans employees, suggestions that workplace gender transitions will be uniformly stressful are often part of a biased rhetoric that misses the nuanced experiences of many people . Misrepresentation of scientific results on transitioning is believed to enhance transphobia in societies .
In , the number of reported murders of trans people in the US reached its highest level since . These statistics might demonstrate a pattern of transphobia. Acts of violence and harassment infringe the right to life, the right to respect for physical and mental integrity, and therefore human dignity. Several international studies have shown that marginalized and vulnerable trans people suffer from depression, anxiety, and self?
These findings are particularly striking when it is considered that many studies observe that trans people are more educated than the general population  , . Less than half of US states prohibit gender identity discrimination at work, and only 22 EU member states have explicit legal employment protections against gender identity discrimination . The workplace is one of the most likely places for trans discrimination to occur. Lack of workplace help, understanding, and support for trans people can lead to biased treatment  , .
Working life experiences of LGBT people and initiatives to tackle discrimination | Eurofound
Trans employees are reported as having been outed by others, being deliberately called by a former name or gender pronoun, being fired or denied a job, physically threatened, or emotionally abused  , . There have been cases where employees have been made redundant because firms did not want a trans person to be the public face of the company . The reports show that trans women are more negatively affected by employment discrimination than trans men .
Also, only very small numbers of trans people reported the most recent incident of discrimination against them to the relevant authorities . More than three in five trans people did not report discriminatory incidents because they were convinced that nothing would happen or change if they did, and half of them because they thought such incidents were not worth reporting . The biased climate in relation to trans people in the US and the EU pervades multiple facets of life, including education, health care, and access to credit. Due to these factors, some trans people are forced into prostitution as the only way to survive .
Transitioning is found to negatively affect wages for trans women. On the other hand, as previously presented, becoming a trans man might positively affect wages. A masculine identity might entail an increase in dominance and leadership, traits that are rewarded in the labor market  , . Trans individuals experience employment challenges and severe exclusions when they are unable to obtain identity documents that reflect their gender identity.
Biased treatments are observed during selection and promotion processes when people dress and live as one sex even though they were born as another. Unfortunately, in many countries, trans people can change their ID documents only after undergoing sex reassignment surgery . However, a large part of the trans community is not keen on surgically reassigning their sex. They are happy to live, experience, and celebrate their gender identity without surgical procedures.
Having to choose between sex recognition and potential sterilization, which occurs in sex reassignment surgeries that include genital reconstruction, is a human rights violation. In , 23 countries in Europe 13 of them in the EU required by law that trans people undergo sterilization before their gender identity can be recognized. Other requirements in place globally include the diagnosis of a mental disorder 36 countries , medical treatment 30 countries , and a single civil status 22 countries.
Support for trans employees: A guide for employees and managers
Similarly, laws vary from state to state in the US, with many requiring sex reassignment surgery in order for a trans person's gender identity to be legally recognized. Often, such surgeries are beyond the financial means of trans people, who usually do not have health insurance plans that cover sex reassignment surgeries. Moreover, transitioning through sex changing surgical procedures is likely to require a significant amount of time. During transitioning, trans people are vulnerable to societal exclusion and biased treatment. For all these reasons, there should be no sex reassignment requirement related to the ability to change official ID documents.
Several problems lie in the continuing lack of information about trans issues. The public, media, social planners, and employers lump trans issues in with sexual orientation, and this has nothing to do with gender identity. A trans person may be straight, lesbian, gay, or bisexual . The experiences, the nature of the bias, and the corresponding policy actions differ between trans people and sexual orientation minority groups.
There is a need for education on the aforementioned differences, and on the approaches required to deal with the needs of each population group. In studies, researchers often treat trans people and gender non-conforming people as belonging in the same category. However, each category captures a different population group . Gender non-conforming people are those who do not identify as either male or female all the time. And there are lots of subsections in the gender non-conforming community—people might be, for instance, gender fluid, bi-gender, or agender.
Grouping all these people into a single category introduces bias. Research studies should clarify their target population, and topical questions should capture the distinction between trans and gender non-conforming people. Of the 34 participants in our study, 14 reported ever attending residential treatment and 20 reported never attending residential treatment.
Of the 14 participants who attended residential treatment, all had been assigned male sex at birth; however they described their gender identity in different ways and used different pronouns e. Nine identified as transgender, 4 identified as two-spirit, and 1 reported dressing as a woman in the context of sex work. Two-spirit is a translation of a Northern Algonquin term used to describe an indigenous person who has feminine and masculine spirits [ 19 ]. Two-spirit is a fluid, non-binary term and as such it is used by some indigenous people to describe their sexual orientation as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer [ 20 ].
Participants in our study experienced enacted stigma, defined as incidents of discrimination e. Those who reported negative encounters described enacted stigma ranging from name-calling to violence by other residents in treatment settings. Despite this separation, she experienced harassment by men in the treatment setting:. Participants also described social rejection and harassment.
Julia noted being targeted by others in the treatment setting, which resulted in her isolating herself from others and leaving treatment after a week. I had a lot of support from the staff, but with the other clients, it was really difficult. Reports of enacted stigma from staff were less common; however, participants discussed staff not understanding their gender identity. For example, when Julia arrived at the treatment centre there was confusion about her gender identity:. It was really difficult. I went there and … when I got there they had no idea I was transgender.
Am I supposed to stay here and pop a hip every time? Yeah, it was weird. She was really, really rude. So yeah, I left. This resulted in Casey feeling uncomfortable and judged, and subsequently they left treatment prematurely. Physical and sexual violence were other forms of enacted stigma that participants reported.
Leah described her experience in a mixed gender facility:. There was a guy that threatened me in there and told me he was gonna kill me. He was calling me a faggot and it was brought to the staff. I left because I felt unsafe there. There were also reports of sexual violence in our study. This encounter escalated into a physical fight and the staff attempted to expel Riley from treatment.
After a meeting with the director of the facility, the other client was removed from the treatment program. The director also responded by stating homophobic and transphobic comments would no longer be tolerated and they would be considered punishable acts. These two experiences demonstrate the importance of staff interventions in violence. Leah continued to feel unsafe after staff intervened and consequently left treatment, while Riley had support from staff and continued on with treatment.
As these examples illustrate, participants encountered various forms of enacted stigma from staff and other individuals in the treatment setting and many of the participants who experienced enacted stigma in treatment settings also reported leaving treatment prematurely.
Trans people, well-being, and labor market outcomes
Rachel explained why she had not attended treatment in the past:. Additionally, Taylor expressed fear of being judged by other individuals in treatment. Felt stigma helps explain how participants internalized fears of experiencing transphobia in treatment settings. The fear of being a nuisance or diversion from others in the treatment program resulted in not accessing treatment or limiting what they shared in treatment groups. Participants reported not having their treatment needs met as well as prematurely leaving treatment after experiences of enacted and felt stigma. As one of the researcher assistants who conducted the participatory analysis noted: In contrast, some participants reported having positive experiences in treatment settings, which we turn to next.
Participants who reported positive treatment experiences reported being accepted and having their gender identity respected by staff and others in treatment settings. Rielle explained what made her treatment experiences unique:. I shared a room with another female and it was good. Rielle described participating in all aspects of treatment as a woman in the indigenous treatment settings.
The findings illustrate how stigma works to exclude transgender persons from treatment settings. Specifically, many transgender individuals in our study did not have their treatment needs met due to enacted and felt stigma In addition, we found that participants who reported positive treatment experiences had received treatment within settings that understood and respected transgender persons. Thus, our findings demonstrate the importance of fostering respect and inclusivity of gender diverse individuals in residential treatment settings.
This study is one of a very small number that explores the experiences of transgender individuals in a treatment setting. Because transgender populations are often excluded from research or grouped with sexual minorities e. The experiences of felt and enacted stigma in treatment settings are supported by the few studies examining treatment experiences of transgender individuals. For example, Senreich [ 16 ] found transgender participants in mixed gender treatment facilities felt lower levels of support and connection while in treatment and they were less likely to complete the treatment program compared to heterosexual, gay and bisexual counterparts.
We were unable to locate studies that illustrated positive treatment experiences for transgender persons and therefore our findings may indicate an important direction for future research, and more importantly directions for program development. Indigenous peoples were vastly overrepresented in our study and this is explained in part by our sampling methods where participants were sampled from cohorts of people who use drugs and a cohort of sex workers in an area characterized by disenfranchisement and social inequalities. Indigenous persons are overrepresented in the local environment due to colonialism and the displacement of indigenous people in Canada [ 22 ].
Two-spirit people have reported moving to urban areas after facing homophobia and transphobia [ 20 , 23 ] and as such may be further overrepresented in our urban study setting. Historically, two-spirit people were included in their communities and often they held high social status and roles in ceremony. Colonialism and the ongoing attempts by the state to destroy indigenous peoples and their cultures includes practices such as residential schools, forcibly removing indigenous children from homes, displacement of land, and violence [ 24 - 26 ].
The legacies of colonization are inseparable from the current health inequities and discrimination which burden many indigenous peoples [ 27 ]; legacies which are evident in our study sample of transgender individuals. I just didn't want to get laughed at. The thing is that in order to achieve the best possible results you need to slowly start integrating it into your daily life, which involves work. That means that you slowly start to practice at work. The ultimate goal is to reprogram your brain to use your vocal cords in a different way than it was previously trained. And you cannot do that by switching back and forth all the time.
Hormone Replacement Therapy HRT will play an important role in the individual's transition in order for them to acquire an appearance closer to their gender identity. For Male-to-Female MTF the treatment will consist of taking female hormones estrogen often accompanied by a testosterone blocker. In some cases progesterone can also be prescribed to aid in this process. Depending on the age of the individual transitioning, the method of hormone administration can vary. Individuals undergoing HRT will, over time, start to experience feminizing or masculinizing effects. Some of these effects will begin to take effect within months, but most will take years to fully complete.
Although many transgender individuals have claimed to have experienced psychological changes, no documented medical research supports this theory. It meant the beginning of becoming who I truly am. In no way is HRT easy, at least it wasn't for me. For the first year I was completely emotionally unstable. My range of emotions changed completely. One minute I could be the happiest person on earth, and the next one I could be crying for no reason.
On top of that, I had excessive sweating which I was told was due to the hormonal changes happening in my body. I also had numerous episodes of doubt towards my own changes. Why am I not changing?
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Something's wrong, it's not going to work on me. Is this supposed to take this long? Do you see any changes? You're sure—you're not just telling me that to make me happy? What helped me was that my manager and coworkers understood that it was not always going to be rainbows and butterflies. But with all of that nonsense that I was going through in my head, one thing remained: I was slowly starting to be happy on more days than before. I started smiling more; life got better, it got easier.
One friend asked me once how I felt with the many changes happening to my body. He asked me if it felt weird or different to experience these changes. I told him no, it simply finally feels normal. In the core public administration, it is the practice for the employer to grant paid time off, for up to half a day, for persons to attend their own personal medical and dental appointments without charge to their leave credits in cases of routine, periodic check-ups. When a series of continuing medical or dental appointments are necessary for treatment of a particular condition, persons with the delegated authority ensure that absences are to be charged to the person's sick leave credits.
Other leave options can be found in the relevant collective agreement. Leave options may be either with or without pay. For more information on which leave to use, contact your Labour Relations advisor. For information on longer absences for example more than 10 days , contact the Disability Management Program see Annex G: Leave usage will be unique to each case.
It is important that the manager and employee discuss which leave is needed for each step in the process, whether it is time off for appointments, surgery, or convalescence. There is not one gender-affirming surgery. Some people may require several visits to various out-of-province surgical centres. Currently, there is only one clinic in Montreal that performs genital surgery for trans people in the entire country.
Some procedures occur in several stages with recovery intervals in between. Revisions may be required, and the convalescence time varies from procedure to procedure and from person to person. Some employees may also require chest reconstruction and facial procedures, which can usually be done in a person's home province. Electrolysis, counselling and other recurring care may also be required. This guide was developed with the well-being of the transitioning person, the colleagues, the manager and the organization in mind. It is through collaboration, discussion and mutual understanding that any and all challenges can be resolved.
In the end what counts is that we take care of each other.
PSPC is committed to keeping this guide evergreen and will provide updates on a yearly basis. We are keeping in touch with colleagues across the federal government and in other jurisdictions and hope to obtain the latest information and lessons learned. We also hope to solicit our own employee's feedback on the guide and endeavour to keep it current and progressive. Definitions and terminology provided in this guide are not meant to label individuals, but rather to assist employees and managers in understanding some of the terminology they may come across when working with individuals who are transgender or going through a transition.
This table is a tool to help an employee plan their transition process at work. Its use is optional. The following is an example of a letter from a manager to the employees, informing them of a colleague's transition and return to the workplace. A trans employee may prefer to write the letter themselves.
I write to inform you that Janine Thompson formerly John will be returning to work with us after a brief medical absence. Please use Janine's name and feminine pronouns for her she, her, hers. Janine will be using the women's washrooms and the women's changing room at shift change from now on, and her name will appear on all schedules. She will be [new work assignment if any].
Janine has a right to a harassment-free workplace, and [Department] and [union] are jointly committed to supporting her in this. Section 15 1 states: The Canadian Human Rights Act CHRA requires federal government departments and federally regulated organizations to provide workplace accommodation to anyone protected by the law unless doing so would result in undue hardship. This is commonly referred to as the "duty to accommodate" and is detailed in sections 2 to 15 of the act Footnote 6.
The purpose of this act is to extend the present laws of Canada that protect the privacy of individuals with respect to personal information about themselves held by a government institution and that provide individuals with a right of access to that information. Some information is available in one language only English or French and jurisprudence cited may use initials only to protect the individual's right to privacy. In particular her complaint was about the union's handling of a complaint about her use of the women's washroom. Ferris is a trans woman with 20 years' service at her place of employment.
She had not had genital surgery at the time of the human rights complaint.
A complaint was made by a co-worker about "a man using the women's washroom". The union failed to consult with Ms. Ferris and failed to properly investigate the situation. At the hearing into her Human Rights Complaint, Ms. Ferris's doctor testified about the impact on a trans woman of being challenged as not truly a woman. She said that such challenges are distressing. They lead to feelings of humiliation and shame, as well as anger.
In the doctor's view, it is best to try to discuss issues that arise about transsexual people in the workplace in an open and honest manner, not in a confrontational way. Often, the misunderstanding of coworkers and employers is based on fear and ignorance. The Tribunal accepted that transgendered people are particularly vulnerable to discrimination. They often bear the brunt of our society's misunderstanding and ignorance about gender identity. In the context of the workplace, washroom use issues are often contentious and, in the absence of knowledge, sensitivity and respect for all concerned can inflict a great deal of emotional harm on the transgendered person.
The Tribunal held that the union simply acquiesced in the Company's treatment of the anonymous complaint as legitimate, and its implicit characterization of the Complainant as a problem who required some accommodation. The union's unexplained inability to properly consult with Ms. Ferris resulted in considerable damage to her health, finances, dignity and self-esteem. The union's failure to properly deal with the washroom complaint was a breach of the Code and resulted in an order against the Union.
Following a positive evaluation of her work, she was hired for a longer contract. She had been living for several months as a woman in all aspects of her daily life and had been using a female first name, except at work. Near the end of her second contract, she informed her employer about her transition. Shortly after, the employer advised M. The Tribunal declared that the protected ground of "sex" in section 10 of Quebec's Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms includes the transition from one sex to another and found that the dismissal and refusal to rehire were based on M.
Sheridan, who identified as a pre-operative trans woman, filed a complaint with the BC Human Rights Commission concerning a nightclub's refusal to allow her to use the women's washroom. The Human Rights Tribunal found this refusal to be discriminatory and ordered the nightclub to allow transwomen to use the women's washroom. Robinow testified that during transition the person is considered to be in the desired sex rather than the physical sex assigned at birth.
Part of living in the role of the desired sex is using the washroom of that sex. Robinow considered use of the appropriate washroom "significant" and said that being prevented from doing so was a "source of distress" for transsexuals. Montreuil has not gone through sex reassignment surgery and has no intention to do so in the future. Notwithstanding this, the Tribunal found that the National Bank of Canada discriminated on the basis of sex when its decision not to hire her was influenced by their perception that Montreuil would use her position to crusade for trans rights.
Nixon, a trans woman, was rejected from volunteer training for peer counselling services provided by the Vancouver Rape Relief Society. She filed a human rights complaint. That section allows charitable or social organizations to grant preference to an identifiable group of people.
In this case, the Society only took peer counsellors from women who were born women and raised as women. It is noteworthy that the earlier Court said that exclusion from the volunteer training session was "quite a different case from being excluded from a restaurant because of her trans characteristics. Unlike a for-profit business providing services or recruiting employees from the general public or a volunteer organization open to all, Rape Relief defined itself as a women-only organization and defined that group as women who had been born women.
This decision is regarded as a set-back for trans people. Its impact will be limited however, because of the specific situation applying to social and charitable organizations under BC human rights legislation. The complainants were in the process of transitioning when sex reassignment surgery was de-listed. The ruling confirms that gender identity is a protected ground under "sex" and "disability" where relevant. The government was found to have breached the complainants' human rights by not continuing to cover those who had begun the process before de-listing.
However, the Tribunal did not compel the government to re-list sex reassignment surgery.
The labour movement joined with trans activists to call for the re-listing of sex reassignment surgery. Settlement, HRTO A settlement was reached in a complaint about changing the sex designation on a driver's licence and birth certificate, before having sex reassignment surgery. The Ministry of Transportation had a practice but not a written policy whereby it would only change the sex designation on a driver's licence after a person had surgery.
With respect to changing the sex designation on a birth certificate, the Vital Statistics Act requires that a person have "transsexual surgery" in order to get the designation changed. There is no definition of "transsexual surgery" in the act. Historically, the Ministry now called Government Services assumed that the required surgery was genital sex reassignment surgery. As a result of this settlement, the Ministry of Transportation will now change the sex designation on a driver's licence if a physician provides a letter advising that the physician has treated or examined the person and in the practitioner's opinion the change on the licence would be appropriate.
The Ministry also agreed to review the Vital Statistics Act. It says that requiring surgery adds to the disadvantage and stigma experienced by members of this community, and reinforces the stereotype that transgender persons must have surgery in order to live in their felt gender. The decision confirms the Ontario Human Rights Commission's OHRC position that gender identity should be recognized based on lived identity, and not depend on a surgical procedure. Nixon claimed discrimination as a male-to-female transgendered woman who was denied the opportunity to participate in the provision of peer counseling services provided by the Vancouver Rape Relief Society.
This denial by the Society was communicated by Ms. Cormier, one of Rape Relief's facilitators, who had identified Ms. Nixon as transgendered, based solely on her appearance. It was at this point that Ms. Nixon was asked to leave and informed by Ms.
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Cormier that "a woman had to be oppressed since birth to be a volunteer at Rape Relief and that because she had lived as a man she could not participate… men were not allowed in the training group. Cormier listed the collective political beliefs that the Society requires its volunteers not to disagree with:. The requirement that a woman be a woman from birth was stated to be complementary to the tenets to which all volunteers and members of the Society must subscribe in the Court of Appeal case.
The exemption provided by s. The Workplace and Gender Reassignment: Return to footnote 1 referrer. Return to footnote 2 referrer. Return to footnote 3 referrer. Return to footnote 4 referrer. Return to footnote 5 referrer. See Canadian human rights commission , Legislation and Policies. Return to footnote 6 referrer. Timeline of lesbian, gay, bisexual, Transgender history in Canada. Return to footnote 7 referrer. Gender transition template Annex C: Sample letter to colleagues Annex D: Here is a little bit of context.
I start taking anti-depressants. Some advice for an employee considering transitioning: Coming out as trans in the workplace. I knew that I had to do something about my gender dysphoria. My transition at work couldn't have gone better.