More than one third (36 per cent) of trans people admit to having left a job because of discrimination in the workplace, according to new research by job website, totaljobs. The new data also reveals that 60 per cent of trans employees have experienced some form of transphobic discrimination in the workplace.
The research, which surveyed more than 400 trans workers from different industries across the UK, found that over half (53 per cent) of trans people feel the need to hide their trans status from colleagues. As a result, 43 per cent admitted to actively looking for companies with trans-friendly policies before applying for jobs.
Transphobic discrimination was most likely to come from colleagues (38 per cent), and then from management (25 per cent). This has led to more than one third (36 per cent) of trans people leaving a job because the environment was unwelcoming. More than one quarter (29 per cent) have faced discrimination as early as the interview stage.
Reason for optimism
Encouragingly, the survey also uncovered evidence of positive progress with 51 per cent of trans employees believing that acceptance and understanding of trans employees in the workplace has improved due to increased media focus on trans issues. While, 50 per cent of those surveyed claimed to have received positive reactions from colleagues when they transitioned.
Fox Fisher, filmmaker and trans activist, explained: “Staying in or seeking employment can be a potential nightmare when you’re trans. Many employers are unaware of our rights and we are often at a vulnerable stage of our transition. The irony is that so many trans people I know are extremely clever and willing to work.
“I was lucky that my employer was very supportive, although there was an adjustment phase which was difficult for everyone, including my new name, pronouns and getting used to my changes.”
Develop guidance and training for managers
Emily Brothers, a Labour politician and the first openly transgender Labour MP, added: “Too often the focus is on our transition, not how tough it is to get on with our lives with high levels of discrimination, not least in the labour market. Much needs to be done to better apply equality legislation and develop guidance and training for managers and their businesses. Gender identity is the new frontier of equality, which means many people still don’t understand or accept us.
“There is a lot of support out there. I certainly found transitioning at work some years ago less daunting than I feared, even though it was undoubtedly a very challenging experience. More needs to be done to (assist) employers, especially in supporting staff going through transition. That’s why I believe that some form of Statutory Leave would be supportive to trans people, helping them to retain their jobs and through a smoother transition pathway.”