International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) takes place each year on March 31st to celebrate transgender and non-binary people, recognise their contributions to society and raise awareness of discrimination they face. It aims to be upbeat and show the positive aspects of being transgender while encouraging non-trans people to show solidarity and support for their trans family, friends and colleagues. HRs have a great opportunity to not just recognise the day but use it as inspiration to build and encourage a more trans inclusive environment. Here are five steps to get you started.
Seize The Day!
TDOV is a great opportunity to make your trans community feel visible and highlight their value and value. Work with your trans colleagues and their allies ahead of time to prepare a calendar of events to celebrate the day. Host outside speakers, hold a training talk with Q&A for all colleagues and invite a trans charity to speak and spend time in the office to answer questions and offer support. End the day with a social gathering to really bring the community together and give a sense of celebration. Involve your trans colleagues every step of the way to get the tone right and empower them to engage on social media to ensure the conversation flows and they feel well represented. If you don’t have (m)any trans colleagues wanting to be in the limelight, invite local personalities/charity representatives to front the activities.
Bringing people in and hosting events on TDOV will get people talking. Keep the drumbeat going by listening to your trans networks – in and out of your immediate organisation – to get the details right to empower everyone and embarrass no one. Train colleagues and publish guidelines on how they should refer to people, the use and promotion of gender pronouns and what’s OK/not OK to say. This will help ALL colleagues feel more at ease with each other. Involve your trans staff and cross-check with charities and expert organisations to ensure you get the messaging right and listen to people’s feedback and make adjustments if necessary.
Acknowledge any previous failures within your business where perhaps colleagues have not been fully supported. Speak to staff and take responsibility for any instances where people may have been bullied or teased in your workplace for being trans. Take accountability now and be vocal about reinforcing better practice going forwards. Make it clear across your organisation that if anyone hears or sees any transphobic behaviour, they must call it out. Ensure people know that seeing something and saying nothing is supporting trans discrimination and will not be tolerated.
Understand that many trans people feel invisible, isolated or vulnerable. Check in on them regularly, especially those going through their transition, as they could be experiencing significant ups and downs while navigating considerable hormonal, identity and societal changes. Prioritise and safeguard their psychological safety, mental and physical wellbeing by connecting with them at regular intervals. Be particularly aware of trans colleagues who work remotely – such as in the sales field or from home – as this can compound any feelings of isolation they may be feeling. Arrange activities where all colleagues are included, face-to-face and ensure their line managers are keeping a watchful eye.
Review recruitment and retention policies
Review your recruitment process to ensure trans people feel equal to other candidates. Check your job adverts, application paperwork and interview processes are gender-neutral. Look to make your workplace trans inclusive and involve trans colleagues to ensure you get things right. For example, ideally you’ll have gender neutral toilets but, if not, you should place sanitary products in both male and female toilets so people aren’t ever caught out. Such inexpensive details could transform someone’s day. Being trans inclusive will enable you to retain talented trans staff by making them feel both visible and valued.