Initial thoughts on trans at work
I'm looking at some internal policy work on trans at work and thought it might be productive to think where I personally start on this. I'm not a policy advisor and while I have an amount of knowledge of trans and I think a pretty good ally position I'm not an expert and don't have personal experience of being trans. I want and expect to improve my knowledge. I know some people are more personally touched by trans issues so if my noodling would be uncomfortable please feel free to skip this; I will be suggesting we get specialised advice. This is a first draft and I may edit and add.
Here's where I start:
- I want all people to have good lives regardless of their gender
- Human gender including trans issues is complex and diverse and simplistic views can be ignorant and harmful
- Sex and gender and trans issues intersect and we support anti-sexism
- Our workplace should be a good place for all to work and study regardless of gender
- Gender issues and transition can be difficult for administration to handle, but they have a responsibility towards the individual staff and students to ensure their details are correct. As well as legal responsibility and expectations of administrative competence, the use of incorrect names or gender markers can be particularly distressing.
- Our top level university ethos includes diversity and we understand this to mean the university will lead on trans issues and will aim to be the best in this area
- We should have a positive impact on the world through our research and teaching to work towards all people doing well regardless of gender
- Due to transphobia and other problems I should be able to specify, trans people often face violence, hostility and various stressors, discrimination and prejudice and have worse well-being outcomes on various measures
- Other problems exist in the world and by focussing here on trans we do not forget them or make claims of greater importance. Trans issues are important and other issues should not minimise their importance.
- As well as their gender, people have other aspects such as their class, race / ethnicity, age etc. These integrate for each individual and so there is diversity amongst trans people and they occupy different postions of power in society
- As an employer and as caring collegues we should listen to any problems trans people report and help fix them. We should also monitor for problems we can discern statistically such as whether trans people are disadvantaged in pay for example.
- Humans are known to have biases which are out of our awareness and we should learn about and correct for unconscious biases
- Trans issues are offically included under our LGBT+ umbrellas such as the staff LGBT+ forum. We must check this is in fact reflected in our work, listen to what trans people inside and outside want, amplify their voices and fix our own mistakes and biases. If trans people choose to organise separately as well as or instead of under a wider LGBT+ umbrella then we supprt that.
- There are legal and procedural protections for some aspects of trans life and also support and campaigning organisations which we should know about
- We note some groups and individuals are critical of some trans issues and people and some are actively hostile
- We are aware of our support for and responsibilities to trans people and also to academic freedom and open exchange of ideas and that conflicts between safety and debate may occur
- We note as a teaching and learning institution there may be teachable moments in our work where we can learn and teach better practice
- We should keep our knowledge of trans issues up to date and disseminate it within our organisation and beyond. We as a university should always support people in increasing our knowledge and changing our prejudices or discomforts. Trans allies are responsible for their own lives and should not expect trans people to support their emotional processing or factual learning unless trans people choose to take such roles. It is OK to internally struggle with trans issues or be critical of them - however please work on these issues in appropriate ways and places so as not to hurt trans people while doing so.
- We operate in a multicultural and multinational context and this includes gender and trans issues
- We listen to trans people but do not expect them to act as unpaid researchers, teachers or support staff
- Trans issues might include but are not limited to changes of name and/or pronoun, as a current thing or a historical thing that may still be relevant, medical intervention, non-medical physical changes, changes in gender presentation, legal changes, intersex issues, non-binary genders, genderqueer people, gender fluidity, people who wish to share their gender position and journey and people who wish to keep this private
- As a starting point in the workplace: Treat people as the gender they present at in a professional manner
- Other people's gender is often none your business in the workplace unless we are dealing with combatting prejudices or that person wishes to share some parts of that aspect of their life
- Curiousity is fine but be aware that there are teaching resources available and collegues may not wish to be asked personal questions inappropriate to the workplace. Listen for consent to any conversations touching on gender and be aware of where you might cause stress, discomfort or cross lines into harassment.
- Some people find their gender problematic and we wish them good support
- Some people find other people's reaction to their gender problematic and we wish to help improve society to change this
- Some people indentify with a trans status or history and may not want or need to focus on that aspect of their life at this time and we would do well to respect that
- Gender diversity improves all of our lives when accepted and celebrated including our research, teaching and workplace and student experience
- Some people who do not identify to others as trans would benefit from a supportive, understanding environment, but maybe not so much from labels or groups. Access to information in a sensitive, discrete manner might be useful.
[edited to add yoyoangel
comment, thank you]
[edited to add point based on sparrowsion
, thank you]
[edited to add point from ellemir
, thank you]
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