Transgender issues: Transphobia in the workplace

Ergonomics are important when designing "flexible" office furniture like that pictured above for the workplace. But how many companies are flexible when it comes to embracing transgender people? (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Ergonomics are important when designing “flexible” office furniture like that pictured above for the workplace. But how many companies are flexible when it comes to embracing transgender people? (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Everything is bright and beautiful for transgender people in the workplaces of America?

Well, maybe not all of them, but a Fortune 500 magazine article says many of the top companies in  the United States are embracing trans employees and introducing transition guidelines for their staff.

Which is great — for employees who are gender transitioning. But I wonder if those well-intentioned companies are keeping up with the ever-changing, ever-evolving world of transgenderism. Are they supporting transgender employees who are not physically transitioning, as is becoming more and more common these days?

I don’t know the answers to that question. And I’m betting that there is still plenty of discrimination against transgender people — whether they are gender transitioning or not — in the workplaces of America, Canada, the United Kingdom and most other supposed trans-friendly countries around the world, both on an institutionalized level and individually — from bosses and other employees.

As Fortune 500 points out, there have been some well-publicized lawsuits against companies alleged to have discriminated against trans people. But so often, it is next to impossible to prove that a company and its employees are transphobic to the point of being discriminatory.

But it happens, and I bet every trans person out there who has a job has experienced some form of workplace transphobia, if not blatant, then subtle.

Has it happened to you? Have you experienced transphobia in the workplace? Do you think you have been passed over for promotion because of your trans status? Are you ever misgendered by co-workers? Washroom issues?

Or is everything bright and beautiful for you in the workplace?

Please share . . .

— Jillian Page, LGBT Perspectives editor


“Let harmlessness be the keynote of your life.” — Alice Bailey


4 thoughts on “Transgender issues: Transphobia in the workplace”

  1. My transition seemed to go very smooth within our (very large) company. I was the first in my division to have ever transitioned. BUT it was really quite easy for them: I work remotely and almost no one in our company had seen me as I gradually and gently moved through androgyny into womanhood. I changed my name and gender marker well after the point at which people regarded me as a female. When I made these changes, THAT was when I needed to advise my employer. So from their perspective it was just a few bookkeeping entries in HR to make. We coordinated to re-introduce me to my colleagues and I was well received (except for one person who complained). I’ve now received two years of stellar reviews and our company insurance paid for my bit of bottom surgery earlier this year.

    HOWEVER, as a female engineer, I have noticed that for people who don’t already know my work, I’m just an “idiot woman” and I have had to adjust. It’s still worth it to be myself.

    Anyway, I’m dreading looking for new work, as I think I will need to do since our division was acquired and it’s put everyone’s’ job in jeopardy .

    If anyone is curious, here’s the letter I sent my manager, and my re-introduction email to colleagues:

    Blessings & Joy!!


  2. I was held back in my position, I did not receive promised pay increases, I was mis gendered and had my work load increase and my hrs of work cut back and moved to all weekends to limit my customer contact all because I am transgender and transitioned in the workplace. They knew the rules and how to manipulate them, trying to stay within lines of discrimination and yet pushed me out by giving me panic attacks and using my anxiety and depression as tools to undermine my ability to perform at work, it is cold and calculated but when someone wants you gone they get you gone. I had many that supported me and now that I have left are now telling me how the plan was implemented and carried out but not one of them willing to step up and help me for fear of repercussions in a job they themselves need


    1. I am so sorry to hear this, Laura, but am not surprised. I know how management can come up with excuses to cover their transphobia, even in companies that are supposedly trans-friendly. It’s an all-too-common experience for trans people: I know of some who still have their jobs, but are constantly overlooked for promotions while people with fewer qualifications get promoted. So, I wonder about the Fortune 500 companies that the magazine spoke so glowingly about. Do you think it is a gloss-job (I have avoided using the word that first came to mind, i.e. instead of “gloss-job).


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