Allyship comes in many different forms, and some may not know where to start. But allyship also ties us together: our support for one another keeping us afloat in what can be a confusing world. When it comes to supporting your trans colleagues in the workplace, the first step is listening to trans people, and asking what it is they need. So we’ve spoken to Austyn Bambrook from Capgemini who’s kindly put together the following points.
Keep in mind allyship is an ongoing process and these points should act just as a starting point on your journey.
Allyship: Where to Start
- Put your pronouns on your email signature. This is easy and indicates to all minorities that you support active inclusion.
- Make effort to use peoples correct pronouns. This can take time if you have known the person since before their transition, or if you only have an online relationship and their voice is incongruent. If you make a mistake, correct yourself and keep trying. It’s not trying that hurts.
- Correct others when they misgender someone. It is tiresome and triggers gender dysphoric feelings for transgender people to constantly correct people. If you take the initiative and correct people, you are exercising your allyship and helping create a more inclusive environment. You do not need to make a big deal of this, just repeating a comment with the correct pronoun or a quiet word after a meeting is probably sufficient and is very affirming.
- Attend Active inclusion training. If you have an opportunity to attend active inclusion training, take it. It’s about respect for everybody, not just trans people.
- Remember that trans people are just ordinary people. Don’t treat trans people as though they are any different because they are trans. It’s normal to feel challenged by their transition, but that’s your feelings. Treat them like you’d treat everybody else.
Creating a Trans-Inclusive Workplace
- Provide Active Inclusion training
- Make sure company health policies include transgender care
- Treat time off for gender-affirming healthcare the same as you would any other healthcare
- Don’t expect transgender people to use disabled toilets - Disabled employees may need them. Let people use gender-appropriate facilities (They know which to use).
- If there is a disciplinary issue, be mindful not to expect the victim to accommodate someone else’s bad behaviour.
The Dos and Don’ts of How to Support Your Trans Colleagues
- Treat them like anyone else; find out who they are.
- Use their preferred pronouns
- Ask if you don’t know (should be in their email signature)
- Put your pronouns on your email signature
- Don’t ask personal questions you wouldn’t ask of your other colleagues