March 31st is Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) – a day where we come together to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of transgender and nonbinary people. Visibility, both in the workplace and beyond, plays a key role in shaping the narrative around how trans and nonbinary individuals can be their full, authentic selves and thrive both inside and outside of the workplace. TDOV is an opportunity to uplift the stories and voices of the trans and nonbinary community, and recommit to celebrating this community year-round.
While honoring the lives lost to anti-transgender violence and acknowledging the issues and very real threats the trans and nonbinary community faces are incredibly important, we must not forget to also honor and celebrate the joy and triumphs of this community.
Transgender and Nonbinary Accomplishments Around the World
- In 2012, Argentina was the first country to allow transgender individuals to legally change their name and gender marker without facing barriers such as hormone therapy, surgery, or psychiatric diagnosis. Nine years later, it became the first Latin American country to issue non-binary gender markers (“X”) on identification documents. Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, India, The Netherlands, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States (21 States and Washington DC), and Uruguay all currently mandate that national identity cards and passports have a gender-neutral or third gender option.
- In November 2018, Brazilian trans activists Erika Hilton, Erica Malunguinho da Silva, and Robeyoncé Lima became the first transgender state representatives in Brazilian history.
- Kumi Yokoyama, who plays soccer in the U.S. for Gotham FC and represented Japan in the 2019 World Cup came out as transgender in 2021. The Canadian soccer player Quinn also became the first out trans and nonbinary gold medalist during the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo.
- Last year, President Biden reversed the Presidential Memorandum that banned transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military, effectively re-allowing transgender Americans to serve freely, safely, and honorably. Dr. Rachel Levine also made history as the first openly trans federal official confirmed by the Senate.
TDOV presents a vital opportunity to engage companies, stakeholders, and employees in conversations and programming around the transgender and nonbinary community. In advance of Transgender Day of Visibility, we are elevating transgender and nonbinary key components from the Out & Equal self-evaluation guide – Global Toolkit for Change: Assessing LGBTQI+ Inclusion in Your Workplace. We encourage you to use this tool in your company as an opportunity for continuous learning, evaluation, and improvement. As you reflect on your own company’s policies and practices, identify the areas of improvement and connect with the appropriate team members to continue this conversation year-round.
KEY WORKPLACE POLICIES AND PRACTICES
- Non-discrimination protections
Non-discrimination protections codified into your company’s policies will assure current employees and potential job applicants that they will be treated equally and will be legally protected from discrimination as an LGBTQI+ person. Because some countries do not recognize protections for LGBTQI+ people, it is extremely important to have your company’s own policy reflect its commitment to non-discrimination. The terminology of “sex”, “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” should be specifically named as protected categories. Intersex should also be a covered category under non-discrimination provisions that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex. For more information on intersex inclusion in the workplace, check out Supporting Intersex Inclusion in the Workplace.
- Inclusive Healthcare Coverage
Ensure that your company has transgender, nonbinary, and intersex-inclusive healthcare coverage under their own insurance and paid medical leave policies. If applicable, this coverage should also include their dependents in receiving transition-related care or any ongoing care as a transgender, nonbinary, or intersex person. Encourage the appropriate team members at your company to work with insurance providers or administrators to adopt guidelines for this level of inclusive coverage.
- Gender Neutral Facilities
Gender neutral facilities, such as restrooms and locker rooms, create a more comfortable and safer situation for transgender and nonbinary employees. Gender neutral facilities can help protect these employees from discrimination or harassment and free them of having to make decisions about their gender identity that do not reflect their internal sense of self. Organizations should determine if there are opportunities to create gender neutral facilities in their buildings. There are often ways to get creative in establishing neutral washrooms – for instance, converting existing single-person person male and female restrooms into all gender restrooms.
- Self-Identification of LGBTQI+ Employees
Because sexual orientation and gender identity are not typically visible characteristics in the workplace, self-identification is especially important for LGBTQI+ employees for visibility and representation. Self-ID programs allow employers to understand the size and diversity of their LGBTQI+ workforce and meaningfully track progress towards key inclusion goals. Given the sensitive nature of self-ID, it’s important that these programs are completely optional, anonymous, and accompanied by a robust communication plan.
- Gender Transition Guidelines
Gender transition guidelines are a set of guidelines and policies that establish best practices to support and protect trans and nonbinary employees through their transition. There’s no one way to transition and everyone’s journey is unique – some people may choose to medically transition, make pronoun changes, change their name, etc. It is critical that an individual’s transgender status is considered confidential and only disclosed as needed and with consent, and that name and gender marker change protocols are instilled into an organization’s systems regardless of legal status and without requiring documentation, as some individuals opt not to or cannot make these changes legally. No matter what an employee chooses to do, the gender transition guidelines and policies should be in place to support this employee.
- Trans-Inclusive Employee Resource Groups
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are employee-led groups bringing together people with common identities, special interest, or life experience with the ultimate goal of fostering a sense of community and inclusion within a company. It is imperative that LGBTQI+ ERGs are inclusive and welcoming of trans and nonbinary employees, this includes trans-inclusive programming, representation in ERG leadership, and creating a safe space for trans and nonbinary employees.
For more detail on these policies, practices, and more, check out Out & Equal’s new Global Toolkit for Change: Assessing LGBTQI+ Inclusion in Your Workplace.
What can you do today (and every day)?
On TDOV, Out & Equal celebrates the accomplishments of transgender and nonbinary people all over the world. Thank you to everyone in this community for sharing your stories throughout the year in the efforts to increase visibility and fight against anti-transgender bias.
We encourage our partners to continue their own internal and external advocacy for their trans and nonbinary employees year-round. Out & Equal is here to support your efforts in creating workplaces where everyone belongs and thrives. Feel free to use the language below as a starting point for your TDOV engagement.
- On this #TransgenderDayOfVisibility, [company name] celebrates our transgender and nonbinary employees, customers, and the entire community! #TDOV
- Today, [company name] stands with the transgender and nonbinary community for #TransgenderDayOfVisibility. We encourage our employees to bring their full authentic selves to work every single day. #TDOV
- To our transgender and nonbinary employees, we see you and you belong. #TDOV #TransgenderDayOfVisibility