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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 1, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 14
Brit study: 60% of Trans people face discrimination at work

Bad, but not as bad as the US
Section One
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Brit study: 60% of Trans people face discrimination at work

Bad, but not as bad as the US

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Sixty percent of British Transgender people say they have experienced workplace discrimination because of their gender identity, but more than half say conditions are improving for Trans people in the UK because of media coverage of Trans issues.

Those are key findings of a new study conducted in February and released in conjunction with the Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31.

The study was conducted by Totaljobs, a British employment website, and is based on a sample of 435 people who identify as Trans.

Among the study's results are:

o 60% of respondents have experienced anti-Trans discrimination at work - 38% from colleagues, 25% from management, and 29% during a job interview.

o 53% have felt the need to hide their Trans status from colleagues.

o 51% believe acceptance and understanding of Trans employees has improved in the workplace due to increased media focus on Trans issues.

o 50% received positive reactions from colleagues when they transitioned.

o 29% reported not experiencing discrimination at work.

o 43% actively look for companies with Trans-friendly policies when applying for jobs.

o 36% said they had left a job because of a hostile work environment.

o 43% said they received support and/or guidance from their HR department when transitioning, while 21% said they received no support.

The British results show a similar pattern to findings in the groundbreaking US study by the National LGBT Task Force, Injustice at Every Turn, but the British numbers suggest somewhat better prospects for Trans people in the UK.

The American survey found an astonishing 90% reporting discrimination or harassment at work, with 71% hiding their gender or gender transition from coworkers and 16% being forced to work in the underground economy.

Trans people of color in the US reported especially challenging conditions, with much higher rates of job loss and unemployment than even white Trans people. The British survey did not sort respondents by race, however.

The Totaljobs survey also found that many British employers do not provide adequate support for their Trans employees:

o 21% had no provisions for Transgender employees.

o 23% had information on gender identity.

o 25% had gender-neutral toilet facilities.

o 63% included gender identity in antidiscrimination policies.

Commenting on the results, actress Rebecca Root of the BBC TV show Boy Meets Girl said, 'Even with the advances made in recent years in changing societal perceptions of the trans community, these figures clearly indicate there is still a way to go in diminishing transphobia in the workplace. The quest for making such spaces safe for trans people must continue.'

Root is herself Trans and plays a Trans character on her TV show.

Trans activist and filmmaker Fox Fisher wrote in a blog on the Totaljobs website that employers are still unaware of Trans rights.

'Staying in or seeking employment can be a potential nightmare when you're trans,' she said. 'Many employers are unaware of our rights, and we are often at a vulnerable stage of our transition. The irony is that so many trans people I know are extremely clever and willing to work.

'I was lucky that my employer was very supportive, although there was an adjustment phase which was difficult for everyone, including my new name, pronouns, and getting used to my changes.'

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