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NextGen Magazine


Report: Trans and Gender-Nonconforming Workers Still Face Difficulties in the Workplace

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Mar 31, 2023

Nearly half of the trans and gender-nonconforming  workers surveyed by a nonprofit that advocates for diversity and inclusion in the technology industry reported an increase in gender-based harassment in the workplace, Fast Company reported.

“An estimated 1.6 million people in the United States are transgender, and 1.2 million people are gender nonconforming, with visibility skyrocketing due, in part, to increased media prominence,” the report by Project Include states. Yet “representation alone cannot fix gender-based harm and harassment.”

From May 2020 to February 2021, Project Include surveyed nearly 3,000 respondents across 48 countries and 50 industries, including 266 people who identified themselves as trans, gender-nonconforming, or both.

Many of those surveyed described themselves as closeted or “soft closeted,” meaning that they either concealed their identities or did not actively disclose them. “This lack of disclosure and trust suggests tech companies may have more trans and gender nonconforming employees than they realize,” the report states, suggesting that “leadership also needs to think about how to create an environment that is supportive of closeted staff, whether or not they ultimately decide to be open at work.” Such an environment should “include deliberate decisions around policy as well as meaningful acts of culture,” surveyed workers said.

Some respondents found campaigns to add pronouns to email and internal communications systems “alienating and stressful,” particularly for nonbinary workers who were not ready to discuss or make decisions about their gender presentation.

Project Include issued recommendations to help companies attract and retain trans and gender nonconforming workers and to improve inclusion in the workplace. They include: creating inclusive cultures for trans and gender-nonconforming workers; proactively supporting trans and gender nonconforming staff; providing accessible, gender-appropriate restrooms for employees and visitors; and ensuring that benefits are trans- and gender-inclusive.

“As with all meaningful change, trans and gender-nonconforming inclusion requires inclusion of all, a comprehensive approach, and metrics for accountability,” the report states. “Ultimately, learning how to make your workplace respectful of a marginalized group benefits all groups by creating better processes and better outcomes.”