University of East Anglia (UEA) researchers studied workplace challenges experienced by transgender and non-binary staff. The study published in Work, Employment & Society could inform the development of more inclusive work environments. Transgender and non-binary people are often subject to workplace discrimination, harassment, and violence.
The researchers interviewed 11 Italian trans workers to understand how their experiences challenged binary gender norms. They also studied the transformation of workplaces that become more inclusive. Some examples of best practices include the provision of non-gendered restrooms and providing awareness training presenting gender identity as fluid and constructed. Processes that enable people to complete forms and choose their preferred pronouns were also critical elements of promoting workplace inclusion of trans people.
The study was based on a concept of gender where gender identity is fluid instead of fixed. Gender binarism is the notion that society only has two genders (male and female) and regards other gender identities as less acceptable.
Lead study author Dr. David Watson explained the importance of this research: “Our findings are important because trans and non-binary people do not have a strong voice in all workplaces, and where they are not inclusive or welcoming this can lead to significant harms.” The research suggests that all workers need to challenge binary gender norms in the workplace to transform work environments.
Although the study focused on the stigma and harm that trans workers can experience, the researchers also heard about positive experiences. As co-author Dr. Angelo Benozzo explained, “Departing from expected gender norms exposes individuals to vulnerabilities, although it may also prompt reflection on the nature of gender, thereby encouraging acceptance in the workplace and reducing vulnerability for others.” The researchers hinted that inclusion for trans workers could also make the workplace a safer and more inclusive workplace for others.
Sources: Eureka News Alert, University of East Anglia