Transgender in the Workplace
Congress will be voting on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) soon, and if an editorial in this weekend’s New York Times is any indication, and inclusive version of the ENDA is likely to pass.
A combination of factors can explain the current political environment. There has been an increase in media attention to transgender issues in the past year. And there has been a grassroots movement that has been spearheaded by transgender individuals for equality in the workplace. The internet has made a world of difference in people’s access to information. So the transgender community is in a much better position now than it was just ten years ago.
Author Vanessa Sheridan has a new book out called The Complete Guide to Transgender in the Workplace to help businesses get up to speed so that their employment practices are in compliance with the ENDA. Sheridan says that she was inspired to write the book because she wanted to reach a wide audience with her writing. “This book is immensely important because an inclusive ENDA means that every business must be open to hiring and retaining transgender employees. When ENDA becomes law, companies will have to at least consider the issue, whether they want to or not.”
Sheridan explains that her book will help companies become proactive on the issue. The book includes some basic introductory chapters to help employers understand what transgender means, but it also has suggestions for drafting company employment policies, as well as sample training materials.
One of the primary issues that employers will have to consider if ENDA becomes the law of the land is the great bathroom debate. Everybody pees. However, transgender people often have to debate with themselves about whether or not they should use a public restroom. Transgender individuals often hold it in, rather than risk getting assaulted in a restroom. Either way, bathroom access can present serious health issues, and the great bathroom debate needs to be resolved. According to Sheridan, there are two potential solutions:
- All employees should use the restroom designated for the gender that they are presenting, or
- Unisex bathrooms should be available
There are also chapters about coming out as transgender in the workplace, both for the transgender worker and for their coworkers and employer. Not surprisingly, Sheridan advices that the best thing you can do when someone comes out to you as transgender is to use the correct pronouns.
The Complete Guide to Transgender in the Workplace is an awesome resource. It has helpful information for people who are unfamiliar with transgender issues, but it’s also a useful tool for those of us who know about transgender issues but want to do more as an ally. It’s such a great book that we’re giving away a copy here on Queercents. Leave us a comment about why you can benefit from this book and how you intend to put the information into practice, and we’ll send you a free copy courtesy of ABC-CLIO Publishers.