In a recent report from McKinsey, 40% of people who identified as nonbinary experienced an increase in gender-based harassment in the workplace since the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, 42% of trans nonbinary and genderqueer people experienced the same increase in gender-based harassment. Experts presume this increase is directly linked to the rise in national trans representation.
In response to these rising statistics, Project Include, a non-profit that uses data and advocacy to accelerate diversity and inclusion solutions, spent nearly nine months surveying 3,000 respondents across 48 countries and 50 industries. Among those surveyed were 266 people who identified themselves as trans, gender nonconforming, (GNC), so that Project Include could learn more about the obstacles they were facing, and how to address them—particularly in the workplace.
Here’s what they found, and what they say companies can do about it.
- In conversations with GNC workers, many described themselves as closeted or “soft closeted,” either concealing their identities or not actively disclosing them
- Lack of disclosure and trust suggests tech companies may have more trans and gender nonconforming employees than they realize
- Signaling a welcoming environment, workers said, should include deliberate decisions around policy as well as meaningful acts of culture shift
- Managers can be crucial when it comes to supporting transgender and GNC employees, and should take reports of bad behavior seriously
- Companies operating in regions where LGBTQIA+ people are policed or subjected to criminal penalties need to think carefully about the stakes of company-wide policy changes that could put workers or their family members at risk
What do trans people want out of their workplaces?
Buy-in from the top: Project Include recommends managers to begin by locating the origin point. Ask yourself, what is our culture like now for trans and gender non conforming people? What gaps can we actively close that might make the workplace feel unsafe for trans and gender nonconforming people? This type of executive representation and buy-in is crucial before any other steps can begin.
Company-wide training: Additionally, the report encourages training and education in order to clearly define inappropriate behavior surrounding gender non conforming issues in the workplace. Not only can this can help to empower employees to speak up when they witness misgendering or discrimination—it can provide clear guidance on what constitutes harassment.
Training for managers: Project Include emphasizes why managers specifically should be provided with training that includes discussion of trans and gender nonconforming issues as well as accompanying workplace policies that can affect these communities.
Systemic problems call for systemic solutions
While the report continues on to outline specific recommendations surrounding policy, benefits, and how to address various examples of harmful behavior, Project Include ultimately advises an all-encompassing approach when it comes to being an ally. In their words, “DEI should be woven throughout organizational planning as a whole, and not tacked on as an add-on.”