Transgender Day of Visibility 2022

Post author image. Charlotte Woodworth
On Transgender Day of Visibility 2022 Gender Equality Campaign Director Charlotte Woodworth looks at the urgent need to do more to create trans inclusive working cultures.
Charlotte Woodworth smiling

The twelfth Transgender Day of Visibility comes at a challenging moment, by any yardstick. 

From outright violence (data suggests last year saw increased violence against transgender or gender non-conforming people1) to health inequalities (the Lancet has warned COVID-19 has ‘exacerbated disparities for transgender and gender diverse people across several crucial determinants of health2‘), the signs are things are more difficult now than previously.

Here in the UK, anyone even lightly following the news agenda has seen the way in which trans rights and debates around how to realise them have often taken an aggressive, and at points outrightly transphobic, turn3.

Challenges to trans inclusion at work

Against these broader challenges, what of trans inclusion at work specifically? Recent research from McKinsey has highlighted how far we have to go before we can say workplaces and wider working cultures are truly inclusive4. This analysis found transgender people experience:

  • Bigger hurdles entering work. There are differing employment levels for cis and transgender adults. In the US, transgender adults are twice as likely as cisgender adults to be unemployed.
  • A larger pay gap. Estimates vary, but research has suggested this could be as large as 32%, significantly larger than the average gender pay gap.
  • Much greater barriers to inclusion at work. Trans men and women report feeling the need to hide or be discreet about their identities at much higher levels than other groups.

Nearly two-thirds of UK trans employees surveyed by YouGov said they have to hide their trans identity at work5. A third of trans employees say they had faced discrimination at work because of their trans identity6. This matters not just because inclusion at work is important, but also because wider social experiences can be heavily affected by working experiences, for example financial security.

Sunshine on the horizon?

While the overall picture is challenging, could there be some bright spots on the horizon? As with many communities that commonly face exclusive behaviours and practices in the workplace, some transgender people have reported finding the increase in remote working a relief6.

Research from the New York Times suggests ‘more employers are covering transgender health care in insurance plans’7. Anecdotally, Business in the Community (BITC) is seeing more inquiries from our members seeking support on creating trans inclusive working cultures. It is clear that for many, greater awareness of the challenges faced by transgender and gender non-conforming people has sparked a desire to be better allies.

Marking Transgender Day of Visibility 2022 and taking action on trans inclusion at work

Here at BITC we are committed to taking a trans inclusive approach to championing gender equality at work, in line with our desire to ensure all our work takes a truly intersectional and holistic approach. But true inclusion is about more than avoiding poor behaviour or language and seeking to be respectful. It must also involve active and deliberate attempts to change things for the better. This summer we will hold our first peer learning forum designed to support employers thinking about their own trans inclusion journeys. Sign up to the BITC newsletter to stay up to date.

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  1. Human Rights Campaign (2021) Fatal Violence Against the Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Community in 2021.
  2. Maria Munir (2020) How COVID-19 is affecting LGBT communities, Stonewall, 21 April.
  3. Nandini Archer (2021) Stonewall UK media director steps back amid ‘tsunami of transphobia’, Open Democracy, 21 May.
  4. McKinsey & Company (2021) Being transgender at work, 10 November.
  5. Lauren Brown (2021) Number of trans people who hide their identity at work increasing, poll finds, People Management, 25 March.
  6. ibid.
  7. Brittany Wong (2021) For Trans And Nonbinary People, The Pandemic Provided A Safe Space To Come Out, HuffPost, 4 November.
  8. The New York Times (2022) Some transgender people used remote work to make a change, 22 March.