Aug 05

We need transgender people to tell us about their workplace experiences

As part of the work that we are doing at the Workforce Productivity and Compensation Institute, we are looking at the experiences of transgender people in the workplace, and the issues they have with employers, coworkers, and customers. Our main goal is to establish materials that will help educate human resources professionals as to the experiences that transgender people experience in the workplace, so that those HR professionals can do their job more efficiently, while protecting the rights and dignity of transgender employees.

One of the primary things that we need is real-life experiences that transgender people have gone through in the workplace. We need to know about the positive experiences, so we can illustrate the steps and employer should take to accommodate and be inclusive of their transgender employees. We also need to know about the negative experiences that transgender employees have encountered, so that we can caution employers on specific problems they should seek to avoid, and give them the methodology so they can avoid those very problems.

What that means is if you are transgender, and have had any transgender related experience in your workplace, we want to know about it. Even if it is nothing more than the worry you have about how an employer will react if they find out you are transgender, or your fears that other employees might discover that you are transgender, we want to know about it. Your story can help employers know the unique situations that transgender people find themselves in, so that they can alleviate those difficulties, and provide positive resources.

So please, send us your story. And we would encourage you to make it long. Don’t be concerned that we might not find things you have to say is being important. From our perspective – in our research – everything you have to say is both important and informational.

We can’t stress this enough – we want to hear what you have to say.

So please, write your story, and email it to us. You can email it to us at:


Below you will find an example of one such work related story which was submitted to us. We are posting it as an example of what another transgender person has supplied.




Erika – 21, Salt Lake City, UT


For the record I am 21 years old, and these experiences take place about 4/6 months (so starting about two months ago to the present date) into a male to female transition. I do present full time, so I present as my gender identity in the workplace.

Well I guess I’ll just start with the good. I had not held a job for a while as I had an agreement going with my parents that as long as I was a full time student I would not need to work. Regardless of this a few months ago I decided to pursue work. Around mid may I was hired as a sales associate at Macy’s. The interview process was fine. There was no fuss made about my being a non-passing trans woman.

As for the actual job is where negatives start.

I was given no instructions on how I was to handle customer misgendering (as in when a customer, consciously or unconsciously, misgendered me). While I still have not asked, I feel as though employers should let trans employees know what grounds they have to stand on. All in all it’s not a huge deal to me, because customers are a uncontrollable variable.

I feel there should have been a notice put out as soon as I started (better in my opinion to be known and treated accordingly then to have it be shrouded in ambiguity), letting the other associates know what my preferred name and pronouns are. Especially any coworkers who would be working with me should have had it been made very clear what my pronouns are.

I would like to know what recourse I have for any transgender related incidents in the workplace. Can I correct coworkers? What if they purposely misgender me multiple times? I would like to know how much of a leg I have to stand on (which should be mine completely as misgendering in my mind is harassment).

If there are any differing policies for trans workers what they are. Bathroom policies or whatever.

A lot of these issue stem from the fact that I get nervous about conflict and just try to stick to non confrontation. I feel that management should have my back and make it very clear early on in the process of me starting that any slurs or harassment due to my being trans will be dealt with accordingly.

As for actual experiences mostly all I face is misgendering from coworkers/management , which is tough. I feel like I have no allies that I can go too, no one who would take any complaint seriously so I stay silent. I can’t say to any of this whether it is intentional or not. I am also supposed to be in a lgbt friendly company as well.

My major complaint if I have any is that it’s so frustrating not knowing what I can and cannot report, do, or talk to. I feel like I should be accommodated in this regard. I should have resources in place just like any other employee, but I feel like I don’t, especially when I have no idea if I’ll be taken seriously. I have no clue what anyone thinks. I really believe it should be made clear to me from the interview if a workplace will be transphobic, what policies I have to fall back on, and educating should be done for me not by me.

If you would like any of the above clarified or expanded on please don’t hesitate to ask. Thank you for the opportunity to share.

Notice: This website is a repository for our posts that go out to the world, but is not used as out primary messaging medium. The absolute BEST way to reach us, and follow our posts, is on LinkedIn. We have a group there, entitled The Workforce Productivity and Compensation Institute, and you are welcome to visit and interact with us there. To visit the group, go to: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8567153/

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