Two thirds of trans people don’t feel safe coming out as their true self at work

Vic Parsons March 22, 2021
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Protestors demonstrating against Trump's anti-trans military ban. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty)

More trans people than ever are in the closet at work.

Two in three trans people in the UK hide their trans status at work – a significant increase from five years ago, when a little more than half of trans employees had not disclosed they were trans to their colleagues and employer.

Of those who are out as trans at work, just 51 per cent received a positive reaction from their colleagues when they came out.

Additionally, one in every two trans people hides their trans status while looking for a new job, according to a survey of 410 trans people conducted by Totaljobs in collaboration with YouGov.

The survey of trans workers, last carried out in 2016, paints a picture of worsening conditions for trans employees in the UK.

Commenting on the figures, Lee Clatworthy, spokesperson for national trans charity Sparkle, said: “Many organisations are doing great diversity, equality and inclusion work internally, which is obviously important in retaining a diverse workforce that feels valued, but many are not promoting this work outside of the organisation to attract candidates from a variety of backgrounds.

“We would recommend de-gendering the language on application forms and throughout the recruitment process to ensure the first interaction with your company is as inclusive as possible.”

The survey also reveals that one in three trans workers has experienced discrimination at work in the last five years for being trans. Thirty-two per cent experienced bullying or insults, 27 per cent had been deadnamed and 30 per cent had been deliberately referred to with the wrong pronouns by colleagues. Six per cent of trans workers have been physically abused or threatened in their place of work.

These figures add to previous research, including that carried out by Stonewall, which has found similarly high numbers of trans people hiding their trans status at work. This is coupled with the fact that one in three UK employers openly admit they wouldn’t hire a trans person.

Trans children’s charity Mermaids told HuffPost that the survey results “unfortunately [don’t] come as a shock”.

“The open hostility and public discourse around trans people has become increasingly toxic over the last five years, with hate groups taking pleasure in deriding and demonising trans lives,” a spokesperson for the charity said.

“We know that many trans and non-binary people chose not to disclose their identity for fear of rejection, and some can feel that being open in the workplace will bring about a whole host of issues that they’d rather avoid.”

In February, research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) showed that over half (55 per cent) of trans workers said they had experienced conflict at work over the last twelve months. At least 50 per cent of these conflicts were unresolved, the workers said.

More: mermaids, Trans, transphobia

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