How to Make Your Workplace More Inclusive for Transgender, Nonbinary and Gender-Diverse People

At Anima Leadership, we know that creating an inclusive workplace is essential to the success of any business. That means creating a workplace culture that is welcoming to all employees, clients and customers—including those who are transgender, nonbinary or gender diverse. So here are five things your organization can do right now that will make your office, virtual workplace, or organization more inclusive for people of all genders.

1. Make Physical Spaces Accessible for All Genders

image of gender-inclusive bathroom stalls

Maintaining gender-neutral spaces is one of the easiest ways you can make your workplace more inclusive for transgender and gender-diverse people. If barriers stop this from happening, make sure that everyone has access to existing gendered spaces that correspond with their gender. For example:

  • Make multi-stall washrooms or shared locker rooms accessible to people of all genders;
  • Clearly label single-stall washrooms as “All-Gender” with recommended signage that focuses on what is in these washrooms instead of who should be using them;
  • If others are uncomfortable with someone’s use of shared gendered spaces, advise them to use separate facilities instead of asking transgender, non-binary or gender-diverse people to change their behaviour.

2. Make Sure Your Policies and Practices Aren’t Based on the Gender Binary

Workplace policies and practices based on the gender binary (assuming the only two genders are “male” and “female” and that they must correspond with the sex assigned at birth) can inadvertently use language that excludes gender-diverse employees.

You can make existing policies more inclusive by reviewing documents, policies and procedures to remove gender-specific language and/or add options beyond male and female. For example:

  • Remove gendered language from policies by replacing “he/she” with “they”, or using gender-neutral titles like “parent” instead of “mother/father”;
  • Replace “male” and “female” checkboxes with an open-ended “gender” field—or omit gender collection entirely;
  • Include gender-neutral prefixes and honorifics like “Mx.” (pronounced “mix” or “mux”)—or omit prefixes and titles entirely;
  • Ensure uniforms and/or dress codes are not based on gender, allowing employees to present in ways that reflect their gender identity;
  • Use gender-inclusive language like “everyone” or “all of you”, instead of “ladies and gentlemen” or “you guys”.

3. Make Asking for and Sharing Pronouns the Norm

image of diverse staff speaking together

By normalizing the practice of everyone sharing pronouns, you can help create a more welcoming environment for transgender, nonbinary and gender-diverse employees. And it’s easy! For example:

  • Introduce yourself with your pronouns along with your name and title (ex: “Hello, my name is Annahid and my pronouns are she/her. I’m the CEO of Anima Leadership.”);
  • Don’t assume pronouns based on appearance, and ask for pronouns when you meet someone new (ex: “It’s nice to meet you, Shakil. What pronouns do you use?”);
  • Include your pronouns with your email signature, name tags, Zoom profile, business card and/or anywhere else you share your name and contact information;
  • Avoid language like “preferred pronouns” which make correct pronoun use seem optional.

4. Support the Trans Community Outside of the Workplace

To create a workplace that feels truly inclusive to transgender, nonbinary and gender-diverse people, it’s important that your organization supports the transgender community outside of the workplace as well. There are many ways to make your support clear to your own employees and to your clients and customers. For example:

  • Sponsor or donate to charitable organizations supporting transgender people or advocating for transgender rights;
  • Offer resources for employees transitioning, struggling with gender identity or who have loved ones who are transgender;
  • Speak out publicly against anti-trans legislation that affects your city, state, province or community and reiterate your position within your organization.

5. Invest in Ongoing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Education for Your Staff

image of diverse staff engaged in a training

Part of making your workplace more welcoming to transgender, nonbinary and gender-diverse people is ensuring that all employees understand the importance of creating an inclusive workplace and have the tools and knowledge necessary to do so. For example:

  • Bring in external experts instead of only relying on gender-diverse employees for direction;
  • Support employee resource groups (ERGs) that improve inclusion, attraction and retention and representation of gender-diverse employees;
  • Collect demographic and inclusion data from your employees to understand your current state of inclusion and where you need to improve;
  • Invest in ongoing training that will help staff understand their own unconscious biases around gender and other areas of difference.

Now What?

The most inclusive workplaces are ones where everyone of every gender identity feels they matter and belong—and that means creating an environment that is welcoming to and inclusive of transgender, nonbinary and gender-diverse employees.

If you’re not sure where to start, invest in professional support or begin by collecting demographic and inclusion data to understand how you can improve your employees’ experience at work.

Anima Leadership

Anima Leadership believes in a compassionate approach to racial justice where everyone can feel like they matter and belong.

Since 2007, we have worked with thousands of individuals and hundreds of organizations teaching, consulting and coaching transformative change. Our award-winning training programs and innovative measurement tools will help us journey with you from diversity basics to advanced belonging.

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