Jessica Miller-Merrell | , , , ,| By
Last week I received a request from Kim who is a recruiter friend of mine who was sourcing for articles, communities and support not for her leadership or HR team but for a team member who is transgender and is in the process of transitioning. I, personally, have written about the subject of transgender in the workplace for leadership and discussing OSHA’s best practices for transgender employees, customers and individuals in bathrooms.
Resources and Support for Transgender Employees
I’m not an expert, but I am working hard to have compassion, empathy and understanding for all persons as we journey along together in this thing called life. I’m not asking you, as the reader, employer or employee to take a position for or against rights or lifestyle choices. What I am asking is that we provide resources, support and communication not just for our organizational leaders, the company, team members and employees but also for the employee who is transitioning or comes out as transgender. It doesn’t matter what your beliefs are. Your employer should be committed to providing a pleasant work environment that is free from toxicity, sexual harassment and fear. This is what I want for all people at my workplace, my friends, my family and community.
So when Kim asked me for resources for an employee that was transitioning, I realized there was a need. So I am aggregating, collecting and sharing seven different resources and communities you can share with your employee. Feel free to leave a comment at the end of this post, and I’ll add your resource to this post.
Employee Assistance Program
An EAP is a voluntary, work-based program that offers free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees who have personal and/or work-related problems. If your company offers an EAP, put your employee in touch with them to take advantage of the free services and counseling. I used my EAP in 2005 when I was going through a rough time in my life. I was getting divorced while dealing with the reality of being a domestic abuse survivor. The service helped me greatly during a scary time in my life.
The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project offers 24/7 support by phone, online or by web chat. They have professional counselors available day and night to talk to individuals. They are the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. Visit their website or call them at 866-488-7386.
Freedom For All Americans
The Freedom for Americans website provides resources, support and stories that are focused on trans equality. They have a nice collection of resources including LGBT state and local legislation as well as a robust guide for allies. This is a great resource for friends and family members of your trans employee. Click here.
“I Am: Trans People Speak” Video Series
This site contains a nice collection of videos from individuals who have walked a mile in your employee’s shoes. The “Trans 101” tab also provides a nice FAQ that includes commonly asked questions. These will be helpful not only for the employee but for you as well, as you communicate with other employees and provide training and resources. Click here.
Human Rights Campaign – Guide to Being You
The Human Rights Campaign has a great website filled with resources. They have a nice downloadable guide to being you that you can access at no cost. Additionally, they have a great employer resource section your employee and leaders can access. I like their guidance in suggesting that the transitioning employee have a designated sponsor. Click here.
While online resources and support are great, developing a strong network and personal relationships locally can provide your employee with an amazing in-person support network. Here is a list of local communities and organizations that you can direct your employee to. Click here.
Resources aside, I urge you to arm yourself with information especially your managers and organizational leaders starting with this National Transgender Discrimination Survey. It provides a real eye opener in terms of the types of resources and support that should be made available to trans employees especially when you consider that 41% of survey respondents have attempted suicide. I will also mention that 90% of those surveyed reported experiencing harassment, mistreatment or discrimination on the job or took actions like hiding who they are to avoid it. It’s up to us to drive awareness and change.
Have a resource that I don’t have listed here? Leave a comment and I’ll it to the list.