A decade back when we were given form to fill, there were columns ‘F’ and ‘M’ against sex. Happily now, we have an extra box for transgender persons to reveal their identity.
It took years for India to consider their existence. With the recent Transgender Persons'(Protection of Rights) Bill 2020, their struggle to work and earn like any other citizen is going to be fulfilled.
Even after all these bills and acts are passed in favour of them, the discrimination still continues. And specifically in a society like ours, it is important to support and motivate them. So with the recent bill, they have the right to work in a firm. Hence a firm consist of diverse people, the challenges trans persons have to face will be high.
In such situations, the role of an HR leader is significant. It’s not about being just a leader. Instead, you have to put in the human element to show what it really means to support the trans persons.
How can an HR leader be a model here?
1. Every person is different
For the ‘normals’ like us, they are transgenders. But for them, each is different based on their transition. So it is vital to recognise under which identity they fall.
The best thing you can do is to keep a benevolent approach towards them. Know more about their identity and insecurities. To alter into the physique to which their mind matches, they would have gone through too many surgeries.
Check on their mental and physical health. Give them medical benefits if needed.
The company is to provide training to trans persons. The training should give them a clear picture of their jobs. Many of them may have denied access to education. They may not be having a prior experience too.
This happened only because people including us kept them away from the mainstream. They were denied opportunities.
As a firm, it has the responsibility to upskill their trans employees. Maybe the firms have to give more training to them.
While offering extra training, the firm should also see that it never make them feel inferior.
Simultaneously, the firm is to give training to other employees as well. In most cases, the trans persons leave a job, not due to their poor performance, but the wrong attitude of coworkers towards them.
3. Data protection
The HR leaders are to keep the certificates and data of trans persons confidential. These documents are subjected to legalities(sensitive personal data) and are not to be disclosed.
Such data can only be processed where the employee gives explicit consent.
4. Infrastructural facilities
We have been familiar with the toilet signboards for females and males. Don’t think why to build a separate toilet for transgenders. It will insult them.
Even it is that you have only a trans person working in your firm, build a separate toilet for them.
Do not make temporary adjustments as they can put the trans persons in trouble.
5. Watch on your words
Be careful with the words, phrases, terms and jokes you say. Sometimes you may be knowing the person for so long before their transition. There is a chance that you accidentally addresses the person by their past identity(Misgender). This will hurt a trans person for sure. Avoid such circumstances.
6. Dress code
Do not force the trans employees to follow a dress code. Allow them to dress in the gender that they identify with. Whenever you feel it’s not up to company regulations, just imagine how you would feel when forced to dress up as your opposite gender. Being empathetic is the code you have to follow here.
These are some of the important things to keep in mind while appointing a trans employee. Everyone in a company is equally responsible for a trans person’s journey ahead.
There can be trans people with bitter past, grown in orphanages and streets. Do not hurt them by your words or actions. Help them overcome the difficulties and to lead a dignified life. Having gone through challenges, no doubt that they will form the most strong employees of your team.
Treasure them and keep them along.