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Employers should do more to end trans discrimination

There's still more to be done to achieve transgender equality in the workplace

Organisations should be doing more to end discrimination against their trans employees, according to Debbie Hayton, a teacher and a member of the TUC LGBT committee.

Speaking at the Westminster Social Policy forum on policy priorities for transgender equality, Hayton shared some of the stories shared with her by transgender employees.

“One school said they would call the police on a trans member of staff if she presented as a woman,” she said. “One person was told that ‘a person like them’ shouldn’t be allowed to work with children. In the public sector, a woman got fired because she didn’t disclose her trans history before she was employed.

“This is despite the fact that 92% of trans people said they could perform just as well, if not better, after their transition.”

Hayton shared statistics from a Totaljobs report into HR provisions available for trans employees (What’s it like to be a trans employee?) , which found that 60% of trans employees had experienced transphobic discrimination, and 36% had left a job because they felt it was unwelcoming.

“We see that things are getting better, but there is still so much to be done,” Hayton added.

Steve Mulcahy, head teacher of Richard Lander School in Cornwall, expressed concern for the lack of guidance for authorities who want to help their transgender stakeholders.

“When transgender student Charlie joined the school, we put him under the pastoral care of an assistant head teacher. However, they felt out of their depth, as when they looked for guidance, there was precious little available," he said.

As such, the school worked towards creating their own document advising schools on how to help their trans students.

“I think there’s a belief that areas of the periphery of the country are out of the loop when it comes to inclusion, but I can affirm there is a lot of good will and a fighting spirit out there. I believe people are good, and society can change,” Mulcahy added.