Employers should take the time to get to know their transgender employees. Ashley Brundage, vice president for diversity and inclusion at PNC Bank, says trans professionals' personal successes can resonate across the broader community. "When you put an economic voice behind your community, you have the ability to really control the narrative," she says. Donna Rose, enterprise LAN/WAN infrastructure program manager at American Airlines, says all of the transitioning medical costs she incurred were paid out of pocket, including facial surgery, body contouring, electrolysis and more. She adds that she would like to see more transgender professionals at the management and executive levels. Most transgender professionals say that gender identity is far from the most interesting or most important thing in their lives. Brundage says it is important for her to be visible and an ally to others. "I started transitioning before I joined the company, but yes, everything that I need so far has all been covered. That was one of my things I was peeking at when trying to decide where I was going to make a career. I think the Fortune 500 is really getting it. The trans community really is just another diverse community who are looking to be represented," she adds. "It's important for others in the workforce to be able to have that support because sometimes many people who are transitioning don't have that kind of engagement at home." Jamison Green, Founder of Transgender Strategies Consulting, says there is still a lot of unconscious bias in the hiring process, even as human resource managers adopt health-care benefits and health-care access for trans people. Christian Oropeza, vice president for commercial insurance at Long & Foster, advises trans women of color, who generally face more obstacles to acceptance, "keep going." Liz Fong-Jones, developer advocate at Honeycomb.io, says that with institutional support from HR policies and health care, many trans employees are out in the open, and she often supports others in the community by giving away nearly 50 percent of her income to support them. Julian Harris, licensed independent clinical social worker and therapist, says, "It's hard, you know, transitioning on the job...For many marginalized people, especially trans folks, you have to intentionally create your own safe spaces."
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Tags: Diversity and Inclusion , HR Policies , employee experience , Gender , Transgender , Future of HR