Hi Zara. I'm sorry you feel that way because I disagree with you on some details. I have needed support in the workplace for a variety of reasons over the years, and it is my job to support people in the workplace.
I'll close with a blog entry I wrote last year.
Today I have been reading a report on the mental health issues that commonly affect people who identify as trans. I've also been trying to see if there's any research that might suggest a correlation between apparently common societal transphobia and the Uncanny Valley as a source of cognitive dissonance that might trigger an (un/sub)conscious phobic reaction.
I love my job...
You brought up the whole subject of supporting disabled people. I am of the view that trans people don't need any extra support in the workplace. They should be subject to the same rules as everyone else. If they need time off for medical procedures, some companies give leave for non-essential medical procedures and some don't.
This is why I made my original point - that an employer thinking about the consequences of hiring a transitioning person might decide not to do so, because they don't want to have to support someone through the transition.
As for washroom facilities - relabel all Disabled facilities as Accessible facilities. Job done. Nobody feels stigmatized by having to use a 'Disabled' bathroom when they're not disabled (a common theme...), and the facilities are usually completely private for one person already.
You say that many employers and HR staff won't have this knowledge? Why not? It's not like it's difficult to obtain. Type 'supporting trans employees' into the search engine of your choice. I got 57 million results and the top three were from Stonewall, ACAS, and Employers Network.
The ACAS one is particularly interesting. it lists the three main practicalities as toilets, dress code and data protection. Make sure they can use the facilities, make sure nothing in the dress code is going to be an issue, and make sure that access to their personal information is kept only to those who may need to know. Everything else is about not allowing other staff to act badly towards your trans staff. Make sure you have policies in place to deal with this sort of behaviour and make sure everybody knows that it *will* be dealt with.
Under all other circumstances, the only question I have for any employee is: can you do the job you've been hired to do?
Who said trans people were 'disabled'? Disability access is a totally separate argument.
If you need equipment to help compensate for disabilities, you should have everything you need. On the other hand, blind people don't get to be bus drivers.
Once reasonable adjustments have been made where possible, the appropriate level of support anyone should need to have the same opportunities as their colleagues is zero.
As trans people are not disabled, they should need no support to compensate for a disability they do not have.
I have spoken with many LGBT people, and I have frequently heard that they don't want 'special treatment' in the workplace. Being treated like snowflakes can be almost as bad as deliberate rudeness in its own patronising way. One of the easiest ways to avoid this is to make sure *everyone* is equally protected from unfair and unpleasant treatment by dealing with it as strongly as possible as soon as it happens.
There are huge swathes of employment law already available to deal with genuine misconduct and managers should know how to apply them.
Perhaps trans people are discriminated against during the recruitment process. Perhaps employers sometimes look at a person's complex background and think:
"This person is going to need a lot of time off. This person is going to require extra support, and bring all sorts of issues to the workplace that we've never dealt with before. I don't fancy all the extra diversity training and assorted hassle; I'll just hire the equally-qualified straight person who also applied.".
Is that discrimination?
Do trans people face difficulties disclosing their journey? Not everyone is comfortable with some of these ideas, and may simply not want to discuss them in the workplace. That doesn't make them bad people.
Do trans people not receive the right support through transition? Where does it say that that is an employer's concern? A lot of employees will have difficult and stressful situations in their personal lives which are nothing to do with work. Caring for an elderly or disabled relative, a messy divorce, dealing with a family member in trouble with the law; any number of non-work things could be putting immense pressure on staff. Where's their support through the difficult period? Do they not deserve it too?
Here's an appropriate response to being told many things in the workplace:
I don't care.
You're gay? Don't care.
You're trans? Don't care.
Your religion, ethnicity, gender and body shape? Don't care.
If someone in the workplace is giving you a hard time for any of these aspects, I care about *that* and I'll make it stop.
Under all other circumstances, in the workplace, all I care about is your actual skills and ability to do the job.
You want equality - that's the purest form. You get treated *exactly* like everybody else.
How much of this is simply unbridled ego? The people who get these top jobs with international companies generally do not do so by being little nice people.
This kind of mindset can be very difficult to convince that it has made any form of mistake. They believe that they can't afford to lose the slightest amount of 'face', or they will be immediately and ruthlessly usurped.
Their belief in their inherent Rightness (and it deserves the capital letter...) is what pushes them on to deny the obvious. How can the world not be bending to their will? Inconceivable!
Alphas gonna alph.
"Essentially, what is happening is that prospective employees are being assessed on subjective and inconsistent criteria that may not be related to the job description."
Almost as though they were being evaluated by humans with their own set of skills, opinions, likes and dislikes.
There seems to be an attitude that if J Random Person with Skillset X is introduced into a team which needs Skillset X, then that will be a success, because the fit of the skillset is the only important thing. The person is anonymous, faceless, like all the other employees. Just a resource control number.
"Hello Team Member 7439Q. I am New Hire 669X. My functions are listed on this document. Please provide appropriate tasks."
These are people who live and work together for hours. Yes, we expect people to be professional in the workplace, but we also expect them to be people. Friction appears in all sorts of unexpected places - who doesn't refill the coffeepot - who never takes late call - who won't shut up about the TV series they're watching or the sports team they're following.
Sometimes you can look at a person and know that although they might be very good at their job, they won't fit in with the people you already have, and the disruption to the current team spirit isn't worth any of the positives you might get from them.
That's not discrimination - that's knowing your people.
Why would you not make exceptions for the best performers? Isn't it worth keeping around some brilliant people, because they're generally the ones who come up with the visionary ideas?
Corporate culture doesn't have to be beige. It doesn't have to be bland. But there seems to be this push to pasteurise and homogenise everything, so that no-one stands out, and no-one's ever offended or challenged in the workplace. Just good little beige drones, grinding through the allotted tasks with the regulation amount of enthusiasm.
There's more 'culture' in the suspect yogurt at the back of the fridge.
Thank you for the clarification. I'll re-read the material. That is a very different point to the one I originally took away.
I am often brought up short when the response to "But isn't that obvious?" is: "Well, it wasn't until we proved it...".
Thanks for the cogent response.
Discretionary effort isn't 'free' - there's a cost incurred by the worker in time/energy. And management have a habit of 'rewarding' productive people with more work because they get things done.
This took 3 Professors and a Doctor to figure out?
Do diverse workplaces do better? Probably - alloys are often stronger.
The mistake arises when someone looks at a successful company with a diverse workforce, attributes success to the diversity, then attempts to simply purchase the appropriate level of diversity. It's like engagement - you can't just go out and buy it.
Chances are the successful company has grown and changed organically into its diverse status, as people got promoted, moved and hired over time. Trying to shoehorn some twisted corporate idea of 'diversity' into the company by selecting specific traits for new hires other than competence at their job is not going to achieve the desired outcome.
Oh, and could you do it before the end of next quarter, please - we want to start seeing the results on the bottom line straight away.
I fail to see the issue with a meritocracy.
Hire your best candidate, whatever their personal attributes, but don't make those personal attributes part of the reason for the hire. Hiring to match some arbitrary, pre-determined demographic, instead of mapping competences to requirements - that sounds oddly short-sighted to me. If you have two or more equally skilled and capable people, then sure; flip a coin, or pick the one with the firmer handshake, or the nicer smile, because at that point it doesn't matter.
I want to know the person next to me is as good as they can be at their job, and as long as that's the case, I don't care about anything else.
Hire the right people - you'll get diversity for free over time. Hire diverse people, hoping to get the right competences for free - I suspect you'll get your diversity, but I don't think it'll do you that much good.