Discrimination based on gender expression is a problem in the workplace, but employers have the power to make the right decisions for their employees. We at the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado believe that the social cost of discrimination is much greater than the cost of inclusion. The Gay & Lesbian Fund of Colorado wants you to take action and help spark change. We want you to foster an environment where each of your employees’ unique talents and differences will help promote growth. There are a number of measures organizations can adopt in order to create an inclusive environment:
- Create an open dialogue in the workplace that recognizes and values the inherent differences of all employees.
- Consider that individuals should be addressed with names, titles, pronouns, and other terms appropriate to their gender identity.
If an employee is uncertain about which name, pronoun (he/she, him/her), or title (Ms./Miss/Mrs./Mr.) to use while addressing a transgender person, it is generally appropriate to ask individuals what their preference is.
- Begin with an organizational nondiscrimination policy.
A sample policy is included in this packet.
- Provide gender neutral restrooms.
Restrooms should be a safe and private place for all people.
The Gay & Lesbian Fund and the Gill Foundation have adapted some of our own restrooms to be gender neutral and have equipped them with privacy locks to help ensure that everyone feels protected. Through this process we’ve found the following information helpful to post for our visitors.
“Did you know that some people may feel threatened or uncomfortable in multiple facility restrooms simply because of their gender expression?”
People who do not fit perceptions of how a man or woman should present themselves can be targets of discrimination and harassment in restroom facilities.
We have provided unassigned, locking restrooms so that people visiting the Gill Foundation and the Gay & Lesbian Fund feel protected.
It is our hope that other organizations might provide unassigned restrooms and/or single facility restrooms to ensure everyone’s ability to safely use restroom facilities.”
If you’d like to understand more about why restrooms need to be safe places for all people, and how you might be able to make your own facilities safer places, consider resources such as the Sylvia Rivera Law Project’s website (www.srlp.org) and the film by Tara Mateik, Toilet Training.
Ask appropriate questions. Be patient. Take action.