Transgender employees : workplace impacts on health and well-being

Beauregard, T. Alexandra, Booth, Jonathan E. and Whiley, Lilith A. (2021) Transgender employees : workplace impacts on health and well-being. In: Hassard, Juliet and Torres, Luis D., (eds.) Aligning perspectives in gender mainstreaming : gender, health, safety, and wellbeing. Cham, Switzerland : Spinger. pp. 177-196. (Aligning Perspectives on Health, Safety and Well-Being) ISSN (print) 2213-0497 ISBN 9783030532680


Given that research consistently finds transgender individuals sustaining worse health outcomes than cisgender individuals, it is important to understand the workplace health and well-being experiences of trans employees in order to develop and support trans-sensitive Human Resources policies and interventions. We take an employee journey perspective to explore the experiences of trans individuals as they navigate organisational processes such as recruitment and selection, managing change, co-worker relationships, performance and termination. What the literature demonstrates is that transgender workers face many barriers to physical and psychological health, safety and well-being at work. These barriers can range from organisational oversights such as lack of access to appropriate bathroom facilities to social exclusion and/or verbal harassment from co-workers and physical attacks from customers. Anticipation of mistreatment generates psychological strain and anxiety and lowers trans workers’ career aspirations and career-building behaviours such as applying for jobs or promotions. Trans workers often conceal their transgender identity at work as a coping strategy for avoiding discrimination and harassment, but this in turn produces strain and fatigue arising from the cognitive and emotional effort involved in constructing and maintaining facades. Although HR staff should be the first point of contact for trans employees to develop their plans for coming out and for gender transition if applicable, our review indicates that in many cases, HR may not know how to initially or adequately respond.

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