Transgender Federal Workers Want More Training and Communication Around Gender Inclusion


Transgender federal employees have expressed their frustration around a lack of training and communication in relation to transgender protections and processes.

While transgender employees have said they appreciate the clarity and protections put forward in the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) guidance of gender identity and inclusion, which was published in March 2023 on Transgender Day of Visibility, they believe more should be done.

Federal workers believe that agencies could communicate guidance more effectively, both at managerial and employee levels. They say training should be put on for managers, so they are able to deal with the technical and legal issues that transgender federal employees often face.

Concerns were raised by two transgender federal employees involving the lack of detail about important aspects of transitioning, including changing their pronouns and names, and the protections in place regarding their transitions. Both employees said that had not seen or knew about the OPM’s guidance on gender identity and inclusion.

One employee said the agency had provided training on gender inclusion and sexual identity when they were first employed but the guidance focused predominantly on informing heterosexual and cisgender workers about LGBTQ+ issues.

Talking to the Federal New Network, one of the employees described how, when they raised the issue with their manager, they did not think he had much experience in dealing with the issue.  “He didn’t ask for pronouns or preferred name or anything,” the employee said.

The other transgender employee approached the HR department but found that the managers and employees had received little to no training on dealing with transgender employees. The employee also said the agency had not updated its training on harassment, informing how it was the same as prior to the release of the OPM’s guidance.

The OPM said that its updated guidance is an important resource to refer to as agencies work on improving gender inclusion practices, including pronoun and correct name use.

The story provides important lessons for the need for small businesses to stay informed and understand issues related to gender identity in the workplace.

Image: Envato Elements

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Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 7 years. She is based in the United Kingdom and since 2006, Gabrielle has been writing articles, blogs and news pieces for a diverse range of publications and sites. You can read "Gabrielle’s blog here.".

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