Supporting Trans Staff
The following information aims to support trans employees and their managers and colleagues. It includes guidance for trans employees and those who choose to undertake to transition at work. It aims to raise awareness of this aspect of gender equality and therefore ensure trans staff do not suffer discrimination, harassment and victimisation.
What does ‘Trans’ mean?
‘Trans’ is used in this guidance as an “umbrella” term for people who do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth including, but not limited to, those who are transgender, genderqueer, agender and non-binary.
Gender Recognition Act 2004
This Act allows people who meet certain criteria to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate. This Certificate then allows them to obtain certain specific legal documents (eg birth or marriage certificate) in their new legal gender. The Act makes it illegal to disclose someone’s Trans status without explicit permission from the Trans person themselves.
The Equality Act 2010
Gender Reassignment is one of the nine protected characteristics covered by the Equality Act. Someone has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment if they are proposing to undergo, is undergoing, or has undergone a process for the purpose of reassigning their sex by changing the physiological or other attributes of sex.
Under the Equality Act, this person is referred to as a “transsexual” person and the act makes it unlawful to discriminate against them in the workplace.
How the University Supports Transgender Employees
The University’s recruitment process is designed to be inclusive of all applicants including transgender applicants. During the application process, interviewers should not ask questions about an applicant’s gender identity or gender history but if the applicant chooses to disclose, they should be reassured that the University supports transgender employees and the information should remain within the interview room.
If, following a proof of identity request for right to work check, the applicant’s documents are in their previous name, the University will make the applicant aware of the full range of permissible documents and will handle the process in strictest confidence.
Names, pronouns and records
The University will take all necessary steps to ensure the individual’s change of name is respected. A Gender Recognition Certificate is not required for a transgender person to change their name so the University will never ask to see one to verify a name change.
Personal records should be changed by the time the individual presents at work with a new identity. Records include all systems that contain names, titles, photographs, etc and the University will work with the employee to ensure nothing is omitted.
In terms of pronouns, managers should discuss with the individual which they prefer to use. Those identifying as non-binary may not wish to use male or female pronouns and would prefer to use ‘they’ rather than ‘he’ or ‘she’ or other pronouns entirely [such as ‘ze’ or ‘zir’]. It is not always possible to know which pronouns someone uses based on their outward expression, so it is important to ask politely. Some people like to show their preferred pronouns on their email signature - this can be helpful to raise awareness.
All records that include details of an employee’s gender history should be destroyed unless there is a specific reason for keeping them. Where this is the case, they should be stored in line with GDPR rules and any breaches of confidentiality could result in disciplinary action.
Note – disclosure of the gender history of someone with a GRC without their permission would normally be a criminal offence.
Single sex toilets and facilities
The University will support an employee’s right to use toilets and facilities appropriate to their gender from the point at which they declare they are living their life fully in that gender. The individual may wish to use a single-occupancy toilet during their transition but they must not be forced to do this and a transgender person should not be expected to use an accessible toilet unless they have a disability.
The University will discuss with the individual when they want to start using facilities appropriate to their acquired gender and how this should be communicated to colleagues.
Supporting an Employee who is transitioning
Gender reassignment is the process of transitioning from one gender to another. This can involve hormone treatment and/or surgery, although some transgender people will transition without medical treatment.
As a manager, if a member of your team is undergoing gender reassignment you should:
- Respect confidentiality at all times and only discuss the matter with others with the individual’s permission
- If they have not already done so, discuss with the individual how and when they would like to tell colleagues
- If a uniform is required, make sure a new uniform is provided as soon as possible
- Support the individual with practical arrangements such as changing names on records
- The transitioning period can be a time of stress to make sure the correct wellbeing support is available
- Discuss how absence from work for reasons associated with transitioning (eg medical appointments/treatment) will be handled
Transitioning is a process that takes time so regular review meetings should be arranged to help manage the process and ensure the right support is in place.
Help and Support
Liverpool Hope University Personnel Office
You can speak to in confidence to one of our HR Managers
0151 291 3189
Gender Identity Clinics (GICs)
There are a number of Gender Identity Clinics (GICs), which offer formal diagnosis and access to other services like hormone medications and surgeries. For a list of both free and paid UK-based services, please visit https://genderkit.org.uk/resources/gender-services/.
The Trans Support Service supports transgender, and gender non-conforming people living in Liverpool, Sefton and Knowsley by listening to them, informing them of available options to relieve their gender distress and empowering them to move forward with their lives. Those wishing to access the service can usually be referred to the service by their GP, but they may also self-refer.
Trans Health Merseyside (THM) is a monthly wellbeing peer support space held via Zoom covering a range of health and wellbeing issues. Every 3rd Tuesday of the month, 3pm. New participants must register before attending. Contact Kath Charters for more details.
Further guidance for the HE sector
- Acquired gender: Used in the Gender Recognition Act 2004 to describe a person's gender after transitioning. As this is a legal term, many people now prefer to use the term "affirmed" gender.
- Assigned gender: The gender assigned to someone at birth, based on their physical characteristics.
- Cross dresser: Someone who chooses to wear clothes not conventionally associated with their assigned gender. "Cross dresser" is now used in preference to the term "transvestite", which is considered to be outdated and can cause offence. Cross dressers are generally comfortable with their assigned gender and do not intend to transition.
- Gender dysphoria: A recognised medical condition where the individual experiences severe discomfort and anxiety because their gender identity does not align with their biological sex.
- Gender expression: How someone manifests their gender identity in society, for example through their appearance and behaviour.
- Gender identity: A person's internal perception of their gender, their sense of self. For transgender people, their gender identity does not match the gender they were assigned at birth.
- Gender reassignment (or transitioning): The process where an individual changes their expressed gender to live fully in the gender with which they identify. For example, a person who was born female decides to take steps to live the rest of their life as a man. Gender reassignment does not require medical treatment and is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010.
- GRC - Gender Recognition Certificate – certification under the Gender Recognition Act 2004 by the UK Government’s Gender Recognition Panel enabling transsexual people to get their UK birth certificates and legal gender changed, and for the law to recognise them as having all the rights and responsibilities appropriate to a person of their acquired gender.
- Intersex: An intersex person is born with ambiguous genitalia and/or sex chromosomal variations, making it difficult to classify their biological sex. There are many different intersex conditions. An intersex person may self-identify as a man or a woman or neither.
- Non-binary: An inclusive term to describe people whose gender identity is "fluid" and not exclusively male or female. A non-binary person may identify as neither male nor female or may feel that they embody elements of both genders, or that they are something different. The terms intersex and non-binary are not interchangeable.
- Transgender (or trans): An umbrella term describing the diverse range of people whose gender identity or gender expression differs from the gender they were assigned at birth. The term can encompass individuals who are transsexual, cross dressers or non-binary.
- Transsexual: A transsexual person has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment and is defined in the Equality Act 2010 as someone who is "proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone gender reassignment". Gender reassignment is a protected characteristic under the Act. It is not necessary for a transsexual person to have to be under medical supervision to be protected in law from discrimination.
- Transphobia: A fear of or a dislike of transgender people. It is based on prejudice and misunderstanding and can involve verbal abuse, physical violence and other forms of harm.