A recent survey found 7.2 percent of American adults identify as part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transexual, questioning/queer, intersex, asexual/aromantic (LGBTQIA+) community. With only 63 percent of the US population favoring same-sex marriage, it is clear that the nation still has a long way to go in terms of acceptance and understanding of gender diversity.
This is why the workplace—where people of different backgrounds and identities interact on a daily basis—should be one of the first places to promote inclusion through gender identity sensitivity training.
Only 23 US states explicitly protect gender identity and sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination laws, which means much work needs to be done to ensure the rights and protection of people who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Gender identity sensitivity training is a powerful tool for building understanding among individuals, teams, and organizations on how best to support the rights of LGBTQIA+ coworkers.
If you’re searching for terms like “gender identity best practices” or “gender identity sensitivity training,” you’re in the right place. This article will discuss why diversity and inclusion training matters so much, how it can help create an inclusive environment where everyone feels safe expressing their true selves, and how you can implement it into your organization.
Understanding gender identity #
One cannot appreciate the importance of gender identity sensitivity training without first embracing and understanding what gender identity is.
Gender identity refers to a person’s internal sense of their own gender, whether that is male, female, both, or neither. It may align with the sex assigned at birth or differ from it.
For example, someone might be male according to the biological definition but identify as female; such individuals are often referred to as transgender. Others may not feel they fit into the binary categories of “male” or “female,” identifying themselves as non-binary or agender instead.
These identities are deeply personal and unique to each individual and don’t depend on biological facts or societal expectations, but rather on an individual’s self-identified experience.
Respecting people’s gender identities includes properly using their pronouns and names because everyone has the right for their self-defined experiences to be recognized and respected by others.
The need for gender identity sensitivity training #
Aside from having fewer states that protect their rights, the LGBTQIA+ community is prone to problems relating to hiring and firing, wages, and benefits. Since the government may take a while to enact laws that protect the community’s rights, employers need to step in and provide their own training programs.
This type of sensitivity training can help create an inclusive work environment by teaching employees how to recognize gender identity discrimination in the workplace, understand gender diversity, and practice respect for all individuals. It can also help prevent hostile or uncomfortable working conditions due to prejudice of any kind.
Essential components of gender identity sensitivity training #
To successfully promote gender identity sensitivity in the workplace, employers must ensure their training program covers these key components:
1. Language and terminology #
Multiple-institution research presented at Wharton University mentioned the effect of language on how the public views certain issues. It’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the terms and language used for better gender identity sensitivity. Some of the most common matters to be discussed include:
- Pronouns: The use of pronouns such as “he,” “she,” and “they” for referring to people of different gender identities.
- LGBTQIA+: This acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Transsexual, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual/Aromantic. It is important to be aware of all the labels that exist so that employees know how to address people in a respectful manner.
- Gender identity basics: This includes an understanding of gender identity, gender expression, and the differences between sex assigned at birth and gender identity.
- Dead-naming: This happens when someone refers to a trans person by their birth name or previous gender identity instead of the one they currently identify as. It is disrespectful and invalidating.
2. Defining and addressing discrimination #
Discrimination, one of the common gender identity issues in the workplace, can take many forms, including direct and indirect. Training should teach employees to recognize different types of gender-based discrimination and provide strategies for responding to them.
3. Establishing respectful workplace policies #
Employees need to be aware of existing policies that are in place to protect people from any form of discrimination. This includes introducing clear guidelines on acceptable behavior within the workplace as well as resources available for those who experience harassment or bullying related to their gender identity or expression.
4. Creating a supportive, inclusive environment #
Employers should make sure to create an environment where all employees are respected and accepted. This includes providing resources such as mental health support services, gender-neutral restrooms, and other accommodations for individuals of different gender identities.
Apart from these essential components, employers may also consider introducing additional measures to ensure gender identity sensitivity. For instance, employers could run workshops or activities that promote understanding and acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as recruitment and retention strategies that support a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Gender identity sensitivity training can be an invaluable tool for creating a safe and inclusive work environment. The next thing employers can do is look at how they can implement and measure the effectiveness of such training programs.
Implementing gender identity sensitivity training #
Starting with existing employees, employers can provide sensitivity training that covers topics such as understanding different genders and how to talk about gender identity in the workplace. Employers should also ensure that new hires are aware of the company’s policies on such matters.
Companies can track progress by introducing surveys and questionnaires to gauge employees’ understanding of gender identity sensitivity. They can also look at metrics such as employee retention rates, diversity initiatives, and complaints related to gender identity discrimination and harassment.
Gender identity sensitivity requires an approach that is unique to each workplace. Employers should strive to create a culture of acceptance and understanding while also recognizing the importance of providing tailored training and resources for their employees.
With the right training and resources in place, employers can create an environment where everyone is respected and accepted for who they are—the way it should be for any space.
Our mission at ELM Learning is to use meaningful learning to build community. You can be sure that the learning solutions and corporate training programs we provide are going to help develop a workplace culture of respect and acceptance.
Boost your company’s morale, productivity, and gender sensitivity awareness; contact us today.