The radical shift in public attitudes towards same-sex relationships we have observed in the past 25 years in the United States and the UK is a testament to the power of being out in the workplace.
As workers across companies collaborated with openly gay men and women, their fears and prejudice declined.
If there is one lesson from past progress on acceptance of LGBT+ people, it is that visibility is the cornerstone of social change. With the increased visibility of trans people in our communities, the media, and public life, comes awareness and changing attitudes – which is key to securing trans people’s fundamental rights.
As businesses work toward creating comprehensive cultures of equality, it is now imperative to enable trans individuals to thrive and be visible in the workplace.
Today, I am still baffled that when I speak to business leaders – particularly in Europe – about taking steps to ensure that trans people are included in the workplace, I still have the feeling I am talking about unicorns. They often have never seen or met a trans individual and sometimes believe it is an Anglo-Saxon invention.
There is some kind of a catch-22: as trans people are not visible, companies fail to change, creating a permanent barrier-to-entry for trans people.
At Out Leadership, our message is that trans people have a place in the corporate world and it is overdue for companies to take the steps to ensure they can apply, be hired and succeed at work.
At the individual level, on March 31st, International Transgender Day of Visibility, join us in making a pledge to provide a seat to a trans person whenever you have the opportunity, whether it is in hiring, selecting a board member for a non-profit, or even participating on a speaker panel.
Change starts with us and it starts today.