One of the major issues that transgender and gender non-confirming employees face at workplace is access to restrooms. Many transgender employees do not feel comfortable using restrooms created for their assigned gender, i.e. the gender assigned at the time of birth.
For example, a transwoman (who is assigned male at birth and woman-identified), may not feel comfortable using the restroom with men. Ideally, transgender employees should be allowed to use the restroom that suits their gender presentation. However in some cases, other non-transgender employees feel uncomfortable or raise objections.
It helps if you make transgender non-discrimination a company policy and make it clear to all employees. It is widely observed that non-transgender employees who complain at the beginning, get quickly used to the transgender employees using the bathroom based on their gender presentation. Here are a few options:
- Consider having at least one single occupancy, gender-neutral/unisex restroom within walkable distance in your workplaces
- If such a facility is not currently available, consider converting one of the multi-occupancy restrooms into a single occupancy room by simply providing a lock inside and an occupied sign outside.
- Include single occupancy, gender-neutral/unisex restrooms in all your future building plans.
Read Shambhavi’s blogpost on how her employer addressed the issue.
This issue is relevant to workplaces, educational institutions (schools, colleges), hostels, and health care facilities too.
We all rely on having a private place to attend to our biological needs. Those of us who are transgender deserve privacy and dignity like everyone else. Having a bathroom that we could use is not a special privilege, but a basic right.
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