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HR's Guide to Celebrating International Transgender Day of Visibility

We explore various ways HR professionals can actively celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility within their organizations.

Anna Coucke

by Anna Coucke - March 22nd, 2024

International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV), observed annually on March 31st, is a day set aside to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive individuals. 

For HR professionals, this day presents an opportunity to foster a more inclusive workplace environment and enhance their organization's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) by showing support for transgender employees, family members, and friends.

This guide explores various ways HR professionals can actively celebrate TDOV within their organizations and promote awareness, foster understanding, and create a safe space for transgender individuals.

History of TDOV

Started in 2009 by American activist Rachel Crandall and marked by a 2021 proclamation by President Joe Biden, TDOV arose from a desire to counter the negativity that often surrounds transgender people in the media. TDOV is a day meant to highlight the achievements and triumphs of transgender people while also raising awareness of the discrimination and violence they continue to face, and advocating for a world where they can live authentically and safely. 

Importance of celebrating TDOV in the workplace

Celebrating TDOV goes beyond a one-day event. Taking the time to recognize and support transgender and gender-expansive individuals signifies a company's ongoing commitment to building a workplace that embraces and celebrates their unique experiences. 

With Harvard Business Review finding that 47% of transgender employees have experienced discriminatory behavior at work, taking time to recognize the importance and significance of transgender people in the workplace can help promote further understanding and acceptance.

Additionally, participating in TDOV and committing to protecting and supporting transgender workers shows that a company is dedicated to fostering an inclusive culture of respect and belonging for all employees, which is vital for improving overall employee engagement and well-being.

How to Celebrate Trans Day of Visibility in the Workplace

Celebrating TDOV requires both respect and action. First, it's important to acknowledge that not everyone in the transgender community is comfortable with being visible. Before including transgender employees in TDOV activities, ask them if they'd like to be involved, and be sure to never out someone without their permission.

Educate on Transgender Experiences

Education on transgender terminology is vital. Share educational material that unpacks the differences between sex assigned at birth, gender identity, and sexual orientation, as well as pronoun usage and other terminology specific to the transgender experience.

Here are some resources to get you started:

While this day is meant to be a celebration, don't shy away from discussing the challenges the trans community faces – spend some time discussing current anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation and its impact on transgender people. 

Legal challenges on the basic human rights of trans individuals, particularly children, are becoming increasingly common. Additionally, research has found that transgender people are over four times more likely to be victims of violent crimes than cisgender people. While these conversations may be difficult, it is important that we all understand the challenges and dangers transgender people face in their everyday lives.

Amplify Transgender Voices

Hear from transgender voices directly by inviting speakers from the transgender community to share their stories in person or virtually. You can also organize a book club (if your company doesn’t have one already) and take some time to read transgender literature to deepen your understanding of trans experiences. Here are a few titles to consider:

Support Transgender Organizations

Finally, show support where it counts by donating to and supporting organizations run by and in support of transgender people. Check your community for local companies and organizations to support, or consider larger organizations such as:

Final Thoughts

Celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility in the workplace is a crucial step towards building a truly inclusive and respectful environment for all employees. This not only benefits transgender employees but fosters a stronger, more accepting, and engaged workforce for the entire organization.

By implementing these suggestions, HR professionals can create a workplace where transgender individuals feel valued, supported, and empowered to be their authentic selves. 

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