Getting along in the workplace is essential, especially in this fast paced world that relies on teambuilding and flexibility. In the course of the workday, you will undoubtedly work with people from different races, ethnicities and sexual orientation. It is important to know about how to treat all of your co-workers, including your transgender co–worker. not only to show sensitivity toward a fellow employee, but because it is specified in workplace law in many states.
According to the ACLU website, many US States, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and the District of Columbia, have specific laws in place to bar discrimination against transgender people when it comes to housing. Many cites have also adopted laws to protect transgender individuals when it comes to equal opportunities for health care, housing, and employment.
Aside from the legal mandates, it is important to always treat your transgender co-worker the same as you would any other fellow employee. That means not advertising their status to your curious friends so they suddenly find reasons stop by your shop or office to “have a look” at the transgender person, as if he or she were on display. Also rude is watching to see which restroom they use, following them in to “sneak a peek” or asking questions about their sexuality that would be obviously be inappropriate if they were not transgender.
Avoiding your transgender co-worker is just as wrong as inappropriate interaction. Avoiding teamwork where you will come into contact with this person is unacceptable, whether stated outright or implied by making excuses or hastily requesting transfer to another project or division of your company.
The most important thing to remember is to relax and just treat your transgender co-worker as you would anyone else. Don’t be afraid to share ideas, and it is not required to sensor every word out of your mouth like “female” or “male”. If you approach this person with an attitude of camaraderie and good will as you would anyone else in your workplace, all will go well.
We all have our workplace personalities. Some co-workers are bubbly and inherently friendly to all in the workplace. This is the person or group who organize showers, going away parties and seem to have a bakery on call to produce a cake when someone has a birthday. Conversely, there are some workers who just punch in and out, and are pleasant, but whether due to family life at home or just their personality, don’t really engage in Friday’s happy hour. If that is your workplace personality, you do not have to fake a phony smile and fawn all over the co-worker. It will seem artificial, as it is artificial, and the transgender person, having perhaps been well used to discrimination, will be able to sniff out your phoniness a mile way. Treating someone different for any reason is discrimination, so don’t alter your normal workplace attitudes or routines.
Your transgender co-worker only wants to be treated like everyone else, nothing more or less.