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How to make your workplace non-binary friendly

22 July 2021 at 3:08 pm
Maggie Coggan
We look at what organisations can do to be more inclusive of non-binary, trans and gender diverse employees. 

Maggie Coggan | 22 July 2021 at 3:08 pm


How to make your workplace non-binary friendly
22 July 2021 at 3:08 pm

We look at what organisations can do to be more inclusive of non-binary, trans and gender diverse employees. 

Purpose-led organisations pride themselves on making the world a better place.  

But for non-binary, trans, and gender diverse employees, there might be policies and procedures within an organisation that mean they don’t feel safe or comfortable. 

There are steps an organisation can take to ensure that all team members (no matter how they identify themselves) feel confident to be themselves in their workplace. 

Want more articles like this? Read the first article of our new column, Into the Rainbow, focusing on Australia’s LGBTIQ+ community.

In recognition of International Non-Binary People’s Day earlier this month, we reached out to Tara Somerville, Diversity Council Australia member relations admin coordinator, to get their advice on how to create an inclusive workplace for non-binary, trans and gender diverse people. 

Add your pronouns 

An easy starting point is to add pronouns to your email signatures and name tags, as well as getting into the habit of introducing yourself with your pronouns. 

Somerville says that many people aren’t open about their gender identity at work, and you often can’t tell someone is not cisgender by looking at them, so making these simple changes makes a world of difference.  

“Making conscious efforts to be inclusive of gender diverse employees makes way for them to be more comfortable outwardly exploring and expressing their gender without fear of consequences at work, and for future employees to enter a workplace that already considers their needs,” they said. 

Make the gender neutral switch 

If your workplace has a dress code, make it gender neutral.

“Remove the requirements for staff to wear certain items according to their gender, and let them choose for themselves from options available,” Somerville said. 

They said it’s also important you don’t ask employees to use a certain bathroom – everyone has different preferences.  

“What’s more, it’s the law in Australia that employees can use the bathroom of their choice,” they said. 

Check beforehand 

Before telling colleagues or clients that an employee isn’t cisgender, remember to get their express consent.  

It’s also important to not misgender people intentionally, or use incorrect names. And while asking questions so that you get it right is ok, don’t get too personal.     

“This one might sound obvious, but please, don’t ask your colleagues invasive questions,” Somerville said. 

Don’t brush it off

If a non-binary, trans or gender diverse employee has a concern about something that’s happened at work, it’s important to acknowledge it and not brush it off because no harm or offence was intended.                     

“Take it seriously,” Somerville said. 

“And don’t ignore discrimination when a relevant employee is not there. Be inclusive all the time!”  

And if you’re interested in doing some further research on the issue, DCA has some great evidence-based recommendations in their Out at Work and Intersections at Work reports.

Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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