Understanding Gender Identity: The Foundation of an Inclusive Workplace

June 16, 2023

Gender isn’t as binary as merely male and female. Employers aspiring to accomplish their diversity and inclusion objectives must recognise that gender is a fluid concept. The initial step towards appreciating the influence of gender inclusivity on the workplace is to comprehend the spectrum of gender identity.

Let’s unravel the notion of gender identity: imagine gender as both an identity and a role. Identity refers to who individuals perceive themselves to be, while role pertains to how they portray themselves to the world. Bear in mind, whilst everyone possesses a gender identity, it sometimes aligns with their assigned sex at birth, but at other times it does not.

For instance, individuals may identify themselves as men, women, or as having no gender. They may also identify as transgender, gender fluid, gender queer, or having a non-binary gender. Sometimes, a person’s gender identity may not synchronise with the sex they were assigned at birth or with their physical characteristics.

Understanding and respecting this spectrum of gender identity is crucial to cultivate inclusivity in the workplace, ensuring that LGBTQI+ individuals and their allies can flourish.

Why is it Imperative For Employers to Embrace Gender Identity?

Did you know, over 3% of the UK population identify as LGBTQI+? These individuals bring unique perspectives, skills, and contributions to your organisation.

However, the unfortunate truth is that nearly half of LGBTQI+ employees have encountered discrimination or harassment at work due to their gender identity or sexual orientation. It should be a priority to tackle and prevent this issue to protect their wellbeing, increase job satisfaction and enhance your workplace culture for all employees.

Understanding and actively supporting employees of every gender identity is critical, and employers hold the key to making this a reality.

What Actions Can Employers Take to Promote Gender Inclusivity?

For far too long, the needs of the LGBTQI+ community have been overlooked, both in the workplace and in healthcare settings. It’s high time that employers foster an inclusive workplace environment that caters to the unique health needs of all individuals, irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The solution lies in gender-inclusive, specialised healthcare support, provided by expert clinicians who are trained in and dedicated to delivering care for the LGBTQI+ community with empathy. Importantly, healthcare support should be easily accessible and confidential, breaking down barriers and empowering individuals to seek help for their health without fear of judgement.

Prioritising health support specific to LGBTQI+ individuals isn’t just the right thing to do – it has substantial benefits for your business:

  1. Boost Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I): Exhibit your commitment to DE&I by prioritising inclusive health support. Implement comprehensive care that respects the unique needs of LGBTQI+ employees, fostering an environment where everyone feels valued and respected.
  2. Attract and Retain Top Talent: Become a beacon for talent in your industry. LGBTQI+ job seekers actively seek employers who prioritise inclusion. Offer robust health coverage that addresses their specific needs, attracting a diverse pool of top talent and cultivating a reputation as an employer of choice in your business.
  3. Enhance Wellbeing and Productivity: Support LGBTQI+ individuals’ health to positively impact their wellbeing and productivity. Access to affirming healthcare leads to improved mental health, reduced stress levels, and increased job satisfaction. This, in turn, drives higher levels of productivity within your workforce.

It’s Time to Take the Lead as HR and Benefits Leaders

In conclusion, you can construct an inclusive workplace that celebrates gender identity by putting these best practices into action.

Implement clear non-discrimination policies, explicitly including protections for gender identity and sexual orientation. Go above and beyond to become an employer of choice for top employees, irrespective of their gender identity, by offering comprehensive healthcare plans covering LGBTQI+ affirming care, mental health support, and access to LGBTQI+ competent providers. 

By taking these steps, you will foster a culture of respect and inclusivity for LGBTQI+ colleagues and allies, which in turn will only positively impact your bottom line.

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