||[Jun. 23rd, 2010|06:13 pm]
Over in Dublin it's Pride week, and I decided that this year I'd actually go to an event other than the march itself; so I did. I went to an event titled
Workplace Diversity - PRIDE at Work. My main thought after was, "Cripes! We have a long way to go." A lot of the people speaking covered Lesbian and Gay, very rarely touching on Bi issues (very rarley). Rarer still was the mention of trans issues. Obviously, Stonewall didn't mention trans issues (and their rep got a very bleak reception from any trans folk in the room - nothing bad, just not applauding him in any sense), but the others, who did have T in their mandate, were hard-pressed to mention it.
I could go on for ages, but what I found really interesting was when I talked to the multi-nat computer folks: IBM and Microsoft. I had a wee conversation with two of them, asking, "If I look up my employer, and yours, on HRC.org, I'll see that they mention that there is a written policy on transition in the workplace. But are you confident that you would be able to find it easily on your company's intranet?" (Most multinats - hell, even most small tech outfits - have the same setup of an intranet, a network accessible only from within the organisation, with seamless access to the internet)
The responses I got were surprising. Mostly Microsoft's was "Well, we don't have any in Ireland, but I assume we'd play it by ear - why would you have a written policy for something like that?", and IBM's wasn't much different. There again, the guy I was talking to didn't get it, and basically told me, "Well, first you'd have to talk to some doctors...". After explaining that I was assuming that the medical side was already the responsibility of the employee, and that the policy was for internal management of such a change and something that provided an outline of what the employee can expect, the answer was more or less, "We play it by ear".
In effect, both reps side-stepped the question and talked about how difficult it would be to manage, and that it's a question for individual managers and HR. Yet, both IBM and Microsoft claim to have a written policy on the matter.
Now the thing is, I'm willing to forgive them by virtue of the fact that they're just reps; they don't have any direct involvement in policies - at most, they're the ones arranging some gay events for employees, and probably wouldn't need to know about any policies unless the situation arose. So, here's an exercise that I'd love anyone (trans or otherwise) in a multinational company to try:
- Look up your employer on the HRC Employer Database and check if it has a tick beside the following text, "Has written guidelines or procedures concerning employees who transition on the job".
- Go onto your company's intranet, and search for any evidence of such a policy.
If you don't work for a multinational, pass the word onto others and see what they can dig up. What you do with the results is up to you, but I'd really love to know if anyone can easily find such a thing; I know I can't.