Gender reassignment assistance is a hot topic among business managers with transgender employees on their payrolls. The LGBTQ+ movement is more in the public eye than ever before, meaning managers must know how to talk about transgender subjects sensitively and implement policies that respect the trans community.
Group Enroll can help you provide financial and medical assistance to your employees. We work with the best insurance companies in Canada, ensuring that you get the best quotes for group benefits packages. Offering a comprehensive group benefits package to your employees boosts workplace morale and attracts qualified candidates to your job postings.
Below, we will discuss the topics of gender identity, gender confirmation surgeries, and how you can implement reassignment assistance for your trans employees.
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Gender Reassignment Overview
Transgender people have most of the same medical necessities as the rest of the population. However, some individuals require specific kinds of care. Gender reassignment refers to the transition from the gender assigned at birth to another.
For example, transgender people may need gender-affirming related medical care, which seeks to match physical appendages with gender identity. Some health services transgender people may need include hormone treatment, genital reconstructive surgery, and facial reconstruction.
Transgender individuals are more likely to suffer from poor mental and physical health. For example, in the U.S, transgender individuals are four times more likely to contract HIV and have over twenty times the chance of attempting suicide than others. The NTDS also finds that nearly twenty percent of trans people experience homelessness.
Transgender individuals are also more likely to experience poverty than the general population. In Canada, 34% of the Trans PULSE survey respondents report that they experience poverty. Health disparities exacerbate these health disadvantages.
In 2013, nearly 30% of trans people requiring urgent care could not access it. Identifying what keeps transgender people from getting health care, including organizational, interpersonal, and lawful barriers, is vital to improving the health and welfare of the trans community.
Barriers for the Trans Community
Transgender people face many barriers in daily life. Not everyone is open to the idea of transgender people, and discrimination can lead to a host of problems for transgender people, including the inability to obtain housing or employment.
Transgender people also experience harassment and violence at higher rates than the general population. These obstacles can be frustrating, but they are not insurmountable. Business managers can help make life easier for trans employees by understanding the daily barriers they face.
Health care services can be hard to access for transgender individuals because of individual-level barriers, such as poor access to care, limited care options, and low health care motivation. Many transgender people perceive health care services, physicians, and organizations as untrustworthy.
Past negative experiences or transphobia in health care facilities have many trans people feeling pessimistic about physician’s offices. Trans people who distrust healthcare services will likely stop visiting their doctors and healthcare services and avoid going to them for the foreseeable future.
Barriers to competent care for transgender people include a lack of health understanding and knowledge about where to find exceptional trans services. For example, a United States medical study finds that misunderstandings regarding pap test rules, such as the belief that you must have a sexual relationship with a male to get a pap test, affect the likelihood that trans patients will get a screening for cervical cancer.
Many transgender individuals in countries with no universal health care postpone medical services due to high prices, while those with universal health care do not. Despite the country’s universal health care policy, transgender individuals suffer higher unemployment rates than the biological male and female averages in Canada and have difficulty getting health coverage from their employers. Many group benefits plans do not cover gender reassignment treatments, such as bottom surgery and gender confirmation surgery.
Medical studies show that the shortage of medical specialists comfortable providing care to transgender individuals is another barrier for trans people. Transgender individuals seeking gender reassignment and bottom surgery have to search far and wide for services. Providers experienced in mental health, HIV risk, and substance abuse are in short supply.
Many studies report health care providers lack sensitivity to trans patients. Some transgender individuals claim that medical providers display negative or transphobic behaviour, including discrimination, harassment, verbal assault, and withholding services.
According to reports, transgender individuals also experience more subtle forms of discrimination in provider settings. Medical providers may misgender trans people and refer to them by the inappropriate pronoun or gender.
Some transgender individuals also have concerns about doctor-patient confidentiality. Many claim that their doctors spoke publicly about their gender reassignment procedures before the patients could come out to their families.
In Canada, health care providers are more likely to commit subtle discrimination than open discrimination. However, both types of discrimination have demoralizing effects on trans patients accessing medical care, making them feel secluded. Some studies show that harassment from fellow patients in health care settings is another obstacle for trans patients.
Gender-specific restrooms and change rooms, which many businesses designate for male or female people in a business facility, may cause more disturbances for trans workers. Transgender individuals may feel uncomfortable in these environments and reluctant to use either restroom.
Patients uncomfortable discussing gender reassignment issues in public have difficulty in waiting rooms, emergency departments, and other health care locations. This uncomfortable feeling presents an obstacle to getting quality medical attention.
Many Canadian health care providers require patients to fill out gender-binary forms before their appointments. However, some transgender people are uncomfortable filling in these forms. Therefore, medical care may not be as accessible.
Health care information technology (IT) applications, including electronic health records (EHRs), billing systems, and lab computers, identify patients as binary males or females. Because these technologies do not record preferred pronouns or gender identity, they are more likely to misidentify trans people.
Therefore, the medical history of transgender individuals and the care quality provided by medical professionals diminishes due to a lack of accurate data in most EHRs and billing systems.
What Managers Can Do to Help
Fortunately, managers can do many things to help transgender employees assimilate to their workplace culture. Below are some of the ways you can help your trans employees feel safe and welcome.
Create an Inclusive Environment for Trans Employees
When recruiting and retaining trans employees, one of the most crucial factors is creating an inclusive workplace culture. Companies that embrace diversity are more likely to attract employees from underrepresented groups and build stronger communities.
Transgender people are diverse individuals with many contrasting experiences and different needs. To ensure the well-being of transgender employees, you must create a comfortable working environment free from discrimination and harassment. You can accomplish this task by taking steps such as creating a policy that prohibits discrimination and providing training on how to respect transgender employees.
Also, make sure that your dress code is inclusive and allows all employees to dress in a way that fits their gender identity. Your trans employees must be able to dress how they want.
Have Trans Employees Help Develop an Office Tolerance Policy
If you want your transgender employees to feel comfortable and safe while working at your company, make sure that the office environment is free of discrimination. One way to include your trans employees is to involve them in your policy-making process. You can learn more about how to treat transgender employees through thoughtful conversation.
Managers must ensure that all employees know what to do if they encounter a situation that makes them uncomfortable. Once you have set up a policy, ensure everyone follows it in practice. Talk about it with your team members regularly, and make sure that everyone knows where to go if they have any concerns or questions about the policy.
You can also encourage a climate of acceptance and respect by ensuring that people know that those who experience bias or discrimination are welcome to speak up and share their experiences with management. Have an open-door policy at your office that welcomes feedback from all your employees.
How To Implement Gender Reassignment Assistance
If you are an employer, you must know the legal and financial implications of offering gender reassignment assistance to employees. Several laws govern issues relating to gender reassignment in Canada.
The Employment Equity Act (EEA) aims to eliminate discrimination based on sex, ancestry, and national or ethnic origin. The EEA also requires employers to accommodate the needs of employees who undergo gender reassignment concerning any term or condition of employment.
Specifically, employers must provide reasonable adjustments for an employee undergoing gender reassignment. These accommodations include allowing time off work for medical appointments, changing personal leave policies, and providing gender-neutral washrooms.
The Ontario Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination based on race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, religion, marital status, family status, or disability. There are also provincial human rights codes that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Search for a group benefits plan that includes financial assistance for bottom surgery and other gender reassignment procedures. Group Enroll can help you find a benefits package with coverage for gender reassignment issues through our network of insurance companies.
Learn how to improve the workplace to create a motivated environment for employees with our guide.
Get a Group Benefits Package Today
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If you have any questions about gender reassignment policies, email us at [email protected] for more information.