I became interested in the need for these policy changes as I transitioned from female-to-male while a student at an academic environment and simultaneously in a corporate environment, both of which lacked any coverage for gender identity and expression. In the absence of a formal commitment to fairness, I felt vulnerable and was at risk for discrimination. I risked both my employment and safety when I publicly transitioned. I am not alone. Activist and attorney Dru Levasseur says, “There is no federal non-discrimination law to protect transgender and gender nonconforming employees, so organizations that provide these policies for their employees are providing a necessary protection” (Levasseur, 2008).
I have been blessed because in what appears to be a rare occurrence, my school and place of work did stand up for me through my transition. When I came out as a transgender individual I was working for a conservative corporation in New England. I approached the Human Resources department about my plan to start male hormones and though they had never encountered a transgender employee they asked all of the right questions such as “how can we support you?” One of the guiding values at the company is “mutual respect” the human resources director told me that mutual respect includes me, a transexual. This company did not change their non-discrimination policy but they went out of their way to treat me humanely. As a human being I, and others, should not have to face this fear of being ourselves in our place of employment or in our educational setting. There is a palpable need for policy change in the corporate and academic worlds.
This report will specifically address corporate and educational policy change. It will give real life examples and suggestions on how your organization can become an agent of change.