Given the current noise around Trans people Existing In Public, and legislation being tabled against it, I thought it was time for some pushback.
It's been a while since I published anything specifically for the Pride community, and with Oneg's new LGBTQ+-Specific space, now feels like a good time.
You don't have to like or agree with someone's identity or how they present. You don't have to be a Proud Ally. No one is demanding or requesting that you change your beliefs to accomodate them.
However, much like encountering someone from a different religion, it costs nothing to respect that person and their life choices. You might even learn something.
I work in Reception, at a Fit For Work Company. Occasionally, we get applicants whose legal identity hasn't caught up with the identity they present as. (Trans, Gender-Fluid, Non-Binary, etc.)
It's common enough that our referrals reflect the possibility - we ask for assigned gender at birth, rather than just 'gender' and making people guess whether it's safe to disclose - but infrequent enough that we don't have specific training around how to deal with this scenario specifically, like we do for aggressive behaviour, requesting results, etc.
The company that sends their potential employees in our direction fills out and submits the referrals, which means the occasional human error that we usually catch in Pre-Bookings. I've had more than a few people show up in clinic and awkwardly ask if there's any way to edit their referral, because the employer accidentally clicked the wrong gender when submitting a bulk order of dozens of employees.
Recently, I had a Trans woman come in for an assessment. While they were using a feminine/neutral name socially, their legal identity had yet to catch up (changing your identity legally is a pain and a half; I more than understand! There's a good reason I only plan to change my name socially if I marry...). This meant that the ID they gave me to verify that it was really them - you'd be shocked at how many people try to send a stunt double/friend to do the fitness test for them - didn't match the referral on my computer screen.
I confirmed that their legal ID was their Deadname, and got them started on the paperwork for their assessment. Meanwhile, I checked with my Supervisor on how to handle the matter.
In the end, it was as simple as 1,2,3.
- Asking a few questions to determine how this had occurred (the company asked for preferred names on employment applications, and submitted referrals based on that)
- Editing the referral to include their legal name (also informing the applicant of what I was doing so they didn't get a shock)
- Making a note of what had happened and what I'd done to fix it, another note in the Improvement Suggestion Box, and a heads up to the Nurse who would be conducting the assessment.
It was literally as simple as treating them like I would any other person with a referral error, and keeping a basic standard of customer service. I was polite and respectful, and this let them know that we were a safe space. Knowing that they didn't have to justify their existence to be respected as a human being, they were as helpful as possible. Hopefully the rest of their experience was equally as positive (Functional assessments can be exhausting...)
Perhaps my behaviour will even result in a rare instance of someone filling out the Customer Feedback survey. Stranger things have happened...