Transgenders – the new norm in corporate environments.

Dina Savul

10,418 persons have been identified as transgenders in Pakistan. Although the number isn’t very high, transgenders are extremely discriminated against. Simply defined a transgender person is someone whose gender identity or gender expression does not correspond with their sex assigned at birth. In 2018, Pakistan’s government passed a very positive legislation on transgender rights, a law called the “Transgender Protection of Rights Act.” This law provides legal recognition to transgender persons and prohibits discrimination and harassment. Having said that, inclusivity towards trans people has not been much in the corporate environment. The harsh reality of intolerance and a sweet harmony of acceptance came side by side, where some companies still can not come to terms with managing the female gender inclusivity, for them adding on transgenders to the workforce is unheard of. When given the task to research on the inclusion of transgenders in the workplace environment, I made it my job to try and find a solution to tackle this issue. Although most organizations have not implemented this, some have already begun making their workplace more affirming and inclusive of transgender people. During my research, I spoke to the head of HR of an FMCG company and ran a survey with 65 senior participants from various industries across the country. It was enlightening to hear their positive responses. Multiple NGOs are currently giving much needed vocational training to transgender population fit for mainstrem roles. They are being upskilled in a way where they hit the ground running on joining in. Unfortunately our academia is not at all open to equality, hence most of such miss out on good education. This should not be the case. Therefore the role of these NGOs become highly critical. It doesn’t stop there! Organizations need to then sensitize their staff, create gender neutral policies, advocate for gender neutral spaces / washrooms, have inclusive healthcare systems, evaluate roles and job descriptions and finally understand their challenges and embrace them as equal beings. Taking little steps like these can help our country evolve and become more diverse day by day. After all, when it comes to trans employees, true inclusion is not just about creating a more diverse workplace; it’s also about making sure organizations are treating all employees equitably when it comes to opportunities, benefits, and people’s everyday experiences when they go to work. The only way forward is to make everywhere inclusive for women, men and trans people to be able to work together.