In 2023, it’s not enough to offer anti-harassment training to your staff. Creating an inclusive employee culture also means providing company-wide education on LGBTQ+ issues and treating everyone with respect, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation. Whether your state requires gender sensitivity training, your organization will benefit.
Three years ago, in June 2020, the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark decision, saying the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) includes employment discrimination against an individual based on sexual orientation or transgender status.
While it’s illegal under federal law to discriminate against workers based on sexual orientation or gender identity, people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning and intersex (LGBTQI) continue to face discrimination. In a 2021 survey by UCLA’s School of Law Williams Institute, nearly half of LGBT workers reported having experienced unfair treatment at work at some point in their lives.
In healthcare, especially amidst acute staffing shortages, ensuring your staff is trained on gender sensitivity creates a better culture for your team and also ensures better patient care.
What is included in gender sensitivity training
Gender sensitivity training increases awareness and understanding of gender-related issues and promotes gender equality. The training aims to challenge gender stereotypes, address biases and create a more inclusive environment.
Gender sensitivity training typically covers a range of topics, including:
- Gender concepts and terminology
- Gender stereotypes and biases
- Gender-based discrimination and violence
- Inclusive language and communication
- Creating gender-inclusive environments
Create an inclusive employee culture and eliminate harassment and discrimination with gender sensitivity training
Creating an inclusive employee culture means providing company-wide education and respecting everyone. Of course, management should also ensure that policies are in place to protect members of the LGBTQ+ community from any form of discrimination, bullying or harassment.
Employees should feel comfortable voicing opinions without fear of retribution. Management should be open to hearing feedback from employees about ways to improve inclusivity and create a better working environment for everyone. This could include establishing mentorship programs where LGBTQ+ staff can find mentors who understand their experiences or creating support groups within the organization to provide emotional support for anyone struggling due to marginalization or harassment.
Organizations that offer robust gender sensitivity training are more likely to build a culture that promotes diversity. In addition to providing training on LGBTQ+ issues and implementing policies against discrimination, organizations can celebrate events such as June’s Pride Month.
Having an inclusive culture allows everyone to focus on their work without dealing with the stress that can come from discrimination and harassment. When employees are happier, the whole organization benefits. This can increase employee satisfaction and reduce turnover.
Gender sensitivity training to meet healthcare needs of LGBTQ patients
Gender identity is a person’s internal understanding of their gender. It is not necessarily the same as biological sex, as gender identity may be non-binary or fluid. In addition, transgender people may have different names and pronouns than those assigned at birth. Therefore, healthcare providers should ask patients what they prefer to provide respectful care that meets their needs.
Healthcare providers should be prepared to take extra steps to ensure LGBTQ+ patients feel safe and respected while under their care. This could mean creating confidentiality and data protection policies or providing additional support services if the patient requires them. These steps will go a long way toward creating an inclusive environment for LGBTQI patients that allows them access to quality medical care without fear of discrimination or harassment.
Transgender adults may face more challenges with aging. Understanding how to support this population respectfully is key to achieving positive outcomes. Following are some tips when supporting transgender seniors:
- Always respect a person’s gender identity, regardless of how you may currently perceive them or how they used to look in the past.
- Sometimes it’s necessary to acknowledge a person’s transgender status for medical purposes. You can acknowledge their medical needs without ignoring their status as transgender.
- Specific information about a transgender person’s body and medical history is personal and should be kept confidential. Don’t ask for details unless they are medically necessary for the health and safety of your transgender client.
Words matter when it comes to creating inclusive workplaces
It’s important to ensure that all staff members understand how workplace language can affect how colleagues from diverse backgrounds feel included. This means avoiding assumptions about someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity and being conscious of microaggressions. Microaggressions are subtle, often unintentional acts or comments that communicate negative or derogatory messages about a person's race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or other aspects of their identity. They are typically rooted in stereotypes and biases and can be expressed through words, gestures or behaviors.
Microaggressions are different from overt acts of discrimination because they are often subtle and may not be consciously intended to harm or offend. However, they can still significantly impact individuals, contributing to feelings of marginalization, exclusion and stress.
By creating a safe space where employees feel comfortable being open about their identities regardless of sexual orientation or gender expression, workplaces can foster a sense of belonging among all team members – which research has linked to increased job satisfaction and decreased turnover rates.
Making your workplace more inclusive can be as simple as making paperwork and forms more inclusive. This sends a message to applicants and new employees that your place of work welcomes everyone.
Following are some tips for inclusive employee forms:
- Offer a “chosen name” option/blank, if different from the legal name.
- List “Relationship status” instead of “marital status,” along with “cohabitation,” “domestic partnership” and “civil union” as well as “married,” “divorced” and “widowed” options.
- List “partner” and “spouse” in addition to “husband” and “wife” to describe relationships.
- List “transgender male,” “transgender female,” “intersex,” and “non-binary” in addition to “male” and “female” for gender/sex options.
- Ask which pronouns are preferred: he/him/his, she/her/hers, or they/them/theirs.
- Offer a range of prefix options for clients to select from.
Why sexual identity matters in healthcare, in particular
Sexual identity is an important factor to consider when providing healthcare services. LGBTQ+ people are often marginalized and face additional discrimination when seeking medical care.
For example, ensuring that healthcare providers know the importance of using correct gender identity terms when speaking with patients is critical to creating an open and welcoming environment. Additionally, understanding the potential health concerns faced by individuals who identify as LGBTQI can help ensure they receive appropriate care. People who identify as transgender may have different medical requirements than those assigned male or female at birth.
Providing training on LGBTQI issues is key for any organization looking to create an inclusive workspace where everyone feels accepted and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Investing in such initiatives demonstrates an organization’s commitment to equality and diversity – key aspects for building a successful business in today's marketplace.
showd.me offers gender sensitivity training, as well as anti-harassment training. Click here to schedule a demo.