Challenge transphobia in your workplace

How to challenge Transphobia in the workplace.

Transgender and Gender Diverse people continue to face numerous barriers and forms of discrimination in the workplace that negatively impact employment status, career development and quality of life. Studies show that a staggering 90 percent of Transgender workers report some form of harassment of mistreatment on the job.

Work-related transphobia poses barriers to employment and financial

wellbeing as well as causing an immediate threat to emotional wellbeing and quality of life among transgender and gender diverse individuals.

Creating a workplace free from discrimination and transphobic behaviour is a positive step in actively standing up against workplace discrimination and removing harmful barriers.


Using appropriate, respectful and inclusive language goes a long way.

What is inclusive language? Basically this is language that is inclusive of all genders and identities and does not exclude anyone.

Download our free inclusive language poster below!

Speak - Inclusive Language Poster
Download PDF • 67KB

Avoid saying any of the following:

  • “I would have never guessed you were trans, you’re so pretty/handsome!”

  • “You look just like a real woman/man.”

  • “You’re so brave.”

  • “Have you had the surgery?”

  • “Can I see a picture of what you used to look like?”

  • “What’s your real name?”

  • “So if you’re non-binary, is that just like a phase before you fully transition?”

  • “If you’re non-binary but are on testosterone, doesn’t that mean you’re a man?”

  • “He used to be a she.”

  • “When x was a boy…”


Only ask a question where you NEED to know the answer, if it is for curiosity then do not ask it.


Visual cues are a great way to show trans and gender diverse people that you are a safe and inclusive space/person. Visibility signals to trans and gender diverse people that they are recognised and welcomed.

Here are some simple changes you can make in your organisation to be visibly supportive and inclusive.

  • Put your pronouns in your email signature, on name badges or employee ID’s, zoom name etc.

  • Place posters around the workplace that promote inclusion

  • Purchase our trans ribbons to wear


Part of challenging transphobia is actually calling it out when you see or hear it. Usually it is up to trans and gender diverse people to stick up for themselves and this can often leave trans and gender diverse people feeling attacked, exhausted and alone.

If you’re at work and you hear someone saying something that is transphobic or using inappropriate language, step in and say something.

Equipping yourself with go to sentences will help you speak out against transphobia.

If you over hear someone using the wrong pronouns for somebody, you can correct them by saying “Oh you mean they, not she." or "Actually X uses they pronouns."

Check out our pronouns guide to learn more about what to do if you say the wrong pronouns.

If you over hear someone saying something transphobic as their basis of their joke, you can say something like...

“That actually isn’t funny because…”

"We shouldn’t say x because of y"

"That's actually harmful to trans and gender diverse people."


Transphobia is the hardest on the person who it directly affects.

Make sure you do not leave the responsibility of challenging transphobia up to transgender and gender diverse people. Be a strong ally by standing by their side, even when they are not there.

To learn more book a training workshop with Speak.

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