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Eleven steps we took for trans inclusion

Thoughtworks is committed to continually working towards a more inclusive working environment for all. We want everyone to feel comfortable bringing their authentic selves to work, knowing that they do so in an environment of care and respect.


As this week is Trans Awareness Week, we wanted to share eleven steps that we’ve taken to build a trans inclusive workplace.


  1. Pronouns matter: we state them verbally on calls, we add them to our email signatures; they are on our Zoom profiles and in all our systems. We talk about them in inductions and ensure that everyone understands their importance.


    This signals that from the very moment we start a conversation, you know where we stand on trans and non-binary inclusion.


  2. We expect everyone to do the work to educate themselves about trans and non-binary lives. We provide opportunities for everyone to engage in events about trans and non-binary identities. We engage with trans and non-binary speakers to share their perspectives and experiences, and share a library of books and resources in our offices.

    We don’t set the expectation for our trans and non-binary colleagues to educate us about their realities. Their lives are not here for our inspiration.


  3. It goes beyond allyship. We work with trans and non-binary colleagues to build a core set of supportive behaviors for all and we set the expectation this is what they can expect. We put ourselves between trans people and harm, taking on those hard conversations when their right to exist is questioned. 


    We step forward and actively act in solidarity.


  4. Having a Transitioning at Work policy is not enough. A comprehensive policy including paid leave for anyone transitioning is only the start. We simplified the process around name changes, and actively work to ensure these are handled in all our systems and with any third-parties. We work with clients to ensure names are correctly displayed in their systems. We also set out for team leaders what they should do to support trans and non-binary people during and after any transitions.

    We know how important it is to have the name which represents you and your identity used at work.


  5. Policies are inclusive and gender neutral. We have a simplified dress code that has no gendered expectations. Our Menopause, Fertility and Family Leave policies have had all reference to genders removed. People and families come in all shapes and we respect that.


    We want people to feel policies fit their lives without having to explain themselves.


  6. We engage with the LGBTQ+ community. We get involved in real practical ways, working with The Proud Trust, being stewards at Trans Pride Manchester, and partnering with Allsorts Youth. During lockdown we built a virtual community centre for the Outside project, supporting LGBTQ+ homeless people, including a wildly successful online party room!

    It is about solidarity not charity: we turn up and put the hard work in alongside the communities we support.


  7. Intersectionality matters! We have a model of inclusion across identities, building communities around faith groups, ethnicity and race, mental health, neurodiversity and disabilities, social inclusion, gender inclusion, LGBTQ+, working parents and carers and age. Approximately half of our UK colleagues are involved in these groups with around 20% actively driving initiatives and campaigns all year round.

    We know we do not live single issue lives; how these various things combine and interact  will always have an impact on our colleagues ability to bring their authentic selves to work.


  8. LGBTQ+ Pride is year round. We celebrate Pride and LGBTQ+ History month, and we recognise LGBTQ+ identities year round. We have speakers on LGBTQ+ issues and book launch events throughout the year. We keep the progressive pride flags, LGBTQ+ posters and zoom backgrounds on display.


    Our celebration of LGBTQ+ lives has no expiry date.


  9. We publicly stand up for trans rights. This is not the first blog post on trans rights, nor will it be the last. We have consistently provided public support for trans and non-binary people through blogs and statements from senior management. We advocated with Stonewall on the GRA reforms, and we stand with our trans and non-binary staff in seeking their rights to legal protection and identification.

    We believe we are on the right side of history in standing up for trans rights.

  10. We listen. We know we won’t always get it right, and the world changes. We seek out the opinion of our LGBTQ+ colleagues on policies, language and celebrations. We respect people’s lived experiences and seek to resolve issues when they arise. We learn together and use anonymous surveys to ensure we are doing what we set out to do.

    We are about continuous improvement in how we work and the work we deliver.

  11. We mourn with our trans colleagues. We see the world they are living in and we hear the struggles they face. We see the impact of intolerably long waiting lists, and the increase in transphobic violence and hate crimes fueled by the constant discourse about their rights. We see the hopelessness this can create, and the impact on their mental health.

    We want to help make a world where trans and non-binary people can thrive.


We know these steps alone are not enough to change the world.


We know wearing pink to celebrate the 17th birthday of Brianna Ghey won’t stop trans and non-binary people experiencing violence and murder. We know providing gender neutral facilities in our offices won’t stop trans and non-binary people being questioned in public toilets. However, we won’t stop trying to change the world. We know the impact we can make.


These eleven steps are what you also could be doing in your organization for your trans and non-binary team members, so they can allow themselves to be authentically present in your organization.  We have seen how these steps have transformed our ideas of gender, inclusion, equality and diversity over the last eight years. We work towards building an environment where everyone can thrive.

We're passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion at Thoughtworks