Time to challenge old views on transgender

EXPERT: Rachel Richardson will share her experiences of transitioning in the workplace and years of academic research at an International Women’s Day lunch in Wangaratta next week.The way people are treated in the workplace can be a force of habit among like-minded groups.
Nanjing Night Net

But what if someone did not feel welcomed into that environment because, for example, they were not accepted as transgender?

Women’s Health Goulburn North East has made the topic the focus of its International Women’s Day lunch on Tuesday.

Health promotion worker Renate Stiller said she was excited to have transgender woman Rachel Richardson give a speech and workshop on the topic.

“We couldn’t pass that up, we’re really lucky to have her,” she said.

“We think it’simportant to focus on issues of gender diversity.”

DrRichardson was accepted by herpeersas a senior member of academic staff at Charles Sturt University when she transitioned three years ago.

But even she had difficulties such as going to a doctor and being repeatedly called “sir”.

Laws governing equality were passed in 2013 to protect transgender people from discrimination, but WHGNEhealth promotion worker Bernadette Fraser said not everyone understood their responsibilities.

“It’s often really difficult for regional workplaces to access the kind of training that’s practical,” she said.

“We need to learn from this.”

MsFraser called on management to lead the way, with more than just a poster on the wall, to be “inclusive and respectful”.

“We know the changes need to start from the top, need to be driven by leaders,” she said.

“There’s a whole lot of us –our assumptions and our habits can be challenged.”

Dr Richardson said she heard of many stories of transgender women who had been refused service at cafes before staff went on to serve other customers.

“They can’t do it now,” she said.

“That would be a complaint to the Human Rights Commission and it would need resolution and it may even require compensation.

“Some of the cases have been huge.”

Transgender women like Dr Richardson often carriedfearsothers would be aggressive when they met for the first time, although most of the time it was not an issue.

Tuesday’s lunch in Wangaratta was aimed at ensuring workplaces could remove these fears.

MsFraser said it was important to learn from the experiences ofDr Richardson.

Anyone interested in attending the lunch or workshop can contact WHGNE on (03)5722 3009.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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