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'Trans-parency' in the workplace

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Study finds that transsexuals who are open about their gender identity have greater job satisfaction and commitment

Transsexual individuals who identify themselves as such in the workplace are more likely to have greater satisfaction and commitment to their job than transsexuals who do not, according to a new study from Rice University and Pennsylvania State University.

"Trans-parency in the Workplace: How the Experiences of Transsexual Employees Can Be Improved" will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Vocational Behavior. For the study, researchers surveyed 88 transsexuals across the nation about their workplace experiences to determine what factors impact their job satisfaction and organizational commitment.

"The workplace is becoming a much more diverse place," said Michelle Hebl, study co-author and professor of psychology at Rice. "The demographic makeup of employees is shifting due to a host of factors, such as flexible work hours, increased telecommuting, greater accessibility and protective organizational policies. Almost no empirical research has been done on transsexuals' experiences whatsoever. Our research sheds light on this severely understudied population's common workplace experiences and how such experiences can be improved."

The study's main finding revealed that transsexuals who are open with others about their gender identity in the workplace are happier and more productive workers than those who are not open. In addition, individuals who were more open with their family and friends about their lifestyle and who identified strongly as transsexuals were more likely to disclose their gender identity in the workplace than transsexuals who were less open and did not identify as transsexuals as strongly.

Co-author and Rice graduate student Larry Martinez said the study demonstrates the importance of a strong support system, both in and out of the workplace...


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I found my workplace experiences to be much less satisfying because my transgenderism was secret. I worked in the public service and so many of my coworkers were female. (past tense since I am retired now) I was always comfortable being around females and they were comfortable with me. What I missed was being able to be involved in conversations with the knowing what they were talking about attitude or being able to ask questions that only a female would want to know. I couldn't comment on a girl's outfit without it possibly being perceived inappropriate. One of the things many liked was that they could talk however they liked and it wouldn't bother me, I seemed actually interested in their girl talk. It would have been nice to be able to say, yes I know the difficulties of walking in heels, yes I know this or that, how do you put on your eyeliner so well? your outfit is very nice where did you you get it? new purse? Things I am not supposed to notice or care about. They would tell me about their husbands and kids and I listened and cared. I would have loved showing up to work one day dressed very nicely as a woman. My wife worked and still does in the same building and we knew many of the same people so I couldn't do that to her.


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First time I read the article, I couldn't help but let loose a quick and facetious snort at the comment, "the study also shows that those who disclose their transsexuality are more satisfied with and committed to their organization, so long as their work environments are supportive." I was thinking to myself, really? A study was required to figure that out??

Anyway, my situation was pretty much the opposite of Bonnie's - I worked with all men, and quite often...it was generally forgotten that I wasn't [physically] one of the guys. Even the secretaries pretty much treated me just like they treated all the other guys. And like Bonnie, there were of course the few topics that I couldn't really comment on, but I could laugh along with everyone else - I'll leave it to your imaginations what some of those topics might have been. :lol:

In fact, though no one knew I really was just another guy, I believe it was my job that allowed me to go as long as I did before reaching a point where I had to come out to somebody. It's likely that had I not had that outlet -a job where I could wear men's clothing (starting long before I stopped trying to fill the female role), ball caps, drive trucks and operate equipment- I might have come out sooner, or perhaps would have been much more unhappy than I already was.

I am pretty sure however, that had I come out in my workplace...it would not have made me more satisfied or committed as my being TS would not have been received well - bio male or not.


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