Negotiating the application process as a transgender individual

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Imagine that you are applying for a job and have been asked to complete an online application form. For most people, despite the obvious nerves about selling yourself fully within the application, this isn’t a big problem.

For the vast majority of us, the initial questions on an application form are the easy ones: name, address, date of birth, gender etc. But if you are transgender some of these questions may be reasons for worry, anxiety, stress and indecision. So much so, you may decide not to apply for the role after all.

The following Q&As will hopefully help you to negotiate the minefield of applying for a job as a transgender individual.

1. I haven’t changed my name by deed poll, do I have to put my ‘dead’ name on the application form?
No, you don’t need to have officially changed your name to use an alternative one. This is called common usage. So, if you’re called by one name the majority of the time, and that’s your chosen name, it’s okay to use this on an application form. You will, however, need to speak to the HR department when you get offered the job as it’s likely that your certificates and other documents will have your old name on it.

Some application forms ask if you’ve previously been known by a different name. You would need to answer this stating your previous name as not putting anything could be seen as lying and could lead to you being sacked from the job.

2. I don’t have my Gender Recognition Certificate yet, but I have transitioned, what do I tick, M or F?
A lot of transgender people, for one reason or another, don’t have a gender recognition certificate. If you live your life as one particular gender, then that is the one you tick on the form.

On rare occasions, an application form may ask you to tick a box stating your assigned gender at birth, which you will have to fill in.

3. Can the employer ask to see my Gender Recognition Certificate?
No, definitely not. This is in contravention of the Gender Recognition Act 2004. Hopefully, this won’t happen, as research shows only a tiny percentage of employers (6%) have done so, but if it does, politely let them know that it’s not okay for them to ask for this and, if necessary, mention the 2004 act.

4. I heard that some employers ask when you are planning to medically transition. Is this okay and what should I say?
No this isn’t okay. Just like they wouldn’t be able to ask a woman if she was planning on starting a family, this would be inappropriate and unlawful. You should politely decline to answer and tell them that it’s not an appropriate question to ask.

Remember that, even the most open and welcoming employer may not have actually recruited or worked alongside any transgender staff members. It’s normal to be worried about negative attitudes but remember to be unapologetically you. Promote your strengths and they will respect your honesty and integrity.

Source: HN Global