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Employment discrimination against gender diverse individuals in Western Australia

Trudy Bates (Business School, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia)
Cati S. Thomas (Business School, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia)
Andrew R. Timming (College of Business, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

ISSN: 2040-7149

Article publication date: 27 October 2020

Issue publication date: 18 March 2021




This paper explores employment discrimination against gender diverse job applicants and employees in Western Australia (WA).


Using grounded theory, this study draws on semi-structured interviews with respondents (n = 20) who identified as trans women, trans men, nonbinary or agender. Thematic analysis focused on the multiple dimensions of disadvantage experienced by respondents, including subtle, not so subtle and overt types of employment discrimination.


The authors’ results point to several reasons why gender diverse individuals (GDIs) may fear the labor market, including difficulties in concealing their stigma and acquiescence to discrimination. On the other hand, our results also point to sources of organizational support, including encouragement from direct line managers and colleagues who are also Allies.

Practical implications

The results of the research have important implications for sociological frameworks surrounding dramaturgy, stigma, aesthetic labor, organizational silence and social identity. Practical implications for employers, employees, human resource (HR) professionals and trade unions are also articulated.


Whereas previous studies have prioritized the discriminatory experiences of GDIs in the US and European labor markets, this study reports on gender diverse voices in WA. Furthermore, recent work on this topic has been experimental and largely quantitative, whereas the present study offers a compelling set of profound narratives, thereby addressing calls for qualitative research that foregrounds the complexities and nuances of lived experience for GDIs and renders their voices heard.



Bates, T., Thomas, C.S. and Timming, A.R. (2021), "Employment discrimination against gender diverse individuals in Western Australia", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 40 No. 3, pp. 273-289.



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