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Exploring workplace experiences of transgender individuals in the USA

Elizabeth Goryunova (Department of Leadership and Organizational Studies, University of Southern Maine, Portland, Maine, USA)
Anna K Schwartz (Department of Student Affairs/Orientation and Transitional Programs, University of Southern Maine, Portland, Maine, USA)
Elizabeth Fisher Turesky (Department of Leadership and Organizational Studies, University of Southern Maine, Portland, Maine, USA)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 5 August 2021

Issue publication date: 16 August 2022

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the understanding of the workplace experiences and access to career-enhancing opportunities of transgender employees and to apprise organization leaders of opportunities to create an all-inclusive workplace environment.

Design/methodology/approach

This phenomenological study used semi-structured interviews with transgender and gender non-conforming individuals in the US. Study participants (n = 12) varied slightly in racial and ethnic identities, the highest level of formal education completed and the industry sector they were employed at the time of interviews.

Findings

The data reveals a lingering presence of dominant narrative (cissexism) in US organizations and its adverse impact on workplace experience and access to career-enhancing opportunities of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. The participants’ narratives reveal recommendations for effective organizational practices for a transgender-inclusive workplace.

Research limitations/implications

The challenge of recruiting qualified participants from the marginalized group along with the selection criteria of English proficiency and legally adult age resulted in a relatively limited sample (n = 12) nevertheless adequate for the study.

Practical implications

Results of this study point at the urgent need to increase visibility and acceptance of the represented population and expand workplace diversity policies to create inclusive, just and equitable organizations for all individuals that will translate into job satisfaction and improved productivity.

Social implications

This study contributes to developing a culture of inclusion and prevention of discrimination in the workplace thus ensuring respect, safety and agency for gender minority employees.

Originality/value

This study contributes to a better understanding of workplace experiences, access to career-enhancing opportunities of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals and best practices for a transgender-inclusive workplace.

Keywords

Citation

Goryunova, E., Schwartz, A.K. and Turesky, E.F. (2022), "Exploring workplace experiences of transgender individuals in the USA", Gender in Management, Vol. 37 No. 6, pp. 732-750. https://doi.org/10.1108/GM-02-2020-0055

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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