New guide aims to improve experience for employees undergoing or considering gender transitions

November 2, 2022  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership,

Approximately a 3-minute read

Key takeaways:

  • A new Workplace Gender Transition Guide highlights gives tools and resources to better support employees and managers.
  • The guide was developed by U-M team members over a three-year period.
  • The new guide is part of U-M Health’s ongoing commitment to the strategic priority of belonging and fostering an inclusive environment where all employees can thrive.

In an effort to provide better support for employees considering or going through gender transitions, Michigan Medicine and U-M have established a Workplace Gender Transition Guide that highlights available resources, tools, and specific policies and protocols that will make the experience easier.  

“The entire process is driven by the transitioning employee,” said Gerald (Jerry) Okler, an administrative specialist in Michigan Medicine Human Resources, who helped create the new guide. “There’s no one-size-fits-all for this, but the guide gives employees and management a common starting point so they can chart a course of progress together.”

Okler and Pedro Coracides, a member of the Prevention Education, Assistance and Resources (PEAR) team in the Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX (ECRT) office, led a group formed through the Michigan Medicine LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee

Over the course of three years, the group worked with trangender members of the U-M community to identify key pressure points within the process and create a resource that would fill in gaps. 

With the help of benefits and policy experts, the guide was created and the final version supported by Richard Holcomb, associate vice president for human resources on U-M’s campus and Deloris Hunt, chief human resources officer for Michigan Medicine.

What’s in the guide for employees

As Coracides shared, “our health benefits are really good when it comes to gender transition, but everything else falls short in terms of who does what and where you go to make things official. The guide is meant to fully support people not just from a health benefits side, but also in terms of policy, procedure and logistics.”

Okler and Coracides realized that in most cases, the burden of finding resources, taking key steps to formally change names and personal information, as well as informing supervisors and teammates about transitioning fell to the individual employee.

A resource for managers and supervisors

Okler shared that, “The primary focus of the guide is definitely the transitioning employee, but the tools and frameworks provided to support their transition help leadership just as much. 

“We find that often this is a new experience for everyone. Having a place to start the conversation, a general idea of what support roles different people can play, or just ideas about where to find further assistance can reduce stress and make things a lot less daunting.”

The new guide is part of U-M Health’s ongoing commitment to the strategic priority of belonging and fostering an inclusive environment where all employees can thrive.

If you’d like to learn more about the Workplace Gender Transition Guide, please visit hr.umich.edu/gender-transition

To become involved with the LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee, please contact MichMedLGBTQ@med.umich.edu.

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