Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Guidance Regarding the Employment of Transgender Individuals in the Federal Workplace

Office of Personnel Management
Employment of Transgender Individuals
Policy and Purposes

It is the policy of the Federal Government to treat all of its employees with dignity and respect and to provide a workplace that is free from discrimination whether that discrimination is based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity or pregnancy), national origin, disability, political affiliation, marital status, membership in an employee organization, age, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors. Agencies should review their anti-discrimination policies to ensure that they afford a non-discriminatory working environment to employees irrespective of their gender identity or perceived gender non-conformity.
The purpose of this memorandum is not to address legal rights and remedies, but instead to provide guidance to address some of the common questions that agencies have raised with OPM regarding the employment of transgender individuals in the federal workplace. Because the guidance is of necessity general in nature, managers, supervisors, and transitioning employees should feel free to consult with their human resources offices and with the Office of Personnel Management to seek advice in individual circumstances.
Core Concepts
Gender identity is the individual's internal sense of being male or female. Gender identity is generally determined in the early years of an individual's life and, if different from the individual's physical gender, may result in increasing psychological and emotional discomfort and pain. The way an individual expresses his or her gender identity is frequently called “gender expression,” and may or may not conform to social stereotypes associated with a particular gender.
Transgender: Transgender individuals are people with a gender identity that is different from the sex assigned to them at birth. Someone who was assigned the male sex at birth but who identifies as female is a transgender woman. Likewise, a person assigned the female sex at birth but who identifies as male is a transgender man. Some individuals who would fit this definition of transgender do not identify themselves as such, and identify simply as men and women, consistent with their gender identity. The guidance discussed in this memorandum applies whether or not a particular individual self-identifies as transgender.
Transition: Some individuals will find it necessary to transition from living and working as one gender to another. These individuals often seek some form of medical treatment such as counseling, hormone therapy, electrolysis, and reassignment surgery. Some individuals, however, will not pursue some (or any) forms of medical treatment because of their age, medical condition, lack of funds, or other personal circumstances. Managers and supervisors should be aware that not all transgender individuals will follow the same pattern, but they all are entitled to the same consideration as they undertake the transition steps deemed appropriate for them, and should all be treated with dignity and respect.

Full Guidance: http://www.opm.gov/diversity/Transgender/Guidance.asp

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