TransOcupació: a service for the employment equality of trans people

04/02/2020 - 09:29

New social-employment insertion programme for trans people*

One of the groups with the greatest difficulties entering into the workplace is that of trans people. In response, the municipal TransOcupació programme has been put into place.

Finding a job and also a suitable one for the profile and capabilities of each person is often an obstacle course. If we keep adding prejudices, stereotypes and other elements that complicate it, we can be talking about facing an even more difficult issue. LGBT people, and among them especially trans people, are one of the groups that are most discriminated against, voluntarily or involuntarily, in companies and by companies.

Barcelona City Council, in its Strategy for the employment of Barcelona, 2016-2020, devotes a priority line of intervention in the fight against the discrimination of LGBT people, and in the same way, the Sexual and Gender Diversity Plan of Barcelona, 2016-2020 focuses an objective in the improvement of the employment of LGTB people with difficulties in employability, especially for trans women. And to respond to the most vulnerable subgroup within these groups, that of trans people, the TransOccupació programme was born.

Looking after trans people and ‘trans’forming companies
Carme Turull, head of the transversal employment programmes of Barcelona Activa, is one of the people who know most about the service having been one of the developers and describes it as “a social-employment insertion service that is dealt with from two angles: diversity and vulnerability. Diversity because it is a way of including the LGBT community and looking after it in a standardised and inclusive way, because besides belonging to a diverse group, trans people are in a situation of greater vulnerability.”

Tailored itineraries
With regard to looking after trans people, a mixed system has been chosen that involves an individual part, tailored to trans people, and a part in which they can participate in general programmes of the different municipal services. Why? Turull says that “it has been the result of a debate in which the pros and cons of each option were put on the table (specific programme for trans people vs. programme aimed at a wider public), but it was decided that both were necessary: it is necessary for the person looked after to feel comfortable and well-taken care of, but it is not good to isolate them because the objective is integration in the workplace, which is where you will meet all kinds of people.”
A tutor will accompany the trans person all the way throughout the process, with tailored sessions, but will offer them the possibility and the convenience of participating in modules and seminars by Barcelona Activa, based on, for example, the preparation of interviews, CVs or technology at Cibernàrium, open to everyone, as well as participation in integral programmes for social and occupational insertion, or technical and professional training courses.

Qualification and sensitivity within the job search
In order to be able to provide this service, Barcelona Activa’s staff have undergone intense training in gender issues, and especially in transgroups. “We have been in coordination with the LGTB Centre of Barcelona regarding the sensitivities and the particularities of the group. Just knowing deep down the reality that trans people face each day can help them to get into the workplace, one of the aspects of integration that is more difficult to achieve”,says the person in charge of the service.
Carme also explains how a guide for insertion agents is being prepared with the LGBT Municipality Network of Catalonia, which will incorporate guidelines and lines of action to reinforce good practice in the occupational support for trans people.

Inclusive companies, from good faith to authentic inclusion
Working with companies is equally necessary as supporting trans people, because new workplaces are needed for these people when there are none, but also because you should not lose your job when you are in work and choose to make a transition.
Indeed, many of the people who want to make a transition think about leaving their jobs, looking for work once the transition is finished (or almost), since companies and their staff often do not know how to deal with this situation and it is not approached in a sufficiently adequate way so that the person feels safe and without suffering discrimination situations.
In order to avoid these situations, and also in the context of the LGBT Municipality Network, a guide or protocol for companies is being created, because beyond the good intention and sensitivity of the company in terms of inclusion, they can work for real integration.
And there are many aspects that can interfere with the good reception of a trans person in a company. For this reason, the guide will offer guidelines for managing issues of data protection, official communications, relating to staff and clients, changing rooms and toilets, among others.

Good or bad ‘passing’ in employment
One of the elements that facilitates or hinders the search for a job is the so-called “passing”: the fact that it is more or less obvious that a person is trans (to have good or bad passing). The transition to a gender identity that is different from that attributed at birth is a key factor when dealing with a job interview or integration with colleagues and coworkers. What this programme is intended to do is work so that the lives of trans people do not depend on elements like these and so that society becomes accustomed to living in diversity, normalising it also in the workplace.

Service contact information:
transocupacio@barcelonactiva.cat
933 202 197 – 934 037 421
Barcelona Activa InnoBA
C. Perú, 52, Barcelona