Goodwin Insights November 02, 2018

Creating a Transgender Inclusive Workplace

On September 21, 2018 Goodwin hosted its inaugural Pride@Goodwin retreat, which kicked off with a Pride in Our Workplace breakfast panel event. Pride in Our Workplace is the Boston-area’s premier LGBTQ networking group, focused on providing a forum for professionals and companies to share best practices related to diversity and inclusion, promote networking, and build employee and business resources.  

The panel’s discussion focused on creating an inclusive workplace for transgender employees. Goodwin partners and Pride@Goodwin co-chairs Koray Bulut and Jim Mattus provided opening remarks and Blake Liggio participated as a panelist. The discussion touched upon organizational barriers facing transgender employees and progress made to reduce or eliminate these roadblocks, the current legal landscape for transgender protections, challenges and threats to jeopardize these protections that lie ahead, and the importance of education, awareness and advocacy in the efforts to protect and advance transgender employees in the workplace. Among the points made, the group urged everyone to think about the ways that we can challenge our own assumptions and discomfort by leaning into difficult conversations about individual safety and dignity. 

Jason Wu, Executive Director for GLBT Legal Advocates (GLAD) explained “Expect discomfort with some employees and when that discomfort arises, do not put the burden on the transgender employee but rather talk with the person who’s not comfortable sharing a restroom with whoever and say, “You know, there’s actually a single stall bathroom on Floor Whatever.” So often, especially with the work that we do, the problems arise when there is one employee or a couple employees who say, “I’m not comfortable” and then the employer tries to accommodate the discomfort as opposed to accommodate or to implement the policy.”

Hear Blake’s take on being a transgender lawyer and how Goodwin has supported him and expanded on its diversity and inclusion efforts in his time with the firm.  

 

Pride@Goodwin encourages all employees to embrace active allyship of LGBTQ colleagues. Goodwin is committed to promoting LGBT visibility in our law firm and in the legal profession. We are also committed to an inclusive environment in which each employee can excel and thrive. A broader perspective strengthens us a firm and as a community.