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We need workplaces where everyone is treated with dignity and respect 

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Julia Georgiou is General Secretary of the NHBC Staff Association and is a member of the TUC’s LGBT+ committee. As the TUC’s LGBT+ conference starts in London today, Julia has shared some of her thoughts and experiences of being a trans person at work. 

Early in my career I was working in insurance, and the office manager began bullying me.  It was just after I had come out and he began making comments about my outward appearance, and the fact I was growing my hair and my nails and using nail polish. He restricted my public facing role which had an impact on my salary. 

This was before the Equality Act was introduced in 2010 so there was no real framework or legal protection for transgender people at work. 

A difficult time 

It was a difficult time. It was a big office, so I tried to avoid this manager and come in and do my job then go home again. But in the end, I had to take out a grievance against him, which took five years to sort out. Luckily my colleagues who witnessed his behaviour were supportive – and my union were great. 

In fact, when my union rep retired, I was elected as his successor, and that’s when my time in the union movement began!

Diversity and inclusion policies 

Where I work now is so much more inclusive. We have developed women’s, LGBT+ and race equality networks and are about to launch an ‘enable’ strand for disabled staff. We have robust diversity and inclusion policies. 

All this makes me feel like I really belong here, not that I’m just ‘included’. I can bring my whole self to work and that’s how it should be for everyone.


My advice to any non-binary or transgender person having a difficult time at work would be to join a union! And make sure you use all the advice and guidance that’s available to you. It can be helpful to talk to people who’ve been through it themselves, too. I think society is a lot more open now thankfully, but there is always more to do. 

The negative portrayal of trans and non-binary people in the media is draining, so reaching out for the support you need is essential. Your union will be a key ally. 

Everyone has a different lived experience that makes them who they are. We need to respect all different points of view and we need to be open and inclusive. And make sure we have genuinely inclusive workplaces – where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, and where everyone is safe.

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