The Transitioning Process

This is an oversimplified view of the
transitioning process in the workplace
and listed here for a basic understanding
of the issues involved. More detailed information
can be found in the "Transgender Information" section of this web site.


       Transition is done with the help of medical professionals, in accordance with recognized standards of care that have been in use since the 1960s. In general, the process involves the following phases (the duration of which can vary):

*     initial psychological testing to rule out other diagnoses

*    psychiatric monitoring and counseling over several months to assess extent of condition and understanding of consequences, obstacles, etc.;

*    health evaluation for hormone therapy;

*    administration of hormones;

*    continued monitoring to assess reaction to hormone-induced physical changes;

*    begin living period of at least one year to ascertain level of comfort in reassigned gender (it is usually at this stage that the employer is given notice of the employee's intentions to transition);

*    and if the transitioning person so decides, continued hormone administration and life in the reassigned gender, sometimes, but not always, accompanied by surgical reconstruction of primary and secondary sex characteristics, facial structure, etc.

       The therapeutic process makes a frivolous or hasty decision impossible. Moreover, in the overwhelming majority of cases, the therapy is successful, and the person goes on to live a well-adjusted life in the reassigned gender. The degree of success, however, can be influenced by (1) whether or not the person is able to maintain a stable job and income during transition, and (2) whether or not a supportive work environment exists. Management's cooperation matters.

Coworker Acceptance and Hostility.

       These matters are best handled by decisive action from management. Harassment often can be prevented before it starts if management communicates to employees its interest in a fair workplace in which employees are judged on their work, not on their personal characteristics. An informed and knowledgeable management team is essential to the success of a transitioning employee. The tone set by this team will have a direct effect on the success or failure of the transition.

Portions from: HRC WorkNet

For more information contact:

Debra Davis & the Gender Education Center
P.O. Box 1861, Maple Grove, MN 55311


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