States of Jersey consultation on equal marriage

The States of Jersey are currently asking for comments from the public on proposals for an equal marriage and partnership law. They have published a consultation paper, which can be downloaded here.

The consultation process closes on 22 October 2014 and the Chief Minister will report to the States in November 2014.

What the consultation does not do is ask whether a respondent is in favour of same-sex marriage. As far as the consultation is concerned that argument has been had and the island has to move on. Same-sex marriage is going to happen. It is now a question of how. The consultation paper offers a number of options for equal marriage and tackles a couple of other inequalities in current marriage law at the same time.

The consultation document is quite weighty but it is well-written and researched. It is also progressive in its thinking and doesn’t just copy what other jurisdictions have done. It offers three options for same-sex marriage:

  • Same-sex civil marriage only
  • Same-sex civil marriage and same-sex religious marriage
  • Same-sex and opposite-sex civil marriage only (also known as civil union)

All three options provide a means for someone to transition within a marriage without having to dissolve an existing union. Trans* Jersey is most keen to ensure that any legislation brought in does not contain the so-called Spousal Veto that is enshrined within the England and Wales Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 and that, should option 1 or 2 be adopted, any law is modeled on the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014.

The other section of specific interest to trans* islanders is part D that deals with adultery as grounds for divorce. As people who may or may not have the genitals that are expected of a man or woman, the legal definition of adultery doesn’t always make sense within a marriage in which one or both partners are trans*. In a farsighted move, the States are proposing either doing away with adultery as grounds for divorce or redefining adultery to include same-sex acts. Clearly, removing adultery altogether is the simpler option here.

We have requested involvement in any forum convened by the States to discuss the proposed legislation and were involved in the first round of meetings on 29 July 2014.

statesGet involved

Whilst Trans* Jersey encourages you to complete the online survey, we would also like to receive your comments about the States’ proposal regarding equal marriage and partnerships.

We believe that by speaking together as a group of trans* islanders our comments on the consultation will carry more weight.

Our partner organisation Liberate’s Jersey group has already responded and you can read their response here.

We therefore invite you to email us with your comments, suggestions, thoughts or concerns at

Response to white paper on law to protect against sex discrimination

Trans* Jersey has now submitted its response to the States of Jersey Social Security Department white paper on law to protect against sex discrimination. All comments received regarding the white paper were incorporated into the response. However, this is not the end of the process. A period of consultation begins now, which Trans* Jersey hopes it will be involved with. We have expressed our interest in doing so. If you have further comments or issues that you want included, please email us.

Trans* Jersey restricted its response to two of the characteristics being considered by the consultation – sex and gender reassignment – that are of most concern to trans* islanders and suggested ways in which the law might be drafted to protect a more diverse, but equally discriminated against, population.

discrimination-black-and-redSummary of key issues arising

The white paper assumes that gender and sex are interchangeable. For most people that may be the case but it is not the case for trans* people. Using a binary model of sex as a protected characteristic by which to assess discrimination presents problems. These are outlined in the full response.

There are a number of misconceptions about what it means to be trans* and, unfortunately, the States of Jersey’s consultation document falls into some common traps. Why these misconceptions are unhelpful is discussed in the full response.

The States of Jersey has looked to the UK Equality Act for guidance on how to shape its anti-discrimination legislation. However, as the recent manifesto presented to the UK government by a number of UK charities that work with the trans* community demonstrates, there are problems with this legislation (and the Gender Recognition Act) that need to be corrected.

Jersey has an opportunity to bring in model legislation that advances the current position of trans* people within British law. Trans* Jersey offers a solution to the problems it sees as arising from the proposals put forward in the white paper in order that Jersey can implement legislation that encompasses the broad spectrum of human gender identity.

What we would like to see

Trans* Jersey is asking for the States of Jersey’s law to protect against sex discrimination to include two things:

  1. The definition of “sex” as a protected characteristic expanded to include persons of a non-binary gender;
  2. The removal of any exemption that permits businesses to discriminate on the grounds of gender reassignment. There is no requirement to have any exemptions for transgender individuals, other than those provided for the characteristic of “sex”. Trans employees should be subject only to the same exemptions for genuine occupational requirements as natal born men, women and those persons of a non-binary gender.

To find out more about how we arrived at the above and the background to our thinking on the white paper, you can download our full response here.

Manifesto 2014

Trans* Jersey’s manifesto defines the problems faced by transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, androgynous, bigender and intersex Jersey residents in 2014 and explains what actions we intend to take to address these issues.

DoctorTrans* Jersey believes that the island’s trans population is being patchily served by GPs and the States of Jersey Health and Social Services (“H&SS”) Department. This is due to the lack of clear guidelines for healthcare professionals working with trans patients. Individual clinicians within the H&SS Department are not seen to be at fault and, once the H&SS Department has been accessed, experiences of care have been good to excellent, largely through the efforts of the clinician acting on their own initiative. However, the initial route into healthcare for trans patients is unclear. The evidence suggests that the quality of healthcare provided is also influenced by the tenacity and perseverance of the trans individual being treated.

GenderRecActTrans* Jersey supports the calls by trans* organisations in the UK that the process for procuring a gender recognition certificate (“GRC”) needs revision. The Gender Recognition (Jersey) Law 2010 allows for a GRC from a recognised jurisdiction to be passed in the Royal Court. Any revisions that happen to the UK Gender Recognition Act 2004 as a result of the consultation happening with trans* organisations will, therefore, directly affect trans islanders. At present, Jersey has no mechanism by which to issue a GRC. However, this may change if trans* organisations within the UK are successful in calling for the Gender Recognition Act to be scrapped and for the issuance of a GRC to be an administrative process driven by the trans individual.

lawTrans* Jersey is committed to ensuring that all States of Jersey legislation that directly affects trans* islanders is scrutinised and responded to on behalf of the Jersey trans* community in order to safeguard our human rights. Trans* Jersey is currently preparing a response to both the States of Jersey consultation on sex discrimination and the imminent debate on equal marriage. Trans* Jersey will also be reviewing all legislation in force to ensure that there are no revisions that need to be called for.

equal marriageTrans* Jersey believes that equal marriage legislation is essential to ensure that trans islanders are not discriminated against, and that any equal marriage law introduced in Jersey should not contain the so-called Spousal Veto. Trans islanders who are married or in a civil partnership at the time of their transition have no option currently but to get divorced before they can acquire a full GRC. On the granting of a full GRC, the couple may formalise their partnership again by having another wedding ceremony. This situation is patently in violation of all human rights.

TeacherTrans* Jersey believes that education is the key to many of the issues faced by trans* individuals in society and is therefore committed to providing opportunities and resources to cisgender islanders in order that they can learn more about the trans* population. In the coming months, Trans* Jersey will be seeking conversations with private schools and the States of Jersey Education, Sport and Culture (“ES&C”) Department about including trans* issues within the sex education curriculum.

These are not the only issues faced by trans* individuals in Jersey, but they are the most important ones to be addressed. We are a small group with no financial backing. This manifesto is, therefore, necessarily realistic in its aims. It is not possible to hit all targets at once so we are being selective. Once progress has been made on these issues, we can turn our attention to other areas where reform is needed.

You can download the complete manifesto as a pdf here.

Press release: 13 May 2014

A new group offering support and information to transgender, transsexual, androgynous, genderqueer, bigender and intersex islanders in Jersey is starting up.

Trans* Jersey is the idea of the Jersey novelist, Vic Tanner Davy, and grew from his own experience of transitioning in Jersey and the need to respond to the States of Jersey’s consultation paper on sex discrimination legislation, the next phase in the island’s anti-discrimination laws.

(Note: “Trans*” with an asterisk encompasses transsexual, transgender, androgynous, intersex, genderqueer and bigender people, whereas “trans” only refers to transgender and transssexual people.)

The transgender population in Jersey is very small. It is estimated that about 2-5% of any given population suffers from some degree of gender dysphoria and, of them, only 1 in 12,000 natal males and 1 in 34,000 natal females will transition, although these numbers are increasing. This equates to a population in Jersey of about 2,000 to 5,000 people who might consider themselves androgynous, genderqueer or bigender and only a handful of transgender/transsexual people (i.e. those who have undergone gender reassignment), of which Mr Davy is one.

Because of the size of the population affected by trans* issues, there is very little support on the island for trans* individuals. Anyone wishing to transition has to go to the UK for the specialist treatment required. Trans* Jersey seeks to bridge that gap by providing information about the process of transitioning for trans* islanders and their healthcare professionals.

“At the moment, Jersey’s trans* population has no means to come together to share ideas about measures that directly affect them. As well as providing support for our community, Trans* Jersey is a way for us to get together online, through a blog, email and Twitter, to discuss issues that are important to us, like the States’ consultation paper on the next phase of the anti-discrimination law,” explains Mr Davy. “Anti-discrimination legislation is the first issue that Trans* Jersey is tackling but there are likely to be more coming up. Equal marriage, which affects trans* people too, is one such issue that is pressing. The UK is currently undertaking a review of its Equality Act and Gender Recognition Act in response to trans* organisations in the UK who have found a number of problems with the legislation. Trans* Jersey is working with GIRES, the UK charity, to try to ensure that Jersey’s new legislation doesn’t repeat the mistakes that the UK are currently seeking to put right.”

Trans* Jersey would like to hear from any trans* islanders before 31 May 2014 when the States of Jersey consultation closes. If you are interested in getting involved or learning more about Trans* Jersey, please email or visit the blog or follow @transjersey on Twitter. Trans* Jersey is aware that not all transgender individuals wish to be open about their gender status and therefore all correspondence will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Equal marriage support

Trans* Jersey supports Deputy Sam Mezec’s call for the States of Jersey to pass legislation to legalise same-sex marriage. Trans* Jersey goes further and would support a move for the island to model its law on Scotland’s equal marriage legislation.

We support equal marriage because, as the law currently stands in Jersey, a transman or transwoman in a marriage or civil partnership and wishing to legally transition (by acquiring a gender recognition certificate (“GRC”)) must first obtain a divorce from their spouse. Divorce and re-marriage (via a civil partnership or marriage, depending on which way you are going!) carries with it not just costs but implications for the continuation of legal documents, such as wills, and pension provisions.

This is the only known example where the law requires someone to forgo one right (the right to remain married to their partner) in order to access another (the right to private life afforded by the Gender Recognition Act). This anomaly has led to some transsexual people in the UK deciding not to acquire a GRC, as they argue their marriage vows were for life and they object to the idea that their partner (by remaining with them and true to those vows) would be unfairly treated by dissolving the original bond.

When Scotland was considering equal marriage legislation, James Morton of the Equality Network and Scottish Transgender Alliance released this video explaining why equal marriage matters to trans and intersex people. Trans* Jersey agrees with the points he made.

When England introduced the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, they got it wrong. They included what has come to be called the Spousal Veto, a clause that allows spouses of transgender people to effectively stop them from legally transitioning (i.e. acquiring a GRC). Sarah Brown, the LibDem politician and trans* activist, explains why this is a problem here.

When Scotland passed its legislation, the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014, they got it right. They removed the need for transgender people to dissolve their marriage before be able to acquire a GRC; they have enabled people to have gender-neutral marriage ceremonies; and they secured the removal of the spousal veto.

An explanation from the Equality Network on what Scotland’s recently passed equal marriage bill will mean for trans and intersex people.

The Equality Network is a Scottish lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality charity:


Acquired gender: see Recognised Gender below. A legal/bureaucractic term used to distinguish between the gender someone was assigned at birth and the gender they feel themselves to be. Not widely used in the trans* community because of its implication that a trans* person “acquires” their gender, rather than has always been of that gender.

Assigned gender: see Acquired Gender above. Again, not widely used in the trans* community because of its implication that a trans* person can have their gender “assigned” to them by a third party, rather than has always been of that gender.

Androgynous: the gender expression of a person who has both masculine and feminine characteristics.

Bigender: a person who tends to flexibly shift between the gender behaviour typically associated with men and women depending on context.

Cis or cisgender: a person whose gender conforms to their birth sex, i.e. a male who identifies as a man or a female who identifies as a woman. The opposite of transgender.

Drag (queen or king): this refers to an actor or actress who dresses as the opposite sex for the purposes of entertainment. Not related to being trans*.

FtM or F2M: see Transman below.

Gender dysphoria: the medical term for the feeling that a trans* person has that their biological sex is not aligned with their gender identity.

Gender expression or presentation: the gender that a person appears to other people to be, selected from a spectrum of genders.

Gender identity: the gender that a person feels themselves to be, selected from a spectrum of genders.

Genderqueer: anyone with a gender identity that is non-binary, i.e. not man or woman. Genderqueer people may identify as one or more of the following: having an overlap of, or indefinite lines between, gender identity and sexual and romantic orientation; two or more genders (bigender, trigender, pangender); without a gender (nongendered, genderless, agender, neutrois); moving between genders or with a fluctuating gender identity (genderfluid); third gender or other-gendered. It also includes those who do not place a name to their gender.

Gender recognition certificate or GRC: a document certifying that for all purposes a transgender person is to be treated as the gender they feel themselves to be. In the UK, the document enables a transgender person to amend their birth certificate if they so choose.

Gender variance: a term for the feeling that a trans* person has that their biological sex is not aligned with their gender identity.

dictionary_1633840cMtF or M2F: see Transwoman below.

Passing: the act of successfully being accepted by society as the gender that you wish to present.

Pronouns: he/him/his/his, she/her/her/hers, they/them/their/theirs. There are a range of gender neutral pronouns that have been suggested over the years. A list can be found here. Never ever use “it” when referring to a trans* person.

Recognised gender: An acceptable term used to distinguish between the gender someone was assigned at birth and the gender they feel themselves to be. The term acknowledges not only the trans person’s recognition of their “true” gender but also society’s recognition of their gender.

Sex: the biological or chromosomal sex of a person, as distinct from their gender identity or expression.

Sex-change: out-dated and unacceptable now.

She-male: unacceptable description of a transwoman.

Stealth: the condition whereby a trans* individual passes so completely that they elect not to reveal they are trans*.

Tranny: unacceptable shortened form of the word transgender or transsexual.

Trans: an acceptable shortened form of the word transgender or transsexual.

Trans*: this has replaced trans in recent years. It has been adopted by the trans* community to encompass more groups than just transsexual and transgender individuals. Trans* encompasses anyone whose gender is non-binary or fluid, i.e. androgynous, bigender, genderqueer and some intersex people.

Transgender: a term that describes someone whose gender identity is not aligned with their biological/chromosomal sex. Transgender should never be used as a noun (“I met a transgender today”). Transgender is an adjective (“I met a transgender person today”). Transgendered is also not correct (“I met a transgendered person today”) and should be avoided.

Transsexual: a term that used to be used to distinguish between someone who had undergone gender reassignment surgery and someone who had not (who would have been referred to as transgender). This has fallen out of favour as people have begun to emphasise the plurality of gender rather than accepting it as binary.

Transition: the process that a transgender person undertakes to move from being accepted as one gender to being accepted as the gender they feel themselves to be. It usually includes hormone therapy to make physical changes to the body but may or may not involve surgical procedures.

Transman: a transgender person born female but living as a man. Synonymous with the term FtM (female to male).

Transwoman: a transgender person born male but living as a woman. Synonymous with the term MtF (male to female).

Press and media advice

Trans* Jersey is very happy to answer questions from the press and media about trans* issues. All enquiries should be addressed to: in the first instance.

The following interview is a parody of typical media interviews with transgender people, with Janet Mock asking Alicia Menendez – who is cisgender – many of the same questions she routinely has to deal with as a transgender woman. The video highlights the way that even trans-welcoming media personalities can objectify and dehumanize their transgender guests by focusing on their bodies and medical histories. Take 5 minutes to watch it here before you plan your interview questions.

Janet-MockResources for journalists reporting on transgender issues or interviewing transgender people from –

Trans Media Watch
Press Complaints Commission

Resources for transgender interviewees from –

Trans Media Watch
Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition


Healthcare gatekeepers

These are the main healthcare professionals you will need to deal with in your transition. If, at any stage, you find you cannot get on with your healthcare provider, or you are not confident in their abilities or the advice you are being given, seek to change. Not all healthcare providers are skilled or experienced with trans* patients and their issues, so make sure you are seeing someone who is or, if they are not yet skilled, someone who is sympathetic to your situation and willing to do their research. Don’t assume that because your GP is unhelpful, all GPs will be unhelpful – it doesn’t work like that! For every GP who does not want to deal with trans* patients, there are many more supportive and interested ones.

Things you can do to help
There are a number of things that you can do to help with your consultations:

  • Do your homework about transitioning so that you become knowledgeable about the process and can plan ahead
  • Prepare for consultations by knowing what you want to get out of the interview
  • Be clear and concise in the consultation – don’t ‘kitchen sink’ – realistically doctors can only deal with one or two issues at a time
  • Stay calm and stick to the facts – try not to get emotional as it won’t help you think or communicate clearly
  • Be patient with the professional if they ask you to recap your history for them, or they are new to trans* issues, or they don’t seem to understand what it is you are asking them to do
  • Double-check with the healthcare professional if you think something isn’t right – they are human and can make mistakes, too
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the healthcare professional to explain something you don’t understand, and to ask again if you still don’t understand it
  • Finally, become the expert on you and your transition

Your Jersey GP or doctor
Their role in your transition is one of co-ordinator and referrer to the various agencies that you need to access. You can expect them to undertake the following tasks for you:

  • Providing a non-judgemental sounding-board for all and any healthcare concerns you might have during your transition
  • Researching the options available to you and providing you with a choice of options and their implications
  • Writing a letter of referral to a gender therapist (if going the private route into the UK system)
  • Writing a letter of referral to a Jersey psychiatrist (if going the public route into the UK system)
  • Writing a letter of referral to Jersey’s endocrinologist
  • Writing letters of referral to surgeons specialising in gender reassignment techniques (if going the private route)
  • Writing prescriptions for hormone therapy (if not being done through the endocrinologist)
  • Writing a letter of confirmation that you are undergoing gender reassignment for those authorities that require it
  • Providing pre-surgery confirmation that you are physically fit to undergo surgery
  • Taking blood samples as requested by your other healthcare providers
  • Liaising with your other healthcare providers to share information about your transition
  • Monitoring your transition by taking an interest in your general well-being and progress

Your Jersey psychiatrist (if going the public route into the UK system)
Your Jersey psychiatrist will not be a specialist in the field of gender care. The demand for gender care in Jersey is not big enough to warrant a specialist being employed. Their role in your transition is one of referrer to the Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic in the UK. You can expect them to undertake the following tasks for you:

  • Providing a non-judgemental stance on your desire to transition
  • Providing you with a choice of options and their implications
  • Writing a letter of referral to the Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic
  • Writing a letter of referral to Jersey’s endocrinologist (or your Jersey GP might do this)
  • Liaising with your other healthcare providers to share information about your transition

Your gender therapist
Some trans* people don’t strike up a rapport with their therapist at the first go and this makes it hard for them to have confidence in the advice they are being given. This may be to do with the manner of the therapist or it may be to do with the preconception that some trans* people have about their gender therapist. Unfortunately, some trans* people see their gender therapist as the person with the ultimate power to say ‘no’ to their desire to transition, which immediately sets up a confrontational or defensive position. This is not how you should approach gender therapy. Gender therapy is your opportunity to explore whether transitioning is right for you. If your gender therapist asks you difficult questions sometimes, it is because they want you to think about aspects of transitioning you have not considered, or not considered fully. It is not because they are blocking you from accessing treatment. Respect your therapist’s experience in their field and work with them to achieve your goals. If you have given the therapist a chance to build a rapport with you and it is still not happening as you would wish, seek to change.

You can expect your therapist to undertake the following tasks for you:

  • Providing you with a resource to test the feeling you have that you are transgender
  • Explaining the options available to you and providing you with a choice of options and their implications
  • Working with you to plan your transition and to suggest the order of steps to be taken to transition
  • Writing a letter suggesting a course of hormone treatment, the starting dose and progress of dosage to your GP or psychiatrist in Jersey
  • Writing letters of referral to surgeons specialising in gender reassignment techniques
  • Writing a letter of confirmation that you are undergoing gender transition for those authorities that require it
  • Liaising with your other healthcare providers to share information about your transition
  • Monitoring your transition by checking your mental well-being at intervals

DoctorYour endocrinologist
Their role in your transition is to prescribe and monitor your hormone therapy to ensure that your body is absorbing the prescribed hormones at the correct rate and the changes that those hormones bring about are happening. You can expect them to undertake the following tasks for you:

  • Writing prescriptions for hormone therapy (if not being done through your GP)
  • Taking blood samples or requesting you arrange with your GP to take blood samples at intervals
  • Liaising with your GP to share information about your transition
  • Monitoring your hormone levels to ensure that they are normal
  • Providing advice on the affects of hormone therapy on your body

Your surgeon
Their role in your transition is to provide you with the selected reconstruction surgery that you require to assist the hormone therapy with the physical changes to your body. You can expect them to undertake the following tasks for you:

  • Writing or advising on the prescriptions you need following surgery
  • Taking blood samples or requesting you arrange with your GP to take blood samples pre/post-surgery
  • Liaising with your GP to share information about your transition
  • Performing the surgery you have requested, as you have requested it and to the highest standard
  • Monitoring your progress post-surgery until you are discharged from the hospital
  • Providing pre-surgery explanations and advice on the affects of the surgery on your body

Transition management

There is very little chance that you will be able to keep your transition a secret in Jersey. The island is small and news of your transition will travel quickly around your friends, family, colleagues and, surprisingly, even people who you don’t know! If you want to transition privately, your best option is to leave the island for a city. However, before you take that step, consider the pros and cons carefully:


  • You will pass more often in a city as your gender rather than as transgender
  • You will have access to a wider range of professionals to support your transition
  • You will have access to support groups where you can meet other trans* individuals
  • You can make a fresh start in your new gender


  • As well as undergoing the changes to your gender, you will also have to undertake huge changes in your home and work life
  • You will lose the support network you have in Jersey (friends, family, colleagues)
  • You may not be eligible for funded healthcare, depending on where you move to
  • Moving location will add to the cost of your transition

Jersey is a conservative place but it is also, by and large, a tolerant place. The island’s population is a well educated one – our schools consistently get above UK average grades. There are very few hate crimes and people are able to go about their business without interference. Islanders may like to gossip and some of the attitudes you encounter may be a little behind the times but, rarely, are they malicious. The new anti-discrimination legislation due to come into force in September 2015 should improve this situation through education and awareness campaigns. There are worse places in the world to be open about your gender or sexuality.

Telling people

Because news will spread fast in Jersey, you need to plan the order in which you inform people of your transition. You will find that most of your acquaintances will be accepting and supportive of your decision to transition. However, you don’t want to jeopardise that goodwill by people hearing of your news secondhand. We would suggest the following order as a starting point:

  • Your GP and other members of the medical profession necessary to establish that you wish to transition – this is guaranteed to be in confidence and a necessary first step.
  • One close friend or family member in whose judgement and discretion you trust – inform them that they are the only one who knows and that you are not telling anyone else for the moment. They will act as a sounding board for your thoughts and feelings. If you do not have access to someone suitable using an Internet forum specifically for trans* people where you can ask questions of other trans* individuals can provide the same support.
  • You can stop at this point until you are ready to come out as transgender. Once you are ready to come out, the next steps should follow in quick succession (i.e. within days of each other). Make sure that you inform each person you tell of who knows your news, apart from them, and what your timetable is for telling others.
  • Your advocate – this is guaranteed to be in confidence and the first public step you will have to take. Your deed poll should take about a week to process and pass through the Royal Court. It is not one of the Royal Court procedures announced in the Business Brief.
  • Your closest friends and family – try to do this face to face if possible. They will be the ones most concerned by your transition because they love you and the ones who require the most reassurance. Have some sources of factual information prepared for them (e.g. a self-help book, a lists of websites offering advice, a handout of basic facts that you have written, an open letter explaining your journey to this decision) to help with their understanding of what you are going through and to demonstrate that you take your transition seriously and have done your research.
  • Your line manager or, if more suitable, your personnel manager at work – the process for coming out at work is discussed in more detail below.
  • Your work colleagues, extended family members and casual acquaintances/friends – email makes this process much easier than it used to be. On the day that you inform your work colleagues, plan to send an email to your extended family members and casual acquaintances/friends. The email can be relatively brief but be sure to include your new name and the pronouns (he/him/his, she/her/her, they/them/their) you would like people to use from now onwards. You may also wish to explain your journey to this decision and provide some links to websites offering advice. This is the day that you will really feel that you have come out and you will, in all likelihood, find it a positive experience as most people will respond with messages of good wishes and congratulations.

transitionTransition management at work

In the workplace, you should expect the following considerations from the manager that you first approach with the news of your transition:

  • They take a non-judgemental stance
  • They are available if you need to talk
  • They support your plan for coming out to your colleagues
  • They assist in educating co-workers
  • They allow for mood changes caused by hormone therapy
  • They work with you to plan time off for surgery
  • They treat you no differently than they would other colleagues of that gender
  • They always use your new name and gender pronoun
  • They take appropriate disciplinary steps with co-workers who do not respect your gender
  • They remind co-workers that it is not their job to ‘out’ you to new employees joining the company
  • They inform you of anyone else that they are obliged to inform of your news and get your agreement to do so

In consultation with your manager, agree on the plan for telling your colleagues. You should plan to tell colleagues within a matter of days from telling your manager. There should be no reason for the manager to delay:

  • Set a date on which everyone will be told (all at once). Don’t allow the news to spread by gossip.
  • Find a method of telling everyone the same information at once. Email is probably the best way to do this so that staff who work remotely also hear at the same time. Keep the information clear and factual.
  • You may wish to undertake a presentation about gender issues to all staff in which a Q&A can happen. Only the most confident/comfortable trans* individuals are likely to undertake this but it can be a great way to get your colleagues comfortable with your news. Discuss this possibility with your manager.
  • You may wish to take holiday whilst your colleagues get used to your news so that your return to work marks a clear date on which you are dressed as your preferred gender and referred to by your new name/pronouns. Discuss this possibility with your manager.
  • Your manager may wish to offer all members of staff the opportunity to talk to them and air their concerns about the change. This is a good idea as it can stop any negative comments early on and the manager can get a feel for which employees might need anti-discrimination training.

Below is a sample email that can be adapted by you and your manager to send to other employees:

I have been asked by John Bunbury to write to you to inform you that he is starting a process of gender reassignment from male to female.

From [date], his name will change from John to Elizabeth (Liz). Liz has also asked to be referred to by female pronouns (she, her, hers) from this date.

I ask all employees to respect Liz’s wishes and to use her correct name and pronouns. I also ask that you respect Liz’s right to privacy and that you do not discuss this with other employees. Should you wish to discuss the matter, please arrange to see me in confidence.

[Optional] A presentation about gender issues will be held on [date], which all employees are expected to attend. Further details to follow.

[Optional] Liz is currently on holiday and will be returning on [date].

Toilets and changing rooms

One of the areas that gets people into difficulties is communal facilities that are gender segregated. You should expect to receive the following courtesies from your manager:

  • They should ask you which facility you would like to use.
  • They should offer to provide you with a gender-neutral option, but not force you to use one.
  • If other members of staff complain about the arrangements, they should educate them.

If your manager does not get this right, be patient with them because it will be due to lack of experience in dealing with trans* issues. Explain that you are the most vulnerable person in this situation not your colleagues and that using facilities designated for the opposite gender is one of the most daunting aspects of transitioning. Remind them that:

  • Digressing gender norms does not make you sexual predator.
  • The majority of sexual assaults in the world are perpetrated by cisgender (non-trans) men.
  • Even in the gents, you rarely, if ever, see other people’s genitalia when using public facilities.
  • Transwomen are put at risk of being physically assaulted by men when using men’s facilities.


If your organisation has a uniform:

  • Ensure that your manager arranges for a uniform matching your new gender to be provided as soon as possible.
  • The uniform may need to be altered fit. Your employer should offer to fund this for you but check company policy for whether this is covered for cisgender employees. If not, you are unlikely to get it covered either. (Transwomen may be broader in the shoulders, transmen may be shorter in the leg, than standard sizing.)
  • Agree a point in time when you will commence wearing your new uniform.

Health and safety

If appropriate to your work and your transition, you should discuss the following issues with your manager to ensure that they are aware that some of your duties may need to be adjusted as your transition progresses:

  • Hormone therapy brings about physical changes. Be aware that if you are an MtF manual worker you will not be able to lift the weight you used to.
  • Following surgery you may return to work but may not yet be capable of carrying out all your normal duties. Take medical advice about recovery times and appraise your manager of them.

Finally, Jersey does not currently have appropriate legislation to protect trans* workers’ rights. This is due to be introduced in September 2015. However, the States of Jersey appear to be modelling their new law on the UK Equality Act, so be aware that:

  • In the vast majority of cases, the gender of a worker is of no relevance to their ability to do a particular job. However, the Equality Act 2010 does allow for an exception where being of a particular sex is an ‘occupational requirement’ of that post. It might apply where the work necessarily involves conducting intimate searches, or where services are provided to one gender only, such as a women’s refuge.
  • The Equality Act makes it clear that the employer must act reasonably in applying an occupational requirement. For example, conducting intimate searches is unlikely to be a main part of any particular post. The employer must consider whether these tasks could be carried out by someone else. Also, the occupational requirement must be identified at the beginning of the recruitment process and stated in the application pack.
  • If an employee who is intending to transition permanently works in a single sex position or organisation, it is probably best for the employee, the employer and any service users if redeployment can be negotiated. Employers should make sure that options are discussed early on, to reach the best outcome.
  • Don’t forget that a person with a Gender Recognition Certificate is legally of that sex for all purposes.

Guides to managing your transition at work –
National Institute of Economic and Social Research
The Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services