What it's like being transgender in the City

Kimberley Bird
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Thursday marks International Transgender Day of Visibility – a day to celebrate and recognise the achievements of trans people – and a time when I reflect on my own time in the City.

I have worked in financial services throughout my career and thought it would have to take a backseat when I made the decision to transition a few years ago. I’m so grateful that I was wrong.

When it comes to acceptance and inclusion, as a society we have progressed faster in the last few years than during the decades that preceded them. When I transitioned it was after the introduction of strict legal frameworks preventing discrimination in the workplace, but I have also been fortunate to have worked for supportive employers throughout my career.

Others may not be as fortunate. Many of the people I speak to still face hostile work environments where they are unable to be themselves. I firmly believe that all companies have a responsibility to all their employees that everyone is treated fairly, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or disability. I am proud that I work in such an environment where all colleagues work in a safe and supportive environment which is spearheaded by our executive committee, where all colleagues have the freedom to feel comfortable expressing their identities.

There is no magic bullet, but at Lloyds Banking Group we believe we can play an important role in enacting wider change. To ensure that the policies we put in place really matter and are fit for purpose we are currently working with trans support groups. This has resulted in a range of measures, for example we recently updated our line management training programme so those who choose to transition are given the appropriate level of support. In addition, as part of our Helping Britain Prosper Plan, we announced earlier this month our target to increase the engagement levels of LGBT colleagues in all roles to 70 per cent by 2020.

While there has been a shift in attitudes, and on a personal note I’m pleased to say there’s been a positive shift more generally in society towards acceptance of trans individuals, there’s still work to be done.

There is no single unifying experience of transpeople in the UK and this becomes even more varied when gender, race, age and sexuality come into play. However, with ample research showing that more than half of the millennial generation rejects binary-male or female-gender definitions, this can only lead to greater gender acceptance, as this generation move higher up the career ladder. After all, this generation will soon become the leaders of tomorrow.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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