Government launches transgender equality action plan

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The government has published a new action plan for improving equality for transgender people, including in the workplace.

Following consultation with the transgender community, public bodies, GPs and the voluntary sector, the Home Office has formulated a number of proposals designed to eradicate the inequalities and prejudices faced by transgender people at work, in education and general society.

A survey conducted as part of the action plan found that nearly half of transgender employees have experienced discrimination or harassment in their workplace, while 88 per cent of respondents said that ignorance of transgender issues was the biggest challenge they faced in employment.

The plan proposes a number of ways to help transgender people find employment and feel that they are treated without prejudice once they are working.

This includes providing prospective employers with updated guidance and targeted support on employing transgender people via Job Centre Plus, as well as targeting existing pre-employment support schemes at individuals with the greatest needs, including transgender people.

It seeks to address some of the practical issues faced by transgender people when it comes to employment law, such as by updating the Department for Work and Pensions website to clarify state pension entitlement conditions for transgender individuals, and improving DirectGov and HMRC guidance for employers and customers on the implications of gender reassignment on tax requirements.

The action plan also includes measures to tackle bullying in schools of transgender pupils, as well as proposals to amend the Punishment of Offenders Bill to raise minimum sentencing for murders motivated by hostility towards a transgender person from 15 to 30 years.

“Today is an important step, but I recognise that government can only go so far,” commented equalities minister Lynne Featherstone.

“So we will be working with schools, businesses and communities so that together, we can drive change and help consign transphobia to the past.”

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