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Today, 31 March is International Transgender Awareness Day. That is why we present Transparentes, an initiative aimed at making visible the barriers to social and labour insertion of the transgender community in Spain and contributing to their recruitment.

The transgender community has an unemployment rate of 80%: the highest among the LGTBIQ+ community. If being unemployed is always painful, the process of looking for a job is particularly complex for trans people, who usually also suffer the consequences of stigmatisation in other areas of their lives.

Often, socio-occupational exclusion dynamites their self-esteem and psycho-emotional health, causing a high percentage of the community to reach states marked by extreme social exclusion, which perpetuates this discrimination at all levels.

In this context, Transparentes, an initiative developed by Fundación LLYC with the collaboration of REDI, for the Ámbar Project of the Fundación 26 de Diciembre, was created to make visible the barriers to social and labour insertion of the transgender community in Spain and to contribute to encourage their recruitment.

Transparentes portrays the loneliness, helplessness and uncertainty among unemployed people. Of their euphoria and discouragement as soon as they receive notice of a selection process. Of the accumulated fatigue and disappointment that sometimes makes them give up. And, at the same time, Transparent is a wake-up call that seeks to make companies aware of the value of supporting diverse work environments and to propose solutions in this area.

Discrimination at work

In addition to the 80% unemployment rate they suffer, 42% of transgender people in Spain claim to have felt discriminated against during their job search processes or in their work environment (LGTBI Eurobarometer). 86.6% of LGTBI people consider it necessary to hide their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in a job interview (UGT).

This stigmatisation negatively affects a very diverse group in terms of socio-economic status, educational level, previous work experience, ethnicity and many other variables.

Moreover, according to the experts, the search for employment is compounded by another problem: keeping a job. In this context, transgender people continue to face severe forms of employment discrimination, ranging from employers’ reluctance to accept their form of identity to increased exposure to harassment by co-workers.

The project: transparent

This project aims to make visible the barriers to the social and labour insertion of the transgender community in Spain and to raise awareness of the serious consequences of this reality; to highlight the value of diverse work environments, based on open and inclusive cultures, which favour the well-being and development of all employees; to invite companies to facilitate the access of people with trans identities to the world of business and to encourage their real recruitment.

A vindicative installation inspired by 15 stories

Transparentes has materialised the reality of the collective in an installation inspired by the real stories of trans people, made up of 15 transparent chairs that represent their personal challenge in the search for employment. People such as Adriana Martínez, Silvana Suero, Silvia Zárate and Ellis Cuesta.  The furniture, on which the names and real periods of unemployment of trans people have been engraved, makes tangible a reality in which the average time of access to a job is 3 and a half years (an average that, moreover, increases considerably in each generation from the age of 30 onwards). The location of the installation, symbolically located in front of an employment office, seeks to raise awareness among companies of the value of supporting diverse work environments.

How can we contribute to reversing the situation?

Training and awareness-raising for employees and management about the reality, challenges and needs of transgender people is the first step in creating a sustainable inclusion strategy and a genuinely welcoming work climate in companies. Also, explicit support from top management is essential and must be conveyed to the rest of the workforce.

The implementation of inclusive policies and practices will come naturally if the inclusion of transgender people is clearly reflected in the company’s strategy; Going hand in hand with civil associations such as the 26D Foundation and REDI is key to ensure the greatest possible positive impact on the company and, by extension, on society.

Finally, even if we believe that selection processes follow objective and logical indicators that leave no room for subjectivity, it is worth remembering that most situations of discrimination are not explicit. It is therefore necessary to check whether the decisions we make are based on bias or not. One way to do this is to analyse whether the outcome achieved is fair for all people and whether the workforce is diverse.

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