About this guide
We wrote this guide for Victorian public sector managers who are supporting employees to affirm their gender.
Don’t worry if you don’t know what gender affirmation is yet – we explain it in the next section of this guide.
By following this guide, managers will:
- support positive wellbeing outcomes for their trans, gender-diverse and non-binary employees
- understand their legal obligations in creating a positive working environment for their employees and if relevant, the VPS Enterprise Agreement gender affirmation leave entitlements (called ‘Gender Transition Leave’ in the agreement)
- support other employees in their teams to ensure they keep the workplace free from discrimination, bullying, sexual harassment, vilification and victimisation
- live up to our collective responsibilities in the 7 public sector values and Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities.
As you read this guide, keep in mind:
- Gender affirmation is an employee-led process, which they will go through at their own pace – you must have their consent on how involved they want you and your organisation to be.
- Gender affirmation isn’t a linear process, may be a slow or sudden change by the employee and may not have a clear start or end point – your role as manager is to ensure your employee has a safe working environment during and beyond for their affirmation.
- Language, terms and meanings of words used by the trans, gender-diverse and non-binary community can change over time – always check with your employee on what language they want you to use.
- Every organisation is different – check with your people and culture and diversity and inclusion teams on your processes or responsibilities in case they’re different to what we’ve included in this guide.
- It’s against the law to discriminate against someone based on their gender identity, sex and sex characteristics, such as someone with intersex variations.
For employees affirming their gender
While we wrote this guide for managers, we recognise you’re likely the person who will read this first and make your manager aware of it.
In this guide, we have stressed you will lead and plan your gender affirmation in the workplace at your own pace.
With your manager, you can decide how to follow the advice in this guide and how to use the gender affirmation plan template.
You have a right to a workplace free from discrimination, bullying, sexual harassment, vilification and victimisation.
We hope this guide means your manager can support you to have a safe gender affirmation in your workplace.
Adapt your policies and guides about gender affirmation to align with this guide.
This guide aligns with the leave provisions under clause 58 – Gender Transition Leave in the Victorian Public Service enterprise agreement.
See more advice on this leave in the gender transition leave common policy.
Contributors to this guide
We developed this guide in consultation with:
- the Victorian public sector LGBTIQ+ Pride Network
- the 9 departments, Victoria Police and other government agencies
- Industrial Relations Victoria
- Fairer Victoria’s LGBTIQ+ Communities branch and Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ Communities, which owns the VPS inclusive language guide and Pride in our Future: Victoria’s LGBTIQ+ strategy 2022 to 2032
- the Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission
- the Community and Public Sector Union.
Feedback on this guide
Contact us if you have feedback on the language we use or the advice we give in this guide.
Terms and concepts to help with gender affirmation
If gender affirmation is new for you, there can be a lot of new language or terms to get familiar with and learn.
In the trans, gender-diverse and non-binary community, language can change over time. The same words may have different meanings for some people than others. Always check what language or terms your employee would like you to use.
After you’ve read this guide, check our list of resources and advice on gender affirmation to learn more.
These concepts aren’t definitive. Your employee may use different definitions.
What sex and gender are
Some people use the terms ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ to mean the same thing. But there are a few differences to be aware of.
Our sex is usually recorded at our birth based on our visible sex characteristics. Most people understand their sex as either female or male.
There is also part of the population born with intersex variations. Most people with intersex variations identify as female or male.
But sex is not the same as gender.
Gender is your own internal sense of who you are, as a woman, man or someone else. It’s how you feel about yourself and express this to others. We all express our gender in many ways, such as through behaviour or appearance.
The culture or society we live in determines a lot of our ideas of gender.
Terms your employee may use to describe gender
Some terms your employee may use to describe gender include:
- cisgender (pronounced ‘sis’) – a term used by some people who identify with the gender that matches their sex recorded at birth.
- transgender (or ‘trans’ for short) – a term used by some people who identify with a gender that doesn’t match their sex recorded at birth.
- gender-diverse – an umbrella term for a range of terms people may use to express their gender in different ways.
- non-binary – a term used by some people who identify with a gender that isn’t exclusively a woman or a man.
- sistergirls – a term used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to describe gender-diverse people that have a female spirit and take on female roles in the community.
- brotherboys – a term used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to describe gender-diverse people that have a male spirit and take on male roles in the community.
What gender affirmation is
Your employee may have used a term previously to describe themselves, such as man or woman.
Gender affirmation is a process your employee undertakes to change this way of describing themselves.
- your employee has been known in the workplace as a man, but wants to affirm their gender as a woman or trans woman
- your employee has been known in the workplace as a woman but wants to affirm their gender as a man or trans man
- your employee has been known in the workplace as a man or woman, but wants to affirm their gender as non-binary, gender-diverse or another description.
Some people may refer to gender affirmation as gender transition. Or others may find the term ‘gender affirmation’ too strong and prefer a term like ‘exploring their gender’.
The gender affirmation process is one of self-identification that must be led by your employee.
If they discuss their gender with you, never question the authenticity of what they’re saying. They’ve likely thought about this for a long time.
Your employee’s gender affirmation may also not have a clear start or end point. Their gender expression may change over time.
Your employee may go through physical, emotional, legal, medical and social changes. And they can be positively or negatively affected by the way others react to these changes.
This can be a time of celebration, but it may also come with apprehension and anxiety.
Intersectionality and gender affirmation
The LGBTIQ+ inclusive language guide describes intersectionality as:
“how different parts of a person’s identity or circumstances – such as age, race, culture, disability, gender, location or religion – intersect and combine to shape people’s life experiences, including of discrimination.”
With gender affirmation, your employee’s experience may intersect with other parts of their identity.
This means they may talk about gender differently to others or what we’ve written in this guide. And depending on their culture, your employee may express gender in a variety of ways.
Their intersectional identity may also create different layers and types of discrimination or disadvantage for them.
Work with your employee to understand how other parts of their identity may impact their affirmation.
For example, your employee may:
- have a disability and need workplace adjustments
- be Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and have unique cultural impacts
- be from a religious background that disapproves of their gender affirmation and face additional discrimination.
Pronouns are words like ‘she’, ‘he’ and ‘they’ or something different. Your employee may change their pronouns to match their gender.
If you’re unsure about someone’s pronouns, use the gender-neutral terms ‘they’ and ‘them’ or the person’s name until you have a chance to confirm with them privately.
To support inclusive pronoun use, you can:
- use your employee’s pronouns to reinforce them to others
- encourage other employees to put their pronouns in their email signatures, video call IDs or messaging handles to show their support.
Misgendering or using the wrong name
Misgendering is when we use language that doesn’t match someone’s gender.
If your employee changes their name, some people may use their old name (also known as ‘deadnaming’, a term describing use of a person’s former name without their consent).
Misgendering or using the wrong name is usually something we do by mistake as we adjust to changes in names and pronouns.
It’s okay to make mistakes! This will happen as everyone adjusts to the new changes. But these mistakes can be stressful and upsetting for your employee as they affirm their gender. Persistent misgendering may be a form of discrimination or bullying.
If you or someone in your team misgenders or uses your employee’s wrong name:
- acknowledge the mistake and move on – use their correct gender or name at the next opportunity
- don’t dwell on it – this may make your employee feel more uncomfortable
- try to avoid making the same mistake again.
A great way to practice a new name or pronoun is to always use it, even when the person isn’t present.
Creating a supportive environment
Organisations and managers have a responsibility to ensure trans, gender-diverse and non-binary employees have a supportive environment to work in.
And while many organisations want to support trans, gender-diverse and non-binary employees, they don’t always know how to.
Here is a list of ideas you or your organisation can implement.
As every organisation is different, check who is responsible to lead these in your workplace.
Tips for managers
- Remind your team of the behaviours expected of them to support a workplace free from discrimination for your employee affirming their gender.
- Use gender-neutral language in your verbal and written materials.
- Celebrate LGBTIQ+ days of significance for trans, gender-diverse and non-binary people, including providing funding for events.
- Organise LGBTIQ+ inclusion and ally training for your team that includes trans, gender-diverse and non-binary perspectives.
- Ensure trans, gender-diverse and non-binary people have career progression opportunities and pathways.
- Make supporting diverse employees (including trans, gender-diverse and non-binary employees) part of performance development plans or KPIs.
Tips for organisations
- Check for updates and actions for organisations in the Pride in our future: Victoria’s LGBTIQ+ strategy 2022 to 2032
- Ensure people and culture and diversity and inclusion teams have knowledge and understanding of gender affirmation and trans, gender-diverse and non-binary people.
- Support your organisation’s pride network and ensure it includes trans, gender-diverse and non-binary people.
- Take part in Rainbow Tick, the Australian Workplace Equality Index or the Rainbow Ready Roadmap to assess how LGBTIQ+ inclusive your organisation is and how you can improve it.
- Make LGBTIQ+ awareness training that includes trans, gender-diverse and non-binary perspectives part of inductions for new starters.
- Include statements supporting people of diverse backgrounds (including trans, gender-diverse and non-binary people) in position descriptions.
- Explore options with your facilities team for all-gender facilities, such as toilets and change rooms for employees.
- Celebrate LGBTIQ+ days of significance for trans, gender-diverse and non-binary people
For a list of training providers:
- see our list of trans, gender-diverse and non-binary support resources
- check with your people and culture or diversity teams if they already have a list of providers your organisation uses.
Guiding principles to support gender affirmation
We have safe workplaces
Your organisation must maintain safe, inclusive and respectful environments.
Be aware of and comply with your occupational health and safety legal duties.
We recognise everyone’s affirmation is different
Each trans, gender-diverse and non-binary employee is unique and will have a different affirmation experience.
Your role is to support your employee to affirm their gender at their own pace.
Work alongside them to create an affirmation experience that ensures their needs are met.
We comply with all laws and the code of conduct
It’s against the law to discriminate against someone based on their gender identity, sex and sex characteristics, such as someone with intersex variations.
All public sector employees must be respectful and not discriminate against any person:
- on any protected attribute in the Equal Opportunity Act 2010
- as per their obligations in the code of conduct.
Make sure you’re familiar with your legal obligations to prevent discrimination in the workplace.
Some areas of legislation are more challenging to navigate than others, for example, exploring options for all-gender facilities. Always ask your people and culture and facilities teams for advice.
Employee changes as they affirm their gender
Your employee may decide to change their name.
This is an ongoing process, as it requires them to update every documented aspect of their life.
If your employee decides to change their name, it’s important everyone uses their affirmed name when they become aware of it – and not wait for any legal changes.
Your role as a manager is to provide your employee with support and help them with any changes in your organisation’s systems or record keeping.
For example, they may need to update their personal details with your organisation and other agencies, such as the Australian Tax Office.
Corporate and IT systems
Name changes in our systems project
An action in the Pride in our future: LGBTIQ strategy 2022 to 2032 is to:
Drive a centralised approach to support LGBTIQ+ Victorian Public Service employees through the Victorian Public Sector Commission.
As part of this action, we have commenced a project so trans, gender-diverse, non-binary and other affected employees can:
- affirm or change their name without discrimination or unnecessary hurdles in VPS systems
- apply for VPS jobs with personal information requested only if it’s required to serve them and explained why it’s being asked for.
The high-level scope of this project will look at the:
- design of the forms and systems that an employee needs to use when they are part of the VPS
- processes that employees engage with behind the scenes
- guidance we give to managers, IT teams and people and culture teams to better understand, have conversations about and make changes to their systems.
Right now, we’re still planning the project. But we’ll update this section with project updates as they develop.
For more information about this project, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preferred names and legal names
Updates to corporate systems can be complex and may need more than one person to get involved.
When employees join the public sector for the first time, many organisations will create a profile for them. This profile keeps a track of things like:
- personal details, such as their legal name, preferred name and gender
- leave balances, such as how many sick and annual leave days they have
- details in other systems, like all staff email lists that are shared across the public sector.
Even if an employee has a preferred name (or hasn’t updated their legal name to the one that matches their affirmed gender), they may need to enter their legal name for an organisation to do things like:
- run national police checks, which ask for any name an employee has used in the past or uses now including their legal name
- check their employment details against national records, like their tax file number
- do pre-employment screening, depending on the type of role they’ve applied for.
When an employee changes jobs in the public sector, their profile may ‘move’ with them – including all the information in it. Or their new organisation will create a new profile that’s linked to their old profile to track accrued benefits.
As a result, an employee’s name or gender from an old profile may be retained that doesn’t match their affirmed name or gender. And if care isn’t taken to investigate this and put solutions in place, your employee could be placed in distressing situations, such as:
- automated systems sending them emails using the wrong name
- the wrong name being searchable in global email lists.
Disclosing information to third parties
As this is a sensitive area that will likely require your employee to disclose information about their affirmation, always let your employee know:
- third parties may ask them to share information about their affirmation to make any system changes
- you’ll support them if they want your help
- you’ll only get involved if they give you permission.
Working with Cenitex and your IT teams
Cenitex manage some IT systems for public sector organisations.
If this applies to your organisation, contact your Cenitex representative to ask them for advice on any system changes. You may need to do this through your corporate services or IT team.
If there are any conflicts with your employee’s previous names or gender and their affirmed name and gender, work with your organisation’s corporate services, IT and people and culture teams to resolve the issues.
Have your IT area ready to act if something doesn’t work as planned. You may want to make IT or corporate services part of this plan.
Enquiries from others and past work
Ask your employee how they want you, your team and your organisation to handle enquiries about them or the work they’ve done in the past. For example:
- people calling and asking after them by their former name
- how to credit the work they have done under their former name.
As part of this process, your employee’s appearance may change. Give them time and space to adjust.
Unless they’ve asked you to, it’s not polite to comment or give them feedback on this process, even if you think you’re giving a compliment.
If your employee must wear a uniform to work and you have different uniforms for male and female staff, they can choose which one to wear.
Regardless of your employee’s choice, you can still expect them to meet the appearance and behaviour standards for the role they’re in.
But it’s against the law to deny someone’s right to express their gender with what they wear, based on what stakeholders, customers and clients prefer.
With the team responsible for facilities, explore what facilities your employee can access that they would feel most comfortable using with their affirmed gender. For example, change rooms and toilets.
Keep in mind that some buildings used by the public sector are more challenging to find options for than others, particularly in older buildings. It can take time to work out a solution that meets all legislated requirements.
Not allowing your employee to use the facilities they want may be discriminatory under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010. It may also make your employee feel uncomfortable coming into the office.
As a manager, you have a positive duty to eliminate discrimination as far as possible.
This means you must try to create an environment where unfair treatment and unacceptable behaviour are unlikely to happen.
To support your employee, you can:
- explore options with your facilities team on behalf of your employee for all-gender facilities they can use
- ask your employee if they’d like support telling others about their use of facilities – some people can be anxious about advocating for themselves
- think about what educational materials you can give others to educate them on your employee’s right to use all-gender facilities and support any change management linked with this.
Privacy and confidentiality
Your employee has the right to choose what information they want to disclose.
If they disclose anything, you must handle their information as private and confidential in line with:
Sharing information about an employee’s gender affirmation with others
Your employee may or may not want to inform others of their gender affirmation.
This is their choice. You can’t share or discuss their affirmation with anyone without their explicit consent.
In many cases, people affirming their gender may wish to keep a low profile and may not want the attention of a formal announcement.
Ask your employee if they want to inform others. If they do, ask them:
- who they want it shared with, such as their team or the whole organisation
- who they want to know about their process and who will disclose it, such as themselves, you or someone else
- how they would like it to become known, such as in-person, an email, at a meeting, altering email signatures or some form of gentle integration
- how you can support them in this process
- when they want to have it known, such as before or after they have affirmed their gender.
Be prepared if your employee chooses to have their affirmation kept confidential, as you may need a discrete process.
Also consider what steps your organisation needs to take to create awareness, educate others and create a safe environment for your employee.
Third-party access and your employee’s safety
Some organisations have systems or processes that mean some third parties will see your employee’s information.
For example, if your employee needs to:
- update their name in payroll, a finance officer may need to do this.
- get gender affirmation leave approved, an HR officer may see this and an executive director may need to sign off on it.
In these situations, your employee’s identity as trans, gender-diverse or non-binary may be shared with people they weren’t aware of.
Every organisation is different. So let your employee know this may happen so they’re fully informed.
To support your employee, you may offer to help them make some of the changes. For example, name changes in IT or finance systems or applying for leave.
Policy and enterprise agreement support
Flexible work is the Victorian government’s default position.
Work with your employee to agree on what arrangements they need to support them on their affirmation.
Without your employee’s consent, you must not change their working arrangements because they intend to affirm their gender.
Gender affirmation leave
If your employee works in the Victorian Public Service and is covered by the Victorian Public Service enterprise agreement, they may be entitled to access paid leave to affirm their gender under clause 58.
Under clause 58, the agreement entitles an eligible employee to access:
- up to 20 days of paid leave for essential and necessary gender affirmation procedures
- up to 48 weeks of unpaid leave.
This leave gives your employee the time they may need to be away from the workplace to support their gender affirmation.
Your employee isn’t required to be undergoing specific types of changes, such as surgery, to access gender affirmation leave.
Eligible employees can take this leave flexibly with approval of their employer.
See more advice on this leave in the gender transition leave common policy.
Casual employees aren’t entitled to access paid leave for gender affirmation.
Under clause 58.5 of the agreement, casuals are entitled to access unpaid leave.
Model process to support an employee’s gender affirmation
This gives you an idea of what a gender affirmation process could look like.
No two gender affirmations are the same, nor will have a clear start or end.
How your employee wants to plan their affirmation, the timing to implement and who to share it with will vary from person to person.
Step 1: confirm if your employee wants to involve your organisation
Your employee doesn’t have to share any information about their gender affirmation with anyone.
They can decide the extent to involve your organisation and may wish to discuss their intent first with:
- you as their manager
- a trusted person
- a person from your people and culture or diversity teams
- someone from the Employee Assistance Program or equivalent in your organisation
- someone from the LGBTIQ+ pride network.
This is so they can help arrange support such as an informal measure, like helping them talk with the team. Or a formal measure, like a gender affirmation plan.
Step 2: discuss their intent with you
If your employee decides to involve your organisation, set up a time to talk with them.
They may want to bring a support person with them, such as:
- someone from your LGBTIQ+ pride network
- another trans, gender-diverse or non-binary person
- someone outside your workplace
- someone from an organisation, such as Transgender Victoria or another one from our list of resources and advice to support gender affirmation.
In your conversation, you may want to cover these things:
- any education and awareness they think you, the team or the organisation needs, including what information is okay and not okay to share in meetings with other employees
- how they’d like others to ask respectful questions about what’s happening, such as to them directly, through you, an advocate, a person from your diversity or people and culture teams or the Pride Network
- if they want to work with you on a gender affirmation plan
- the support they need from you and your organisation for their gender affirmation.
Your employee doesn’t need to share anything they don’t want to, answer any questions or educate others about their affirmation.
Step 3: work out a plan
How you support your employee depends on what you agreed to in step 2.
To develop the plan, collaborate closely with your employee. They may want to include a support person to develop the plan.
Employee’s consent to share
Your employee must approve the plan before you initiate it. You also need their consent to share anything about them with anyone.
Also ensure you’ve made your employee aware of the potential for third-party access to their information.
Gender affirmation plan template
You may want to use our gender affirmation plan template, which aims to:
- address all your employee’s concerns
- maintain a respectful workplace free from discrimination, harassment and unfair treatment
- make it clear to all parties how your employee is going to affirm their gender in the workplace
- make sure others treat your employee with respect and dignity.
The plan covers things like:
- access to facilities
- how and when they want to share information with others
- training plans for your team.
Your employee can choose to develop a gender affirmation plan at any stage – even if they didn’t want one to begin with.
If your employee doesn’t want to develop a plan
You can still support your employee without a plan. Check-in regularly and remind them they can raise any concerns with you.
If you don’t know how best to support your employee, remember you’re not alone. You’re not expected to know everything or what to do.
- get advice from your diversity or people and culture teams on how to support your employee and others in your team
- educate yourself on trans, gender-diverse and non-binary inclusion through workplace training and online information
- see our list of trans and gender information in this guide
- talk to the Pride Network who may be able to connect you with further support and information or have someone share their lived experience
- use our gender affirmation plan template to guide your conversations, while respecting your employee’s decision not to have a formal plan.
Step 4: prepare for the affirmation and implement the plan
Preparing the team
Here are some things you can do to prepare your team:
- Express your support for your employee and reinforce the public sector’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Send this guide to your team and ask them to read it.
- Ask your team to complete any LGBTIQ+ awareness and inclusion training available in your organisation that specifically covers trans, gender-diverse and non-binary people.
- Reinforce how your employee prefers your team to ask questions to colleagues – your employee doesn’t have to educate others on their gender affirmation.
- Be very clear with your team about what questions and comments they shouldn’t ask or make.
Supporting the employee’s affirmation
Your employee’s gender affirmation plan may have a set date for official changes in the workplace. Or they may or may not want to take a staged approach. Some employees may want it to happen very quickly.
Following the plan helps set the tone for a positive experience and helps manage the steps everyone needs to take to create a safe working environment.
All gender affirmations are different. Your employee may want to quietly get on with their day or celebrate it loudly.
Here are some ideas to help set a positive tone for your employee’s experience:
- Greet your employee using their affirmed name.
- Update your employee’s photo ID, network ID and email with their affirmed name.
- Replace your employee’s former name with their new name on things like signs, phone lists and notice boards.
- Start to gather a list of other locations, systems, and records management processes that will need your employee’s details changed when the time is right.
- With your employee’s consent, inform stakeholders, clients and working groups, committees and others of their affirmation.
Implementing the plan
Only implement what you’ve agreed to with your employee. Check-in with them regularly in case they’ve changed their mind on things you agreed to earlier.
If your employee consents, set a timeframe or process to do this.
Step 5: support and maintain a respectful environment
People may take time to adjust to your employee’s affirmed gender.
They may make mistakes, such as using the wrong pronouns or name. If it becomes a pattern, it could be a sign of discrimination, bullying or harassment.
This could include:
- deliberate and persistent use of the wrong name or pronouns
- excluding trans, gender-diverse and non-binary people from activities or projects
- making negative comments or asking inappropriate questions about trans, gender-diverse and non-binary people
- refusing to respect an employee’s gender identity, such as questioning their use of gendered facilities.
It can be deeply hurtful to use someone’s former name or pronouns and could be against the law.
If you suspect any behaviour like this, monitor and take action to address it in line with your organisation’s policies.
Employers have a positive duty to eliminate discrimination as far as possible.
Gender affirmation plan template
About the template
We’ve written this template as if you’re having a conversation with your employee as their manager. Unless otherwise stated, the questions are for you to ask your employee.
Use it to help plan and guide your conversation with them to create a gender affirmation plan.
These questions are a guide and what you use may vary from person to person and organisation to organisation.
Check with your people and culture or diversity teams if you want more advice.
How to use this template
Before you meet with your employee about this plan, send a copy to them. Gender affirmation is a process led by them and won’t always have a clear start or end.
This means your employee may not be ready to answer every question in this plan. Or even know how to answer every question. Your employee can pick what questions they’re ready to answer at any time.
Under each question, write a list of actions including a timeframe and who is responsible to implement them.
Ensure your employee knows they only need to disclose the information:
- they feel comfortable with
- which may be necessary to support their affirmation.
Before anyone implements actions in this plan, check with your employee if the plan is consistent with what you have agreed or if they want any changes.
If your employee agrees, set up a time to revisit the plan in case they want to make changes. Or let them know they can contact you at any time to make changes.
Privacy, security and secure storage
The affirmation plan is a confidential and sensitive document. You must handle all information in it to comply with all relevant privacy laws and your organisation’s policies.
Make sure you:
- save this document in a secure location, where only you and your employee can access it (or anyone else your employee consents to having access)
- place a ‘confidential’ watermark or header on it
- give your employee access to it or let them know where you’ve saved it.
Also ensure you’ve made your employee aware of the potential for third-party access to their information.
- Do you want a support person involved in discussions about this gender affirmation plan?
- If yes, who will this person be?
Anyone can provide them with support. Examples include a co-worker, a family member or friend, a union representative, or whoever they choose.
- Can we offer the support person any training that would be helpful?
- Who will support you in the workplace?
Examples may include your director, manager, a co-worker or the diversity and inclusion team.
- How often would you like to meet about your gender affirmation plan?
Presentation, name and pronouns
- If applicable, what is your affirmed name?
- What pronouns will you use?
- When will you start to use your affirmed name and pronouns?
- When do you want to present at work as your affirmed gender and what will this involve? You only need to disclose the information you feel comfortable with and which may be necessary to support your affirmation.
Team and stakeholder communication
If you choose to inform others of your gender affirmation:
- Would you like me to inform our team? If so, how and when will this happen?
- Would you like me to inform people outside of our team? If so, when and how would you like this happen?
- Would you like me to inform any external stakeholders? If so, when would you like this to happen?
- How would you like us to inform people if they call our place of work and ask after you by your former name?
- How would you like your gender affirmation acknowledged by the team?
Non-managers who use this guide
An employee can decide not to include their direct manager as part of their gender affirmation.
If an employee’s manager isn’t part of their gender affirmation, the manager needs to be informed before the employee tells their team:
- Who will inform your manager and when will this happen?
Corporate and IT systems
Corporate and IT system changes are complex.
Read our advice on the complexities of corporate and IT system changes so everyone understands what to expect.
If you choose to update your details:
- Do you plan to update your personal details with HR and any other relevant systems? If so, when do you plan on doing this?
- Do you need me to find out who we need to contact to make these updates? Do you want me to contact them?
- To try and ensure any irrelevant old information isn’t accidentally merged with your current profile in our IT systems – what other departments or agencies in the Victorian public sector have you worked at? Can you list out any old email addresses and names you have used in previous roles?
Education and awareness
- Are there any resources you would like us to make available to people who have questions about your gender affirmation?
- Are there any questions or topics about your gender affirmation that are acceptable or unacceptable to discuss with you?
- Are there any aspects you would prefer employees discuss with someone else? Would you like me to be that person?
- Would you like support in communicating your use of facilities to other employees? If yes, what would this support look like?
For employees who work at multiple sites
- Are there appropriate facilities for you to use at all sites you work at?
If there aren’t, work with your facilities team to look at options for your employee.
For non-binary people
- Are there appropriate all-gender facilities for you to use at the places you work?
If there aren’t appropriate facilities for your non-binary employee or they’re unsure, work with your facilities team to explore options.
Leave and flexible work arrangements
- Do you need any flexible work arrangements?
- Are you planning on taking any leave for your gender affirmation? If you’re from the Victorian Public Service and covered by the Victorian Public Service enterprise agreement, we need to check what entitlements you may be able to access.
- Are there any adjustments that could support your mental, emotional or physical safety?
- Would you like to access therapy or counselling support?
Advice for managers
If your employee would like to access wellbeing support, find out what is available in your organisation with your relevant teams.
Also see our list of resources and advice on gender affirmation.
Reporting unacceptable behaviour
- Who would be the best person for you to contact if there’s unwarranted and unacceptable behaviour?
Advice for managers
You need to be aware of what actions your organisation can take in response to unwarranted and unacceptable behaviour.
Resources and advice on gender affirmation
Workplace grievances and issues
If an employee has a workplace grievance or issue, it’s usually best they raise this with their manager or people and culture team first.
But your employee can also:
- follow your department’s internal complaints process
- speak with the Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, who can deal with complaints based on protected attributes under the Equal Opportunity Act
- speak with the Victorian Public Sector Pride Network for advice on where to go and who to consult
- speak with their union
- get more information from the Fair Work Commission.
Victorian Public Service enterprise agreement disputes
If the Victorian Public Service enterprise agreement covers your employee and they’re directly affected by a decision made or action taken due to clause 58 of the agreement, they may:
- apply for a review of actions under your employer’s review of actions policy
- use the resolution of disputes process in the agreement.
See more advice on this leave in the gender transition leave common policy.
Advice on language
For more on being an inclusive manager, read:
- the inclusive language guide
- why inclusive language matters as a manager
- 5 things to do to be an inclusive people manager.
Your organisation may have an employee-led network as part of the Victorian Public Sector Pride Network
Volunteers run this network but may be able to direct you to people or resources you can use.
Diversity or human resources advice
Always speak with your people and culture or diversity and inclusion teams for advice on:
- policies or processes specific to your organisation on gender affirmation
- support services your organisation offers for your employee or you.
Check if your organisation’s support services are equipped to provide advice on trans, gender-diverse and non-binary people. Some services don’t have expertise in this area.
These organisations can give you or your employee professional advice or wellbeing support on gender affirmation:
- confidential LGBTIQ helpline – call 1300 542 874 and inform the operator you’re an agency under the Department of Premier and Cabinet
- Transgender Victoria
- Gender Clinic – Monash Health
- National LGBTI Health Alliance
- Rainbow Door
- Switchboard Victoria
- The Trevor Project
- Thorne Harbour Health
Trans and gender-diverse healthcare providers
This is a sample of some healthcare providers who may be able to support your employee: