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How gender expression can impact earning potential

On Behalf of | Feb 12, 2023 | Discrimination And Harassment, Employment Law - Employee

California has a reputation as being a state full of positive-minded free spirits, but this isn’t always the case. Many of the biases that exist in American society also are also prevalent in the Golden State and there are many risks for transgender individuals who might decide to change their gender expression at work.

Difficulties with employment

Even workplaces that have antidiscrimination policies may not be the safest place for transgender employees. About half of trans people have reported being unfairly fired or denied employment opportunities altogether – and about 75% say that they’ve faced harassment in the workplace.

In addition, transgender people are more likely to suffer from other factors that can make finding stable employment hard. Individuals that faced homelessness after coming out as teenagers will have more difficulty finding a job – then getting to and from that job – than cisgender individuals.

Wage disparities between transgender and cisgender individuals

Transmen – people assigned female at birth then transitioned to male – experienced a bump in pay after they transitioned. They also might see the same benefits as their cisgender male coworkers in the workplace.

Transwomen on the other hand – people who were assigned male at birth and then transitioned to female – have the opposite experience. They reported losing about a third of their pay and being discriminated against more often as a woman than as a man.

It’s important to note that the above reports were all done after the individual’s transition was in momentum. While transitioning can be an ongoing process, the first year or two are oftentimes the hardest and where trans people will see the most discrimination.

Workplace protections

In 2020, a law was passed prohibiting employers from discriminating against transgender individuals and was supported by an executive order in 2021. Workplace discrimination for any reason – based on race, gender expression, sexuality, etc. – should be taken seriously and reported as soon as possible.