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Frequently Asked Questions

What is transgender?
Why should my organization be concerned about transgender in the workplace?
What are the benefits of transgender acceptance? In other words, what's in it for my organization?
What professional business services does Vanessa Sheridan offer?
What are Vanessa Sheridan's fees for her professional services?
Why should I contract with Vanessa Sheridan to introduce transgender issues to my organization?
What books has Vanessa Sheridan written?
I'd like to know more. How can I contact Vanessa Sheridan?

What is transgender?

"Transgender" is a remarkably fluid and often misunderstood term covering a wide range of ideas relating to gender and its varied expressions.

Please understand: we're not talking about sex here--that is a completely different topic, although many people tend to confuse sex and gender. Sex is basically about our bodies--chromosomes, body types, genitalia, sexual acts and orientations, etc. Sex is usually about the physical in some way. Gender, on the other hand, is a cognitive social construct dealing with our notions of how we exist and function in the world, e.g., the ways in which we think, act, dress, move, speak, interact with others, etc.

"Transgender" is a word that can loosely be applied to any person who crosses or blurs the lines of gender that our culture has established as statistically normative. Most people dress, act and/or present themselves in ways that are socially accepted as appropriate for our social concepts of masculinity or femininity. Transgender persons, however, have an internal understanding of themselves that's different--not wrong, sick or evil, only different. That internal awareness simply won't allow the transperson to fit easily into the neat, tidy little boxes of socially approved gender identification or presentation.

The umbrella term "transgender" may include (but is certainly not limited to) pre- and post-operative transsexuals, crossdressers, intersexuals, drag queens and kings, androgynous persons, Two-Spirit people (who are usually, but not always, Native American and/or indigenous persons), bi-gendered persons, multi-gendered individuals, and many other manifestations of gender variance that exist within the human condition.

As we can see, transgender is a big word that covers a lot of territory, with much of it difficult to categorize. However, it's important to remember that we're still talking about people--human beings who want to work for a living. As such, transgender individuals deserve respect, dignity and acceptance at work just like anyone else.

Why should my organization be concerned about transgender in the workplace?

Glad you asked. Here's the answer in a nutshell: it's sound business practice to create organizational cultures where every worker, regardless of gender identity or expression, is respected, affirmed, protected and liberated to do their best work.

Today, increasing numbers of organizations are understanding and accepting of transgender workers. It's a social development that's on the rise. Additionally, "Corporations and lawmakers are expanding protections against sexual harassment and discrimination to cover transsexuals, crossdressers and others who fall outside the traditional notions of gender identity," writes Daniel Sorid of Reuters News.

Ford Motor Company's Vice Chairman Allan Gilmour has said, "If corporate America wants the best employees, who produce the best products and services for the wide-ranging tastes and backgrounds of its consumers, then it is smart to attract all types of good employees into its organizations."

The growing transgender workplace initiative is a natural progression from the protections for women and gays against harassment. "Gender identity and expression was the next step," says Maria Campbell, director of diversity at Racine, Wisconsin's SC Johnson & Son.

What are the benefits of transgender acceptance? In other words, what's in it for my organization?

Here's a representative sample of benefits (in no particular order), though there are many additional reasons to respect and accept transgender workers:

  • Creating a more just, fair and values-based work environment
  • Developing a stronger ability to recruit and retain the best and the brightest
  • Encouraging a happier, healthier, more well-adjusted and better-informed workforce
  • Enhancing workplace creativity and innovation
  • Developing a clearer understanding of the organization's commitment to equality for every associate
  • Fostering better teamwork and trust building, leading to stronger employee morale
  • Recognizing the human value embodied in various forms of diversity, especially in the little-understood areas of gender orientation, identity and expression
  • Creating powerful opportunities for conversations about meaningful gender-related issues as those issues impact your organization and customer base
  • Improving internal branding
  • Enhancing PR and generating more widespread public recognition as a forward-thinking, just and humane organization
  • Generating a greater ability to adapt to change in its many forms
  • Developing an organizational culture where every person--associates, management, customers, stockholders and vendors--is respected for their contributions and innate human value
  • Greatly decreasing the potential for legal liability and/or costly transgender discrimination litigation
  • Increasing productivity, primarily due to increased personal freedom of expression
  • Strengthening profitability due to a more empowered and productive organizational culture
What professional business services does Vanessa Sheridan offer?

Information about Vanessa's various professional services can be found on the Services page.

What are Vanessa Sheridan's fees for her professional services?

Vanessa is the leading expert in her field and a nationally recognized authority on transgender issues. Like any professional specialist, she expects to be fairly compensated for her knowledge, expertise, energy, time and expenses.

Because Vanessa tailors her professional business services to fit each client individually, her fees are negotiated separately with each organization. Fees and expenses are based upon the type of specialized services required and the amount of time to be invested in helping your organization.

Why should I contract with Vanessa Sheridan to introduce transgender issues to my organization?

The power of a business idea is the trust it inspires in people. Vanessa Sheridan is in the business of sharing important ideas that will inspire trust in your people.

She is experienced and knowledgeable, a consummate professional, recognized as the nation's leading specialist on transgender in the workplace, and committed to producing value for your organization.

Vanessa understands that you are the expert on your particular organization--that's why she will work closely with you to determine how to best define and meet your organizational needs.

What books has Vanessa Sheridan written?

Vanessa is a nationally honored author on transgender issues. Information about Vanessa's books can be found the Books page.

I'd like to know more. How can I contact Vanessa Sheridan?

Don't wait - the longer you delay, the more cultural ground you lose in the struggle to remain current in the marketplace.

Contact Vanessa Sheridan today and discover how learning about transgender in the workplace can benefit your organization in ways you never imagined.

 

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