In 2022, at the international conference, the newest WP Community, Trans+@WP, was impressively presented to the Workplace Pride members. It took some time to define the name of this community, as complicated choices had to be made. Defining what Trans+ stands for was, therefore, the first important task of this community. In order to correctly highlight this community, it is essential to summarise the discussion. “The name Trans+ is linked to Transgender. Transgender can mean people who are transitioning (typically a binary perspective, MTF – male to female – or FTM), or can mean the umbrella term covering everyone who identifies as non-cisgender. To distinguish that the community is for the latter (and their allies), we added the + and included the umbrella in the logo. Sometimes, the identifiers AFAB/AMAB (assigned female/male at birth) are also used by various transgender, non-binary and intersex people. However, these terms are not identities in and by itself. For example, calling a transman “AFAB” erases his identity as a man. Instead, use a person’s requested pronouns and self-description”.
“Trans+ would very much like to create awareness by supporting and empowering and making visible the voices of trans, non-binary and non-cisgender professionals in and beyond the workplace.”
Mission/Vision of Trans+@WP
- Empowerment: empowering the community by becoming an integral part of every level in the WP organization. Via a committed WP board the Trans+@WP community will become visible to all stakeholders and events. As a community we will step in the spotlight so others don’t need to.
- Workplace awareness: supporting companies in their effort in increasing trans+ awareness. Trans+@WP does this by providing feedback driven by the WP benchmark and be available as a sparring partner.
- Community building: within WP we aim to build a network of trans, non-binary and any non-cisgender professionals to get to know and enable talent in each other.
- Grow the network of trans+ professionals within, and outside, members of WP.
- Build up experience and knowledge within the WP employees to answer or redirect questions about the trans+ community.
- Organise events with and for WP members and support WP in creating a balanced set of events throughout the year, including trans+ discussion points.
- Trans+ to be visible during the main WP events (international conference, local conferences, and gala).
Sophie Jeckmans leads the way
“I transitioned towards the end of 2017, and at the time I just wanted to live my life, and to just be. However, I noticed that people were touched by my story, and I could enrich their lives.
At the end of 2019, Rainbow Lions (ING) were looking for a new board member, preferably a woman and/or a transgender colleague. Lucky for them, I matched both criteria. Quickly thereafter, there was a request from WP to host a webinar together with ING. I together with Maxim Buise from Aegon, shared our coming-out stories. That got the ball rolling with Workplace Pride on the Trans+ community, as we saw that gender identity needed a specific voice as well. In the meanwhile, I was out and proud at ING and it is the best feeling is hearing when I hear that someone is so empowered by my story that they can open that door and step out of the closet themselves. I once was asked “isn’t it ironic to stand in the spotlight, in order not to stand in the spotlight?” Yes, it is, but if I stand in the (literal) spotlight, at least one other doesn’t need to. That makes it worth it. Now I would dare starting to call me a trans activist.“
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