Transgender awareness in the workplace: Embracing being trendy

By Lenore MacAdam

Earlier this year, my firm’s LGBTQ Employee Resource Group launched a transgender awareness initiative. This series of posts is intended to talk about the journey and generate discussion about transgender awareness in corporate Canada.

I recently had an interaction about my firm’s transgender awareness committee with a colleague that went something like this…

  • Them: “Oh, I guess this is really trendy now that Caitlyn Jenner came out”
  • Me: “No, this is about raising awareness! And we started it a long time before she came out.”

*screeching sound of a conversation coming to a halt*

Well done Lenore!

My reaction was probably due to my perception that my colleague was poking fun at me. Or maybe it’s just that I don’t like reality shows. Whatever the reason, I clearly could have responded in a more open, productive manner. So I gave it some thought, and quickly came to a realization...what's wrong with being trendy?

Over the past couple years, Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black) and Caitlyn Jenner have generated worldwide, mainstream media attention to the transgender community. Whatever your opinion on their media personas, they offer a multitude of entry points to a conversation that didn’t previously exist. This gives us a great opportunity to turn the “issue du jour” into something beneficial.

So the next time someone accuses me of being trendy, even if they are poking fun at me, I hope I respond more along these lines:

  •  I agree! It’s raising a lot of awareness.
  • It’s great to hear people talking about it. What do you think of Caitlyn Jenner?
  • You’re absolutely right. What do you think about it?

Are your colleagues talking about Caitlyn Jenner or Laverne Cox? What kind of conversation is it generating? I’d love to hear from you!

Lenore MacAdam is a Policy Advisor with our Talent team. She can be reached at or via LinkedIn.


Lenore MacAdam
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