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RCMP guide supports employees changing their lived gender identity

The RCMP's Guide to Supporting Transgender, Non-Binary and Two-Spirit Employees provides guidance for employees changing their lived gender identity at work and on how to promote a healthy workplace. Credit: Shutterstock


The RCMP has released a new guide to help employees navigate changing their lived gender identity in the workplace and to support an inclusive environment.

The RCMP Guide to Supporting Transgender, Non-Binary and Two-Spirit Employees was created in consultation with employees who have lived experiences to bring important topics to light.

"There was a need to raise awareness of key issues and to clarify processes for employees seeking to change their lived gender identity at work," says Sarah MacEachern, a senior policy analyst with the RCMP's Action, Innovation and Modernization group. "heard that some people with lived experiences were encountering similar challenges."

The guide was adapted from other Government of Canada guidelines to suit the RCMP. It covers topics such as the responsibilities of all employees, current terms and definitions, key issues for the workplace and steps to consider taking if one is changing their lived gender identity.

While changing one's lived gender identity is an individual experience, the guide provides advice for navigating the process in the workplace.

"The guide is a thorough document that I really wish I had four years ago," says Cpl. Colver Johns, a course co-ordinator with the RCMP's Pacific Regional Training Centre, who's lived experience helped develop the document. "The RCMP putting this guide out shows people that transitioning is accepted and they're here to help."

A portion of the guide includes sample plans outlining steps to consider when changing one's lived gender identity at work and sample emails to help when informing colleagues of any changes.

"Having an easily accessible source of knowledge for people will hopefully alleviate some stress by answering basic questions and allowing people to quickly deal with some of the issues they think are most important," says Cpl. Rielly Knock, a general duty officer at the Warman, Sask, detachment, who also helped shape the guide by sharing his lived experience.

Providing support

A transgender, non-binary and two-spirit peer support network was established alongside the guide. It provides a confidential way for employees to connect with someone who has experience changing their gender identity at work.

"It gives you access to people who can maybe answer questions that can't be answered in the guide," says Knock.

Changing one's lived gender identity can be stressful and connecting with someone who has a similar experience can help address any concerns.

"It's a great resource for people who may not have come out openly to anyone else," says Johns.

The network is also available for managers and supervisors who work with someone changing their lived gender identity and who may have questions about how to best support their colleague.

Allies and awareness

Another guide section focuses on the responsibilities of managers and supervisors when an employee is changing their gender identity and how all employees can be effective allies.

"Sometimes people can be afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing and end up doing nothing and that can be isolating," says Knock.

Insp. Holly Glassford, Operations Officer at the RCMP's Red Deer, Alta. detachment, is taking steps to make the detachment a more gender-inclusive space and credits the guide for helping provide knowledge and awareness throughout the process.

"It was important for me to understand how I could support an inclusive environment and healthy workplace," says Glassford.

Glassford referenced the guide to help communicate with employees and raise awareness at the detachment.

"The guide is detailed and even includes things such as signage suggestions for our washrooms and other facilities," says Glassford. "It's a great tool for me as a manager."

The guide is another way the RCMP is working to make itself a more inclusive organization, as part of its Vision150 modernization plan.

Recently, the organization established the Action, Innovation and Modernization group to oversee its modernization mandate, updated its Uniform and Dress Manual to be gender neutral and incorporated Gender-Based Analysis + into decision-making to ensure policies and practices are barrier-free.

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