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As diversity becomes less of a buzzword and more of a business imperative, more and more employers want to know how to support nonbinary or genderfluid employees. Read on for a clear guide to what being nonbinary is all about, what you can do, and your legal position.


What does it mean to be nonbinary?


The “gender binary” refers to the two genders you’ve definitely heard of: man and woman. But there have always been other genders. You may have heard terms like “third gender” or “two-spirit” (a Native American term). In recent years, the most popular term for someone who identifies as neither a man nor a woman is “nonbinary”.


Are nonbinary people transgender?


Technically, yes. If someone was identified as a boy or a girl at birth and then later came out as nonbinary, that’s a gender transition. But not all nonbinary people consider themselves trans.


Are nonbinary workers protected by the Equality Act 2010?


Yes. Note that the Act currently refers to “gender reassignment” as the protected characteristic, but in September 2020, the Employment Tribunal ruled that a nonbinary and genderfluid employee was covered by the legislation in the case of Taylor v Jaguar Land Rover Limited.


How can employers support nonbinary employees?


  • Update your written diversity and inclusion policies to include a trans and nonbinary inclusion policy, and make sure your bullying, harassment and grievance procedures will adequately protect them.


  • Offer all staff regular diversity and inclusion training. Ask nonbinary and other minority employees if they’d like to be involved, but don’t leave them to educate their colleagues. Provide additional training for new starters in managerial and supervisory roles.


  •  Assess and regularly review any practical barriers, like the need for gender-neutral toilets, showers or changing rooms. Sending your nonbinary staff to the disabled loo is not a great solution. If some of your staff wear uniforms, consider introducing a gender-neutral option.


Make sure that gender-neutral pronouns are an option for employees and that senior staff model support for such pronouns. Consider having all staff add their pronouns in their email signatures and on their business cards. This makes it much easier for nonbinary employees to say how they’d like to be addressed.

Posted by: Morgan Spencer