Being our whole authentic selves at work is not always easy. But being ourselves is also necessary for every one of us to contribute fully to our work and provide the variety of perspectives and life experiences that help Mozilla make great products. Our mission is to ensure the internet remains a global resource open and accessible to all, and by that, we do mean *everyone*. What better way to achieve this than by working with collaborators that represent the diversity of the world?
A few months ago, we started rolling out guidelines and policy to support people transitioning, their managers and colleagues. We worked with TransFocus, a consulting company that helps organizations be more inclusive of all genders, to identify what steps people may want to take to communicate their transition, available resources and recommendations. Transitioning is a major life event and going through such a change can be stressful. With people spending a lot of their time at work, employers can play a major role in helping people navigate the maze of paperwork and administrative steps and in ensuring a welcoming, respectful and inclusive culture.
“I’m an engineer – I work on security features for Firefox. I started transitioning at Mozilla at about the same time that the gender transition policy and guidelines were being implemented. The policy and guidelines have been helpful from a process point of view. It is comforting to have concrete answers to questions like “How do I change my name in all of these systems we have?”. More than that, though, it demonstrates to me that my employer is willing to invest in my wellbeing even though I belong to a group that is often ignored at best and actively attacked at worst. Knowing I can be my whole self at work is a huge relief. The transition process has gone well so far, all things considered. Everyone at Mozilla has been supportive and welcoming. The only real change I’ve noticed is that people use my new name and pronouns,” said a trans Mozillian.
“I’ve been at Mozilla for four years, and transitioned last year. Transition is a big change for anyone, and, for many trans folks, one that’s compounded by the challenges of navigating a world that doesn’t always understand or respect us. Mozilla’s gender transition policy meant I could show up at work every day as myself, and not have to pretend to be someone I wasn’t. I’m so much happier and healthier, and having the support of all my amazing coworkers here really made a difference! Tara worked with me to create a plan for handling logistics like name changes in all our different systems, and Rachel [Mozilla’s benefits manager] took the time to help me navigate our health and wellness benefits. I’m proud to work for an organization that shows up for trans folks with affirming policies and actions, and a culture that values inclusion,” said a trans Mozillian.
Colleagues want to be inclusive but they may not know how or are afraid to make mistakes. As part of our guidelines and policy roll-out, we set up optional information sessions open to anybody at Mozilla. The response has been very positive and the participation and engagement went beyond our expectations.
If you are considering designing gender transition guidelines and policy too, the HRC Workplace Gender Transition Guidelines and The Berkeley Lab Workplace Gender Transition Guidelines are great resources.
Mozilla is a signatory of the letter urging the United States Department of Health and Human Services to abandon a proposal to adopt binary gender definitions that would enable the rollback of protections for transgender, intersex, and gender non-binary people. Practices designed to invalidate the experiences and humanity of any individual should never be tolerated.