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What To Do When Your Gender Identity Isn’t Accepted at Work




In striving to create a fairer world where people feel free to be themselves, there will always be obstacles. The simple truth is that people get stuck in one mindset. This is often passed onto children, and you get people of all ages adhering to ideas and principles that are no longer valid.

Gender identity is the perfect example of this.

The Law & Gender Identity

You may be surprised to learn that the Sex Discrimination Act of 1984 makes it illegal to discriminate against someone due to their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and even their intersex status. This law protects you in the workplace, educational centers, accommodation, and anywhere you can access or use a service.

In short, it’s illegal to discriminate against you because of your gender identity. Failing to accept your gender identity is the same as discriminating against it.

Of course, you’re probably used to people taking time to catch up with your gender identity. As such, you’re likely to have a little patience with employers and co-workers. But this should be short-term. In the long term, your employer needs to accept your gender identity.

Here’s what You Can Do

Talk To HR

If your company has an HR department then this is the best place to start. Simply tell them that you are feeling discriminated against due to your gender identity. Stress that you enjoy working for the company but can’t see a future for you if this continues.

A good HR department will immediately recognize the issues for the business and take steps to rectify the issue. You may not see the steps being taken but you should notice the difference.

Make A Formal Complaint

If you don’t notice a difference within a couple of weeks, follow up with HR and give them a formal complaint. This makes sure the issue is recorded and helps set you up for the next stage.

Use The AHRC

The AHRC is the Australian Human Rights Commission. You can make a complaint directly to them, although it is advisable to speak to a specialist unfair dismissal employment lawyer first. They will guide you through the process and ensure everything is recorded properly.

You have 12 months from the date of the events. They can then look at the complaint and may organize a mediation session. This will hopefully resolve the issue.


In some cases, you’ll feel there is no option but to quit or you’ll be fired. If this is the case, then your employment lawyer will help you file a claim with the Fair Work Commission. It should be lodged with the court within 21 days of dismissal.

The FWC will decide if a reconciliation meeting will help or if the case needs to be transferred to federal court. They have the power to reinstate your job, impose heavy fines, and award compensation.

It can be stressful completing the process, but it is making it easier for people to be accepted in the future for what they are.




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