Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Fortune Small Business Magazine on Transgender Workers

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | April 28, 2009 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: CNN, gender identity, gender transition, Jillian T. Weiss, transgender, transgender workplace diversity, transsexual

Fortune Small Business magazine put out an article on transgender workers today, available on the CNNMoney.com site. Entitled "When a staffer switches genders," the subtitle emphasizes tolerance and respect: "Coping with major changes can flummox a workplace, but you can protect your bottom line and your employees by promoting tolerance and respect."

The article features the story of Tony Ferraiolo, who transitioned from female to male while working at a small business. The theme here is that such transitions can work well, though there are some issues to be ironed out. Ferraiolo, incidentally, is the founder of the Jim Collins Foundation, which provides financial assistance to transgender people for gender-confirming surgeries.

The stories of several other trans people are also mentioned, the author discusses the evolution of discrimination law, and there is an interesting sidebar discussing the steps businesses should take regarding diversity. I have a curmudgeonly little quote at the end, grousing about the importance of workplace civility. I would have liked to see some more specifics discussed about the types of issues that employers face when employee transition, but there are plenty of resources out there, Overall, I think it is wonderful that there is another article in the mainstream business press. Eventually, these will reach enough members of the business community that this issue becomes a non-issue.

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I liked the good karma, customer loyalty, and better business. I don't generally read business journals, are there a number of published case studies that bear this out? I think they would make good activation tools.

It was an ok article. I'm an extremely close friend of Sarah Sands and was happy to see her wonderfully quoted in print.

I was a bit dissapointed that Fortune felt compelled to include the prior names of the people who transitioned. It adds an air of shock and gawk to the article.

How many people does the Jim Collins Foundation help usually? I'd never heard of them, but it's a fantastic sounding charity.

It's a fairly new organization, and I don't know much about it myself. My friend Dru is on the Board, I'll ask if he can chime in.