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Transgender policy

Last reviewed on 08 May 2019

Here at the Co-op we want all our colleagues to feel included, so that everyone can add value and fulfil their potential without fear of discrimination. This includes colleagues whose gender identity doesn’t match the gender they were assigned at birth and who may identify themselves as transgender (or “trans”), and also those who don’t identify with being either male or female (“non-binary”) This policy outlines how we’ll support our trans and non-binary colleagues.

Crucial bits

Our commitments

We’re committed to taking all reasonable steps to make sure that we:

  • Work in a way that we treat all of our colleagues as individuals, without needing to reference their gender identity where this isn’t necessary
  • Support any colleagues in relation to their gender identity, including transitioning at work
  • Help all our colleagues to be more aware about gender identity issues – see the Trans Awareness Training on the Intranet
  • Treat any issues of bullying and harassment in relation to gender identity issues seriously – see our Bullying and Harassment / Respect Policy for more information

Telling us

We know it can be a difficult step to tell people that you’re planning to transition – or are already in the process of transitioning if you’ve recently joined the Co-op. But we encourage you to talk to your manager openly about the situation as early as you can, so they can give you the support you need. They’ll listen to any concerns you might have and handle the situation in a supportive and sensitive way.

If you have more than one Co-op job, you may want to talk to just one of your managers, or share different levels of information with different managers – it’s up to you to decide what you feel comfortable with.

If you feel like you can’t talk to your manager or that you need additional support, then get in touch with the Diversity and Inclusion Team by emailing and they’ll provide you with help and guidance.

If you tell us about your trans status, we’ll never disclose this to anyone unless you say it’s okay to do so or you ask us to.

Just so it’s clear, if anyone outs a colleague as transgender without their permission or spreads rumours or gossip about someone’s gender, we’ll deal with this matter under the Bullying and Harassment Policy.  

Personal data

If you want to change your name or remove or change your title (Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms) from our records, you don’t need a Gender Recognition Certificate to do this. If you want to amend your record, you can make these changes yourself in MyHR. Although we know it might not be easy for you to legally change your gender, if you don’t we’ll need to keep some of your records – such as National Insurance and pensions – as your gender identity at birth. We’ll keep this information confidential though.

If you do change your legal gender identity, we’ll update all the personal data we have about you and make sure this is kept strictly confidential. As well as your personnel record, this includes payroll, National Insurance and pension data. So we can make these changes, you’ll need to give your manager a copy of your amended birth certificate or Gender Recognition Certificate. Managers should send this document to HR Services ( – either by post by recorded delivery or by email.

Gender reassignment surgery

If you decide to undergo gender reassignment surgery, then we’ll support you through this. We’ll give you a reasonable amount of paid time off work for appointments to do with the transition process – so talk to your manager and agree the time you need. We’ll treat this separately to time off for sickness absence. There’s more information in the Dental and Medical Appointments Policy.

We’ll also support you when you return to work after surgery – again talk to your manager about your needs.

If you have more than one Co-op job, usually the manager of your primary role (the one with most hours) will take the lead on supporting you through the reassignment process. However, if you would prefer to deal with a different manager about things, just let them know. You can contact the Diversity and Inclusion Team for guidance.

Things to think about


We know that for people who identify as transgender or non-binary, knowing which toilet to use can be a tricky situation. To help, we’ll use symbols rather than words to identify our toilets, and have gender neutral facilities wherever this is possible.

If the toilets where you work are gender specific, you should use the ones appropriate to the gender you identify as. We’ll never expect you or ask you to use the disabled toilets instead.

Transitioning at work

Transitioning is the process that many trans people undergo to align their life and/or physical identity to match their gender identity. If you’re transitioning, we’ll do what we can to support you in making your transition at work as smooth as possible.  

Develop an action plan

Your manager will agree an action plan with you, detailing all the steps that need to be taken before, during and after your transition. It’s good to meet with your manager regularly to discuss your action plan and how things are progressing. So agree a date with your manager for a follow-up meeting and then try to have regular catch-ups with them.


If you work in an area of our business that has a uniform, you should discuss with your manager whether you’ll need any new items ordering for you. You should agree when you want to start using your new name, and they’ll make sure your new name badge is ready for you.

Short-term or permanent job changes

If you feel that any changes are needed to your job or working conditions, either in the short-term as you go through the transitioning process or in the long-term, we’ll do our best to accommodate these changes – so talk to your manager to see what can be agreed.

Telling other people

We know that you might not want to tell anyone other than your manager at the early stages, and that’s okay. But when you’re developing your action plan with your manager, talk to them about who will need to be told further down the line – such as colleagues, managers, external contacts/suppliers – and how, when and what you’re happy for them to be told and who will tell them.

If you need further support

In Appendix 1 there’s a list of key words or terms which are often used in gender identity issues, to help everyone to understand things.

If you need support with workplace transgender issues, please speak to your manager or contact the Diversity and Inclusion Team –

You may need additional support, so remember we have an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) who can help. You can contact the EAP in confidence on 0800 069 8854.

If managers need advice they should contact ER Services at There’s also some useful information for managers on the Diversity pages of the Intranet, including a Guide to Recruiting Transgender Employees.

Appendix 1 - Definitions

We know that sometimes the language around trans or gender identity issues can be confusing for people, and you might not know the right words to say or be worried about saying the wrong thing and upsetting someone. We’ve put some of the key words or terms that could be used in trans issues below, so you can become more familiar with them. Remember that not everyone identifies with one of these terms and its best not to pigeonhole people.

Gender dysphoria or gender identity disorder (clinical terms) A person with gender dysphoria can experience anxiety, uncertainty, or uncomfortable feelings about the gender they were born with. They may feel that they have a gender identity that is different from their biological sex.

Gender identity
When we think of ourselves as male or female, it’s called gender identity. Everyone has a gender identity - the inborn sense of ourselves as being male or female or somewhere on the spectrum between male and female. For the majority of people, their gender identity matches their birth sex, but those who are trans or non-binary this can feel different to their physical appearance.

Gender reassignment People who decide to live their life in the opposite gender to the one assigned at birth could be described as reassigning their gender.

Gender Recognition Certificate
The Gender Recognition Act (2004) allows trans people over 18 to change their legal identity as male or female. The Act gives trans people the right to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate so they can get a new birth certificate in their acquired gender. This gives them recognition of their acquired sex in law for all purposes, including marriage.

Gender role
This is the expression of the individual’s gender identity e.g. a man registered at birth as male, is likely to live and act in a way that society would traditionally associate with being a man.

Gender variant, gender neutral, gender queer, gender fluid, non-binary
These are terms that some trans people may identify with or use to describe themselves when they don’t identify with being part of the gender binary. That means they don’t see gender as just being male or female.

An umbrella term sometimes used to describe those whose gender identity differs from that attributed to them at birth, e.g. those who identify as gender variant, gender neutral, gender queer or transsexual.

A transsexual is someone who wants to live and be accepted as a member of the opposite sex. They may wish to have hormonal treatment and surgery to make their body as similar as possible to their preferred sex. Transsexual people will often seek to undergo gender reassignment surgery, but they don’t have to do this to be a transsexual person.

Trans (person), Trans man, Trans woman
A generic term sometimes used by those who identify themselves as transgender.

This is the process of changing gender role.

Other sources of support

Respect Network – The Co-op’s LGBT colleague network can offer support, information and social activities.

Stonewall is a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights charity in the United Kingdom.

LGBT Foundation - contains information for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities.

Scottish Transgender Alliance works to improve gender identity and gender reassignment equality, rights and inclusion in Scotland.

Transgender Wales

Transgender Northern Ireland

The Gender Trust - supporting all those affected by gender identity issues.

Northern Concord is a Manchester based cross dressers, transgendered and transsexual support and social group.

TransLondon is a discussion/support group for all members of the trans community, whatever their gender identity (or identities).