Gender Affirmation Guidelines

Support for transgender staff and their colleagues


UNSW is committed to fostering a work and learning environment in which every person feels safe, valued, and can be their full self. Being inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people is an important part of this approach and supports the UNSW 2025 Strategy: A Just Society goals.

The University recognises that within the LGBTIQ community, transgender people often face unique and complex challenges, and that a supportive work environment can play a central role in enhancing a staff member’s wellbeing.

Change often creates anxiety about the unknown, and as with all change, gender affirmation (sometimes referred to as a 'transition') can affect many people: the individual affirming their gender, supervisors, managers, colleagues, students and other people. In collaboration with transgender staff and the University community, UNSW has developed guidelines to address needs and issues that may arise when a person affirms their gender identity.

          

 

Transgender staff, other members of the LGBTIQ community and their colleagues can access further resources and support via the links below:

Guidelines for the staff member affirming their gender identity


Having the right support network in place can assist in your gender affirming journey in the workplace. Involving your supervisor and supportive colleagues can help ensure the gender affirmation process is a positive experience for you and all involved and should be the first step in the process.  
   
Getting started - developing a gender affirmation plan  

Key considerations:

  • Talk to your supervisor / manager and let them know that you plan to affirm your gender identity. They will be able to support you through the process.
  • Draw up a list on UNSW staff you may need to work with or contact during your gender affirmation.
  • When is the affirmation likely to occur? Map out the important dates during affirmation, such as your legal name change, medical appointments (if relevant) and other milestones.
  • Are there any specific issues that need to be address sooner rather than later?
  • Think about how you would like your team to find out about your affirmation - e.g. an email, face-to-face group meeting, individual discussions and / or have your manager explain.
 

Other important considerations:

  • Will you need to organise any changes to professional licenses, qualifications or accreditations?
  • Do any external parties need to be informed?
 
   

Guidelines for the staff member's support team


Supervisors: offer to assist the individual to develop their gender affirmation plan

 
Provide assurance  
  • Let the person know that you will support them through their affirmation journey.
  • Remind the person they are covered by existing University policies, including UNSW’s Equity and Diversity Policy Statement, as well as state and federal laws.
  • Assure the person that your conversation will be held in confidence to the maximum extent possible.
 
Inform yourself  
 
Offer assistance  
  • Ask for suggestions on what you can do to support them during their gender affirmation.
  • Ask if they wish to inform their supervisor and work colleagues themselves, or prefer that this be done for them.
  • Find out if the person is considering a name change and what you can do to assist.
  • Set expectations, talk about possible scenarios, misgendering, people making mistakes etc.
 

Educating fellow staff, students and clients

 
  • Knowledge and awareness are key to reducing the likelihood of misunderstanding and tension in the workplace, especially when individuals are transitioning or affirming their gender identity.
  • Staff (and students) can complete Ally training, a free program which UNSW runs to educate participants about a range of LGBTIQ matters including the issues and needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people, concepts such as homophobia and heterosexism, and the role and expectations of being an Ally.
 

Regardless of our personal views, we need to be respectful and inclusive with all colleagues in the workplace. Supporting transgender staff and being inclusive of people with diverse gender identities is no exception. The UNSW Code of Conduct sets out the University’s expectations of staff and affiliates with respect to their professional and personal conduct.

UNSW will not tolerate discrimination, bullying or harassment on any grounds. Appropriate action, up to and including dismissal, will be taken against staff who engage in such misconduct.

 

Change checklist


The following checklist is not exhaustive, but may be used as a guide to help reduce the likelihood of unexpected roadblocks. These changes need to happen over an agreed timeline, and as part of a gender affirmation plan.

     

Task description What to do / who to contact

Updating your preferred name in your human resources (HR) record

  • Logon to myUNSW > My Staff Profile > My Profile > Name Change > Edit Preferred Name.
Changing your primary name (legal name) in your HR record
  • In order to change your primary name in your HR record, you must first change your legal name with the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages or ACT Access Canberra. Once you have received your certificate, submit it to HR for review via myUNSW. Logon > My Staff Profile > My Profile > Name Change > Edit Primary Name > Attach documents.
Changing your gender marker in your HR record
  • You may wish to request this when changing your primary name. Currently, the three gender markers in UNSW HR records are Male / Female / Unknown. Contact your Faculty / Division HR Consultant for more information.
Changing your email address
Updating your Staff ID card
  • FM Assist administers all staff cards. The office is located on Level 2, Mathews Building (F23). Ph. 9385 5111 or FMAssist@unsw.edu.au.
Email distribution lists
  • Contact relevant person, if known; otherwise, contact UNSW IT (details above).
Email to staff requesting that they delete your former contact profiles or update existing one
  • Ask your supervisor / senior leader to email all staff in your Faculty / School / Division / Department. Discuss with your supervisor which group you want to receive the email.
Changing your name on desk / office door
  • Contact FM Assist (details above) and ask to speak to your Faculty / Division Client Facilities Manager.
Requesting new business cards
  • Ask your supervisor.
Changing logins - computer / additional systems
  • Self-service if possible, otherwise contact UNSW IT (details above).
Updating the UNSW Staff Directory
  • Logon to myUNSW > My Staff Profile > My Profile > Staff Directory.
Voicemail
  • Self-service: dial 58222 from your handset > enter security code (default = 1234) > dial 3 > dial 4. More information.
Team phone lists
  • Search your inbox to see who last sent you the list.
Organisation charts
  • Search your inbox to see who last sent you the chart.
Mailing lists
  • Contact relevant person, if known; otherwise, contact UNSW IT (details above).
Qualifications
  • Contact relevant institution / organisation. For UNSW qualifications contact Student Central on 9385 8500 or submit an online enquiry.
Superannuation / insurances policies
  • Contact your relevant insurance / superannuation provider. UniSuper is the industry fund for the tertiary sector. If you are with UniSuper, you can contact UNSW's on-campus UniSuper consultant.

Support resources


Employee Assistance Program (EAP)  
  • Staff can access a free confidential counselling service through the University's EAP. Learn more.
  • Supervisors / managers may also find it useful to use managerAssist, a confidential telephone advisory service for supervisors / managers dealing with situations that may be unfamiliar to them. The managerAssist program is delivered by UNSW’s EAP provider, Davidson Trahaire Corpsych.
 
Support at UNSW  
If you are a staff member or supervisor / colleague of a staff member affirming their gender in the workplace, you can contact Workplace Diversity for support and advice.