Transgender Awareness Week: Raising awareness of the struggles faced by transgender people

Transgender Awareness Week


At Porterhouse, we are proud to support Transgender Awareness Week, which runs from 13 to 19 November and ends with Transgender Day of Remembrance on 20 November. The aim of Transgender Awareness Week is to raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people and to educate people on the prejudice, discrimination and violence that these individuals face [1].

To help raise awareness, in this article we look at some of the issues the trans community experience, history relating to transgender advocacy, what employers can do to promote gender inclusivity, and finally a small but important step that we have taken at Porterhouse.

Some of the issues and history

Over the years, trans people have faced some heartbreaking situations, including rejection by friends and family, and discrimination in education, the workplace and other areas of life. Our healthcare systems are still complicated for trans people to navigate, and it can be difficult for them to gain access to hormones and surgery [2]. Additionally, the system of legal gender recognition is often extremely bureaucratic and expensive [2], and trans people often live in poverty (with this rate being even higher for trans people of colour) and experience violence more often than the average individual [3].

As shown by GLAAD in a 2012 blog post, the history of transgender activism and visibility is varied and rich; for example, in 1972 Sweden became the first country to legalise gender reassignment, the first Transgender Day of Remembrance was observed in 1999, and 2012 saw the Miss Universe competition opened to trans contestants [4].

What employers can do to promote gender identity equality

There are several ways in which employers can promote gender identity equality, such as by [5]:

  • Referring to gender identity in company policies (e.g. equal opportunity, recruitment and anti-bullying policies)
  • Including information on gender identity equality in all induction and training events/documents for employees
  • Giving due regard for equality (including gender identity) in all functions
  • Taking active steps to prevent discrimination and harassment, regardless of whether they believe they have trans and/or non-binary staff
  • Providing support for employees who require hospital appointments and medical procedures associated with gender reassignment, and establishing policies for cases where their name and/or gender on record is altered

Gender inclusivity at Porterhouse

As a global healthcare communications agency group, our overall mission at Porterhouse is to improve people’s lives. This applies not only in the work that we do to improve patient outcomes for our clients but also in the sense of purpose that all members of the Porterhouse family share and the close bonds we form with our colleagues and clients, no matter their background or location. We also believe we are much better placed to understand the diversity of patients and improve their outcomes if we reflect their variety internally.

We are taking a number of steps to ensure that we provide a diverse and inclusive environment for clients and colleagues alike. One of these small but important steps towards inclusivity is encouraging staff include their pronouns in their email signature, which is a way in which we can show our support for trans, non-binary and intersex colleagues across the pharmaceutical and medical communications industry. We hope this practice will help minimise misgendering and let people feel that they belong, regardless of how they identify.

If you would like any additional information about Transgender Awareness Week, details can be found at



  1. GLAAD. Transgender Awareness Week. Available at: Accessed November 2020.
  2. Stonewall. Trans Day of Visibility 2020. Available at: Accessed November 2020.
  3. Human Rights Campaign. Understanding the Transgender Community. Available at: Accessed November 2020.
  4. GLAAD. Timeline: A look back at the history of transgender visibility. Available at: Accessed November 2020.
  5. University and College Union. Trans awareness week. Available at: Accessed November 2020.