All people, irrespective of sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics, are entitled to enjoy international human rights protections, including rights of security of the person and privacy, the right to be free from discrimination, and the right to equality before the law. Each individual’s self-defined gender identity is one of the most basic aspects of internationally recognized rights to self-determination, dignity and freedom of expression.
Transgender individuals span a large variety of gender expressions and identities – they may be transsexual, cross-dress, identify as a third gender or outside of the man/woman binary, or their appearance or characteristics may be perceived as gender atypical. They may have a sense of their own gender different to the sex that they were assigned at birth. Intersex individuals are born with physical or biological sex characteristics (including genitals, gonads and chromosome patterns) that do not fit binary notions of male or female bodies.
Both transgender and intersex people regularly face discrimination in the employment context. Provision of suitable bathroom and other facilities is an important way in which businesses can promote non-discrimination of transgender and intersex individuals. All workplaces should ensure the work environment accords respect to the gender identity and/or sex characteristics and the needs of all individuals. The provision of suitable bathroom facilities engages the right to sanitation, the right to health, and the right to be free from discrimination based on sexual characteristics.
To ensure that transgender or intersex employees are treated with dignity and respect, businesses should educate management and employees around gender and sex sensitivities, providing them with accurate training and information about sexuality, gender identity and sex characteristics.