By Jonathon Van Maren
I saw a tweet last week that summed up June perfectly: “Pride Month taught me it was okay to be a corporation.” For the next couple of weeks, companies desperate to tap into the social capital and popularity of the LGBT movement will be slapping the rainbow on everything, as well as rolling out as many new LGBT-friendly polices as possible (regardless of how symbolic they are).
Exhibit A is a story in the Daily Mail about ANZ, a major Australian bank. ANZ has formally announced that it will be providing six weeks of “paid gender affirmation leave for transgender and gender-diverse employees” as they pursue “’any aspect’ of gender affirmation, whether it’s social, medical or legal.” These six weeks of paid leave will “encompass twelve weeks of unpaid leave and will be added on to the normal leave entitlements granted to workers.”
“Gender affirmation” is the term trans activists now use to describe “sex change” surgeries and drugs once they realized that “sex change” indicates that there is a sex to change, which contradicts their central premise. So “gender affirmation” it became, with the very phrase—now used by all media and politicians who know what’s good for them—supporting the central premise that people simply need nip and tuck and surgeries and pills so that they look on the outside what they feel on the inside.
ANZ is one of several companies—and the second of four major banks—to announce this policy (Westpac is giving four weeks of paid leave, meaning it is several weeks less pro-trans than ANZ). Staff can now take paid time off to get legal documents changed, or to get actual surgeries to remove breasts, genitals, or other inconvenient indicators of one’s sex. ANZ’s “Diversity and Inclusion Lead” Fiona MacDonald announced:
This is another example of ANZ’s ongoing commitment to the LGBTIQ+ community and creating an inclusive culture where our people feel a sense of belonging and comfortable to be their authentic selves. The six weeks of paid leave means people who are affirming their gender do not need to exhaust their annual or sick leave entitlements, while also easing some of the financial pressures. This is especially important as research shows that trans and gender diverse people are more likely to experience lower incomes and employment rates.