Q&A: Accepting transgendered veterinary team members

Learn how to respond to questions and complaints and make sure the whole veterinary team is on the same page.
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Nov 01, 2011
By dvm360.com staff

Q. A technician recently came out as transgendered, and he intends to transition on the job. Some team members are uncomfortable. How should we handle this situation?


Shawn McVey, MA,MSW
"The times are certainly changing and I appreciate your candor," says Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Shawn McVey, MA, MSW, CEO of McVey Management Solutions in Chicago. From a legal standpoint, McVey says, transgendered employees aren't a protected class of citizen, so technically you can do whatever you want to make your team comfortable.

"That said, from a moral standpoint, I believe there should be no judgment tolerated," McVey says. "The transitioning employee should be treated like anyone else on the team who has lost or gained weight, had plastic surgery, or gone through any other physical transition."

McVey suggests that you focus on the employee's behavior and attitude. "If his performance is great, then what's the issue?" McVey says. "Go back and reference your hospital's core values and use them as a guide for how to treat this employee."

It's also a good idea to develop a practice statement that you, this employee, and other veterinary team members can use as a basis for responding to any questions or complaints. That way, everyone will be on the same page and know what to say.

To download a sample statement to help the whole veterinary team feel at ease, head to http://dvm360.com/transgender.