How to tackle a gender transition at work

In fact, just a year ago, the bank unveiled its “Diversidad Trans. Punto de encuentro”, which provides advice on facilitate and integrate employee gender transitions within the organization. Alice turned to Be Yourself for advice and found a whole new family: “Be Yourself provided me with advice on the internal process and administrative issues surrounding my transition. Most importantly, the group is a community of people who support each other. Both professionally and personally, you may share aspects of yourself that people outside the group might not understand in the same way. Alicia was assigned a mentor to guide her through the more bureaucratic part of the process, and she began to gain visibility in all areas.

“The process happened at the same time as I changed jobs within the bank, and I decided to present myself as I feel that I really amAlicia is now responsible for technical architecture in the Customer Solutions Engineering area and leads a team of 15 people. Both old and new colleagues welcomed the news more naturally than expected. “Everyone had a kind gesture.”

A corporate culture that promotes diversity

After going through the most emotional part of the journey, Alice changed her name in the internal directory, in her corporate email account, and in internal documents. Not in all, however. “The bank has procedures in place for a name change, but there are still government procedures and legal issues that require more time“, she said. The private sector has taken the lead in such situations, confirming its role as a commercial activist and opening a discussion for legislation to seek new solutions.

“I feel freer now, and that has a direct impact on my work”

This corporate activism BBVA chairs REDI, the business network for LGBTQ+ diversity and inclusion that already brings together nearly 200 Spanish companies. “We are genuinely committed to promoting diversity beyond the bank itself. This prompted us to chair REDI and to strengthen our active role in favor of the LGBTQ+ collective”, confirms Izaro Assa from Amilibia, Diversity Manager at BBVA and leader of Be Yourself. During the past year, the bank hosted the first meeting of the financial sector on LGBTQ+ diversitybringing together representatives of the EBA, the ECB and the main Spanish financial groups.

BBVA lays the foundations of its corporate culture on a strong purpose and clear values ​​and behaviors that promote diversity and inclusion. “Managing such projects requires a mature corporate culture and team management by trust-based leaders. Alicia’s experience shows that an open and inclusive culture respects an individual’s uniqueness and talent,” explained Ízaro. Alice’s story shows that it is necessary to continue to promote diversity by listening to employees, identifying the needs of underrepresented groups and taking steps to remove any biases or barriers.

Lose the fear of being yourself

Pride week is a time to celebrate successes, but also to remember that there is still a long way to go. The colors of the rainbow will once again light up BBVA’s headquarters around the world, where the bank continues to promote LGTBQ+ employee groups. After its success in Spain, Be Yourself continues its expansion in Latin America, where it is present in several countries. This year it opened a branch at BBVA Peru.

The bank is working to extend this type of protocol to corporate clients and introduce new measures for employees. For example, BBVA IT, the bank’s technology division, has launched a pilot project for unisex bathrooms, while BBVA Argentina is working with the Contratá Trans program to promote the professional inclusion of the trans community in the country.

Ízaro and Alicia are already leading examples for all bank employees. “I feel more free now, and this has a direct impact on my work“, Alicia said. Hiding her true identity exposed her to stress and anxiety. It meant she was unable to enjoy her work or fully accomplish her abilities.”The key is that hope must always overcome your fears. I learned that I am not alone. The efforts of others to make the invisible visible mark the minds and entire societies. All the gears eventually fit together so that I can be myself today: Alicia, a trans woman and a professional at BBVA”, she concluded.

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