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Lizzy Claerhout

Izzy Claerhout (She/Her) co-founded Recruitment Architects and is a transgender woman, identifying lesbian.

Who is considered LGBTQIA+

550 Million People worldwide are part of the LGBTQIA+ community. 83% hide their sexual orientation.


  • Lesbian – identify as female and are emotionally or sexually attracted to females e.g. Ellen Degeneres, Comedian, TV Host
  • Gay – Identify as male and are emotionally or sexually attracted to other males e.g. Pete Buttigieg, US Secretary of Transportation
  • Bisexual – Can be attracted to either male and/or female identifying people e.g. Drew Barrymore, Actress, Producer
  • Transgender – Don’t fully identify as their assigned gender at birth e.g. Petra De Sutter, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister
  • Queer – Doesn’t fall within the heterosexual definition of sexuality and gender. “Q” may also stand for “Questioning”.
  • Intersex – Do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies 2 e.g. Olivia Rose Smith (A), Fashion Designer
  • Asexual – Experience no sexual feelings or desires e.g. Pidgeon Pagonis (I), Writer, Artist
  • + Everyone else eg. pansexual, demigirls, demiboys

Additional Nomenclature

  • Cis: Identifying with the gender that is assigned at birth
  • Straight: Feeling attraction exclusively to members of the ‘opposite’ sex
  • Non binary: Do not identify within male or female gender norms
  • Gender euphoria: Feeling of being “right” in your gender
  • Gender dysphoria: Feeling a clash between one’s biological sex and gender identity
  • Gender Confirmation Surgery: Surgery allowing one to feel more at peace with their body
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Receiving the hormones of their identified gender
  • AMAB: Assigned Male At Birth. MTF: Male-to-female → AMAB person transitioning to female
  • AFAB: Assigned Female At Birth. FTM: Female-to-male → AFAB person transitioning to male

Progress Pride

The well known 6 colored rainbow (or pride) flag dates back to 1978 and has evolved to “progress pride”. The Progressive Pride flag is inclusive of the Intersex community. It highlights the devastating history of “correction” surgery committed against intersex people at birth.




The top 3 challenges they face and their Solutions

Challenge 1 is Education.

We are barely educated when it comes to trans people and their issues. As a solution, take this training and others too! Once you do this, focus on the job and leave someone’s gender and/or sexual identity out of the interview process.

Challenge 2 is work life is only fit for straight people.

Employees are often assumed to be straight. Often, LGBTQIA+ employees don’t dare discuss their families in conversations or display family pictures in their office. To solve this, make employee onboarding more inclusive. As an employer, use gender neutral communication and things like: “you are welcome to bring your partner to the event”.

Challenge 3 is that Trans people are often misgendered.

They apply under their official name because they don’t want to “lie” and end up being completely misrepresented in the mind of the speaker. As a solution: Ask for pronouns. Try this: “Hi, my name is Izzy and my pronouns are she/her. Who are you?” This will create an atmosphere where anyone can feel free to be and express themselves.





What are Some Virtues of LGBTQIA+ people?

Research shows that employees who work in inclusive workplaces report greater job satisfaction, regardless of their sexual orientation.

LGBTQ employees tend to be healthier, more productive and have better relationships with other employees.

Women are 73% more likely than men to be seriously injured in a car crash. This is because cars are (mainly) built by men and crash test dummies represent Assigned Male At Birth (AMAB) bodies. LGBTQIA+ people inherently challenge gender stereotypes and norms, shedding a more unique and diverse light on all design – be it product or service.





How Do I Create an Inclusive Interview Process?

In the Job Ad
– Consider adding M/F/X to the end of your job title in the ads.
– Avoid using gendered pronouns. Try using they/them instead of “he” or “she” in your text.
– Include your company’s commitment to DEI at the vacancy. Don’t forget to add gender and sexuality diversity to this :-).

During the Interview
Less is more: There is a time and place for everything. A job interview is not the time, nor the place for discussing someone’s gender or sexual identity. Stay on topic and do not enquire about it.
But be open: You could ask open questions like: “how can we support you to feel more welcome in our company?” if you feel like you want to offer someone the possibility to talk about it themselves.





What Reasonable Accommodations May They Need?

Gender neutral bathrooms & dressing rooms: This is especially useful for non binary people or trans people before gender confirmation surgery.

During a transition: Accommodating a transitioning employee can appear challenging. Our best tip is to look at this journey, the same way as a pregnancy: In the beginning months of HRT, a trans person may experience hormonal imbalances. A trans employee may be absent from work for some weeks if they choose surgical intervention to align their body better with their identified gender.





I hired the candidate. How do I onboard them?

Use gender neutral communication. It’s a general rule, really. Try to use gender neutral communication everywhere: in your job ads, onboarding documentation, internal/external communication, …

Add a Preferred name option in your HRIT system. Make sure your HRIT system has an option to include a preferred name or nickname, allowing for this person to be addressed in their desired name before any legal name changes would be available to them. Do the same for pronouns.

Create a culture of pronouns. Create a culture in which asking for pronouns is considered to be thoughtful. Adding pronouns behind the names of employees on team pages is also a best practice example.





What are Best Practices when an Employee Chooses to Come Out?

Be respectful and enthusiastic: It’s a major, and scary, step for someone to stand up and openly lead their true life. It is something that is supposed to be celebrated and welcomed. This will validate your employee and make them feel safe and welcome as their true self.

Follow their pace: A lot of people may choose a phased coming out. Informing leadership and their close colleagues first. Remember that it’s important to let them set the pace. Don’t disclose this information to others, unless you have received consent for this.

General communication: When a trans person transitions, their name and pronouns will change. Consider a less is more approach here. Send out the same mail you would as when a co-worker got a baby: congratulate the employee and inform the others of their new name and pronouns.




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