Making a difference by supporting transgender and gender diverse persons at CSE

Today on International Transgender Day of Visibility, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) is proud to announce the release of its Supporting transgender and gender diverse persons at the Communications Security Establishment guide.

This guide was created to support anyone at CSE who is transgender or gender diverse as well as their colleagues, managers, and allies. It demonstrates CSE’s commitment to helping employees navigate their gender expression and identity in the workplace.

It was written in collaboration and with CSE’s 2SLGBTQIA+ community, transgender and non-binary employees and allies, CSE’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Secretariat, CSE’s Employment Equity and Human Resources teams, and external advocacy groups to craft a document that is not only forward thinking but support driven.

The guide reflects an inclusive and welcoming approach to the workplace, and supports CSE’s goal of fostering an inspired workforce as outlined in CSE 2025.

“We need to show through concrete actions that we don’t just talk about equity, diversity, and inclusion, but that we practice it,” said Artur Wilczynski, CSE’s Assistant Deputy Minister and Senior Advisor for People, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

Who is this guide for?

This guide is for transgender and gender diverse persons who face challenges in the workplace, whether they are coming out at the workplace or are just now joining CSE as members of the transgender and gender diverse community. It is also for colleagues and managers who may not know how they can be effective allies.

Topics covered in the guide include:

  • What to do and where to go for support if you experience gender presentation or identity related harassment while at work.
  • What can be expected from management and colleagues, including ensuring a safe and respectful working environment.
  • Information on all-gender washrooms facilities.
  • Guidance on using accurately gendered language for all employees.

CSE employees had this to say about the guide:

"Being an older transgender individual going through my transition, I needed to know how I would be accepted by both management and all CSE staff. Having a guide is a sort of insurance policy that would protect me from any possible negative reactions or hate that could be directed to me. It’s not just for me. It’s for all the younger people coming after me.” – Toni, CSE Employee

"This is an example of how an organization can take the lived experiences of its people, listen and learn, and then create tools that embed truly inclusive practices into its working environment. We listened hard and worked to really hear and acknowledge lived experiences,” – Heather Simmie, CSE’s Director, Diversity and Development

"This guide helped me better educate myself about all of the subtle but real sources of stress and apprehension. The clear and unambiguous nature of the guide allows managers and supervisors to find concrete ways to support their transgender and gender non-conforming colleagues.” – Jean-Marc, Manager at CSE

"This document is a remarkable accomplishment for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community at CSE. Through the combined contributions of many employees who identify as part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, support from colleagues and managers, and the reflections of those with lived experiences, we have made a positive step forward at our workplace. I believe that this guidance will help people understand and further respect themselves and others in a professional environment. As we continue to provide support to our community and allies, I hope this document can be used as a benchmark for future CSE materials related to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.” – Paige, leader of the 2SLGBTQIA+ affinity group at CSE

A commitment to allyship

This guide will be evergreen. Laws and best practices supporting the inclusion of all persons regardless of their gender identity or gender expression continue to change and evolve. CSE is committed to learning and adapting as we build our community together.

A significant part of the guide is for managers and provides tools for them to support their staff. It contains practical, straightforward advice and guidance written in plain language, giving managers and employees concrete guidance on how to support a team member with a transgender or gender-non-conforming identity.

“It’s really incredible how far we’ve come as a department. When I started 17 years ago, we weren’t even having these kinds of conversations. Let alone having them openly. Let alone taking action to create guides that lay out what the organization expects from us all in terms of supporting one another. It’s really something to see.” – Heather Simmie

CSE recognizes that discrimination towards transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming persons persists. CSE is committed to taking action, to ongoing education about gender diversity, and to speaking up against discrimination.

“At the end of the day, I hope the guide helps demonstrate to our colleagues and to all Canadians that CSE is a welcoming organization that supports all its employees. We hope it leads to a more welcoming community for transgender and gender-diverse colleagues where they can be their authentic selves and contribute fully to our important mission in the service of Canadians.” – Artur Wilczynski

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