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Social> Diversity 28 Jun 2021

BBVA creates a guide to raise awareness and support transgender employees

'Diversidad Trans. Punto de encuentro' is the manual presented by the financial institution that includes guidelines and protocols focused on supporting trans or gender transitioning employees or customers. Diversity and inclusion in general, and particularly LGBTIQ+, are intrinsic to BBVA's DNA and are part of its strategic and business objectives.

While for most people it is very easy to express their gender identity, for others it is so complicated that sometimes they prefer to hide it. The fear that a trans person may feel to show themselves as they are is justified by the stigmatization that this group has suffered throughout history. Among other effects, this causes them to have fewer and more precarious possibilities of labor market access, thus limiting their development and increasing the risk of social exclusion.

In Spain, it is estimated that for every thousand births, one is of a trans person. Of this group, 25% feel invisible in their jobs and 39% even feel that they have been discriminated against in a selection process, according to the conclusions of the 'Joint strategy for the social and labor inclusion of trans people' study by 26D, REDI and myGwork.

With this in mind, BBVA has made a commitment to its employees to support all trans people who wish to take the step of expressing themselves as they are, accompanying them and offering the resources available to facilitate their day-to-day lives. "BBVA also reflects this reality and the people who work here are as diverse as the society in which we live," explains Ízaro Assa de Amilibia, head of Diversity at BBVA. "The fact of living fully and consciously with one's gender identity in the work environment can involve an external change that affects the person who carries it out, but can also involve the people around them: colleagues, managers, customers... And that is why we saw the need to draw up guidelines to help normalize this situation," he explains.

This project is part of Be Yourself, the bank's intrapreneurship initiative dedicated to working on LGBTIQ+ diversity, and has materialized with the 'Diversidad Trans. Punto de Encuentro' guide. The manual aims to inform and raise awareness about the trans reality, promoting good practices, uncovering biases and actively generating a fully inclusive work environment. In addition, the guide establishes constructive guidelines to accompany a trans person in their transition, the people around them to familiarize them with the process and the different figures in the organization so that, through their attitude and professionalism, they can support the person who decides to take the step at all times.

Some of these guidelines are to facilitate the administrative procedures involved in the change of gender in a person and the consequent changes in personal data; or the use of appropriate pronouns, encouraging all employees to openly ask their trans colleagues which pronouns should be used to address them. The text also offers trans employees the support of BBVA's Medical Services if they have any doubts or queries.

Alongside the guide, other actions are being carried out, including a specific mentoring program to put transgender people in contact with each other to support them in the steps they decide to take and to allow them to hear firsthand experiences in this regard.

These general guidelines also serve as a model for supporting trans customers, so as to know how to address them and identify their specific needs.

BBVA's inclusive culture

In 2019, BBVA signed up to the UN's Standards of Conduct for Business tackling Discrimination against LGTBI people, thus demonstrating its firm commitment to safeguarding the rights of this group in the workplace. Having an inclusive culture is an essential element for BBVA, not only out of respect for human rights, but also for the retention and attraction of all types of talent. "The more open, diversity-aware and LGBTIQ+ inclusive the company is, the more comfortable the people who are part of it will feel in openly expressing themselves as they are and the more fully they will realize their creativity and talent," says the Head of Diversity in reference to what has been called the 'cost of the closet'.

For the bank, having a workforce that reflects the social reality is necessary to be closer to its customers, making them feel understood, accepted and supported. That is why BBVA has been working for more than two years on LGBTQ+ diversity with an ambitious program of actions led by Be Yourself. This group of employees was responsible for coordinating training in 2020 for all the bank's employees so that they would have a basic knowledge of LGBTIQ+ diversity, especially executives and managers of people involved in selection processes or decision making regarding the professional development and career of the staff.

In addition to all these actions, BBVA has been chosen to become Chair of REDI, the most important business network in Spain in LGBTIQ+ matters, a new sign of the bank's commitment to diversity and which reinforces its commitment to the programs and initiatives it has been developing in recent years.