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Tipsheet

Australian Bank Offers Paid Leave for Employees Undergoing Irreversible Transgender Surgery

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

A bank in Australia is offering six weeks of paid “gender affirmation leave” for employees who identify as transgender and want to change their name, legal sex, or undergo irreversible “gender-affirming” surgeries and other treatments. 

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SunCorp, a banking, finance and insurance corporation, announced new benefits last month for transgender employees in Australia and New Zealand during “World Pride Week” via Fox News):

"Suncorp Group is excited to announce it is introducing new leave entitlements for employees affirming their gender," the company stated in a press release. "Six weeks’ paid Gender Affirmation Leave, and up to 12 months unpaid leave, will be offered to applicable Suncorp employees, allowing those employees to have the time and financial support required to engage in the steps they need to affirm their gender."

Employees can use the leave to come out as transgender to friends and family, change their pronouns, buy clothes that match their gender identity, change their name or gender on official documents, or undergo surgery and hormone therapy.

The bank and insurance corporation said the move was to reinforce their commitment to "inclusivity."

"This is something that we feel very passionate about as part of our desire to be a truly inclusive organization," Catherine Dixon, executive general manager of people and culture at Suncorp New Zealand said.

Dixon admitted the move was controversial but "really important."

"No doubt it’s one of the more challenging inclusivity areas for most people to understand but it’s really important to give people the opportunity to take that time out," she said.

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According to the New York Post, the six week paid leave can be extended up to 12 months unpaid leave. "Gender-affirming" care includes hormone therapy treatments and irreversible sex reassignment surgery. In children, this kind of care can include puberty blockers. In addition, some people who identify as transgender try to change legal documentation to reflect their "gender identity" instead of their biological sex.

“Many of the changes required by people affirming their gender take multiple appointments, the majority of which are only available during standard working hours Monday to Friday,” Olivia Sinden, the chair of the company’s LGBTQ+ community Amplify, said.

Late last month, in New Zealand, a British women’s rights speaker was attacked by transgender activists at a rally over her “anti-transgender” beliefs. The speaker, Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, who also goes by “Posie Parker,” planned a rally in Auckland as part of her international “Let Women Speak” campaign, according to News.com.au. When Keen-Minshull appeared at her rally, she was doused with tomato juice by an LGBTQ+ supporter and forced to cancel her rally after being surrounded by hundreds of transgender activists, which Townhall reported.

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Days later, the New Zealand Herald reported that the activist who doused Keen-Minshull with tomato juice was charged with assault.

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