25 January, 2017

In Helka transgender people can blend in

In December we were visited by Tiia, who is currently going through a gender reassignment process. We had asked her to visit and tell us what it means to be transgender.

Understanding the lives of minorities is a part of our equality plan that started in December. The aim of the plan is to make all of us aware of how equality is achieved at Helka, both amongst our customer and our employees. So Tiia’s visit was a well-timed one.

Tiia’s visit was an eye-opening experience for all of us. Although we see ourselves as a tolerant business and work community, few of us had had the chance to discuss transgender issues with a transgender person before. Luckily, Tiia was ready to answer all our questions, even those that we had been a bit shy about beforehand. According to Tiia transgenderism cases are diagnosed about 200-300 times annually in Finland. The majority of people diagnosed does not want  gender reassignment surgery.

Some readers may wonder why we are paying so much attention to transgender issues. According to Duodecim, approximately 50 people undergo gender reassignment surgery annually. So, if transgender people are considered rare, why do we care?

“We care because we can. We lose nothing if a transgendered person can fit in here at Helka. On the contrary: a chance to be treated like the rest can give so much to a person undergoing the gender reassignment process” says Helka’s social responsibility manager Evi.

Here at Helka a person can be what they are in peace. It means that no one is highlighted, and differences are not pointed out. It is not in our job description to wonder if someone has a voice that doesn’t match their gender. After all, we also don’t wonder if, for example, two men are friends or lovers, if a woman in a suit is going to an opera or a rock concert, or if a black girl was born in Riihimäki or Rwanda.

Most of us belong in a minority and a majority simultaneously. To us, here at Helka, none of it matters. If you are a kind person who thinks that human dignity and rights belong to all, you are welcome just as you are.

We would like to thank Tiia one more time from the bottom of our hearts: your visit was valued and we learned a great deal from you. Thank you for the warm, relaxed afternoon you spent with us!

Team Helka