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Transgender inclusion at Global Affairs Canada: Maddie’s story

Large line fragmenting into a maple leaf. Both show the rainbow colours of the Progress Pride Flag.

Pride season is a unique opportunity to celebrate all forms of diversity. It is also an apt time to reflect on various realities, like transitioning in the workplace for transgender people. This is the story of Maddie, a Global Affairs Canada (GAC) employee.


Maddie Morris.

December 2021. The Consulate General in Seattle, Washington, welcomes Maddie Morris (she/her) as a trade commissioner for aerospace, ocean technologies and advanced engineering. But Maddie had already been on the team for more than 2 years as a locally engaged staff member. So why this late welcome?

Actually, that month, Maddie became 1 of the first trade commissioners to publicly transition genders. This is how she describes the way her transition process was handled:

“My manager immediately expressed his support. He asked me questions about how I would feel most comfortable proceeding and gave me advice on internal processes. At the same time, he was careful not to rush my transition process, which required adjustments (that were often stressful!) in both my personal life and my professional life.”

Considerable support

Ambassador Hillman and Maddie Morris.
Ambassador Hillman presents Maddie with a certificate of recognition for her work in providing business support in the US market to Canadian SMEs and start-ups owned or operated by underrepresented groups in Canada.

Maddie publicly announced her gender transition so that other members of the transgender community could imagine themselves pursuing a career in international relations and global governance. She believes that the field of diplomacy must include more transgender and queer voices to help create solutions to global problems.

One of the things that stands out in Maddie’s mind from this experience is the incredible wave of support from colleagues and professional contacts. This support has been both humbling and a source of incredible validation for her. When she announced her gender identity on LinkedIn, her post went viral: it was viewed more than 400,000 times and generated about 300 comments!

Maddie’s transition gives GAC the opportunity to emphasize that the Government of Canada strongly supports members of the LGBTQ2+ community by trying to create a more inclusive workplace for all employees. At the same time, the Government of Canada maintains a presence and promotes diversity and inclusion in many parts of the world where transgender people continue to be persecuted for trying to live their lives as authentically as possible.

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