The decision to come out as transgender can be equal parts thrilling and terrifying – especially at work. It can be a huge relief to “drop the mask” and live authentically.
Unfortunately, whether you started your current position after you transitioned or you are already at your employer when you begin, you may meet some resistance. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:
Mistakes happen – but you shouldn’t let deliberate abuse slide
Misgendering is a common issue for trans people. If your employer or fellow employees occasionally slip up and refer to you by the wrong pronouns, politely correct them (unless they correct themselves) and move on. It’s an understandable mistake if they knew you before you transitioned.
However, there’s no reason to accept chronic misgendering – and definitely no reason to accept that kind of treatment if you transitioned prior to your employment. In addition, you should not tolerate:
- Intrusive questions about your dead name by co-workers or supervisors
- Intrusive (and inappropriate) questions about medical procedures you have had or may plan to have
- Questions about how being trans will affect your reproductive abilities or plans
- Questions about how your parents or family members feel about you being transgender
- Negative comments about the way that you express your gender identity through hairstyling, makeup, adornment or clothing
If you’ve experienced transgender discrimination in the workplace and you’ve tried to address the issue through the expected channels without success, it may be time to explore additional legal options. Although times are changing, the only way to pull some companies into the current century is to make it too difficult (or expensive) to resist.