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Monday, 08 October 2012 04:06

Exploring Gender: Pronouns and Work Interactions

Written by  Cael

HRC Corporate Equality Index 2012


It is always interesting starting a new job, getting to learn new things, meeting new people. But whenever you start a new job as a trans* person, there is often a certain bit of anxiety associated with it. It is hard to learn how to navigate new environments, so there are certain questions you should consider. Are you generally read as the gender you identify? How do you want to handle situations in which you are misgendered? Do you want to be stealth and how do you handle that?

Mostly when I am out and about, I am read as male, so coming into my new job, I wasn’t really thinking about how to handle being misgendered. I am generally very open. I answer questions. I talk to people about LGBTQ* issues. But for some reason, in a work situation, it is hard for me to begin that conversation about pronouns, about my name, and I am still trying to figure it out. But it is something I have to do, a conversation I need to learn how to have.

For these conversations, there are certain things to remember:

  1. Keep it simple. You don’t need to go into specifics. It is a work situation, and a basic statement about how you identify and the pronouns you prefer is adequate.
  2. The person with whom you are talking may have questions, so make a decision about what you are willing to answer and what you deem appropriate discussing with a coworker.
  3. Talk to your boss or supervisor about how you want to handle the situation, and perhaps they can help you.

These guidelines work under the assumption that you are out to your boss. Coming out at work or being stealth at work require a different perspective and thoughts. It is important when going into any new work situation to keep in mind who you are and how you want to convey yourself. Everyone has a different way of handling it, and that is okay. The main thing is to keep in mind what may or may not be appropriate, and not all jobs will have the same environment.

I hope everyone can find a job where they can be open or stealth or can interact on whatever level without fear. But I know it is hard to find good circumstances. Trans* people suffer such high rates of unemployment. I would recommend looking into the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index to find LGBTQ*-friendly companies. How do you handle being trans* and working? Let me know your stories by leaving them in the comments, messaging me here or on tumblr.


Lezbelib is the online magazine that helps LGBTQ+ women to stay updated with entertaining blogs and breaking news about LGBT rights.