Question: Coming out as non-binary at work

Someone asks…

Has anyone come out at their place of employment as non-binary (genderqueer, androgyne, etc)? If so, how did you do it and how was it received? Did you ask for different pronouns?

Please post your response in the comments below.

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Posted by on February 12th, 2013 at 08:00 am

Category: questions 9 comments »

9 Responses to “Question: Coming out as non-binary at work”

  1. Girl with a Hoop

    I did come out at one of my jobs. I did it gradually. I started introducing various elements of feminine dress and colours until I was clearly no longer dressed like a cis-male. The director of the organisation asked me at one event what was the significance of my attire and I told him, in the presence of others, that I am genderqueer. It was received quite well, so I showed up at the Christmas party in a skirt and blouse with ballet flats. Everything was fine, in fact I got a number of compliments.

    [Reply]

    Sasha replied:

    Good for you!

    [Reply]

  2. Joss/Ames

    I’ve not come out at work yet (I’m still a student), but the closest experience I could relate has been socially transitioning in my organizations (especially my choir) and in the lab I volunteer in. For both, I’ve found that just making it a matter of course is one of the most important things–slowly start to dress, act, and behave in the way that you would like to be perceived, and let people who already know you slowly get used to it. Then, act like that as a baseline for any new people who come in. For pronouns and things you may have to have a few chats here and there, but you might be surprised how many people just pick it up, or end up talking among themselves and figuring it out that way. If you just make it clear that you aren’t trying to be a spectacle (that ever-ready accusation we get in this community) or “get attention”, but are just living your life as it needs to be lived, most people who already like you and respect you will *want* to make the mental accommodations for you.

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  3. Finley

    I have come out at three separate jobs as genderqueer. It was really scary, and hard at the job that doesn’t have a great relationship with minority representation. However, it has ended up well everywhere. I asked for my name to be changed everywhere, even before it was legally changed. People have been generally alright about it. It can be exhausting to explain over and over again, but part of that just comes with my lines of work. I haven’t asked for pronoun changes (I use en/ens/enself) because I am still on a probationary period at my job with benefits and am worried about that changing whether or not they will keep me. Basically I came out gradually in each job, to people I felt safe with, and then eventually just by tossing it out there and not making a “big deal” of it. Things like “well, that’s just one of the bonuses about being gender variant!”. Usually my superiors who needed to know were curious and asked after such a comment.

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  4. Jesse

    Once people begin to think of you as just you being you, you can do almost anything… of course that is a double edged sword. People don’t challenge you half as much as you think they are going to. Keeping their respect and a good working relationship is so much more important than earning identity points, just be yourself, gently.

    [Reply]

  5. James

    Yes.

    I was fired almost instantly. Spent a year out of a job.

    Thanks, American conservatives/GOP.

    [Reply]

    Jesse replied:

    Yes, is wrong. Is the world we live in. Would you have liked it better if you lived in stealth for two years and then they fired you? It is a difficult decision. Good luck!

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    James replied:

    They would’ve held onto me. I was very well-liked and fairly competitive among the management and employees until I revealed my secret.

    Years of hard work. Gone. Meaningless. The job I have now pays about 1/3 as much as my previous one did. I had to move far away to get it (to a state where you can’t be fired for being trans). The company that fired me was the only one I had worked for up until that point. It was the only place I had any substantial experience in my field. So all that experience and climbing up the ladder went down the drain upon my employment being terminated.

    So I’m devoid of work experience on paper. I’m being paid a fraction of what I was being paid. My only family is over 1,000 miles away from me, something which I had never before experienced and never thought I’d ever experience. It was torture “living in stealth.” Now I’m feeling the same amount of torture, just in different ways.

    [Reply]

    Jesse replied:

    Yes, it is tough to be honest in a world run by thieves and venal poltroons. The courage of your convictions doesn’t feed you or put a roof over your head. Dorothy Day was a most admirable person and wrote a lot about the conflict of moral and practical necessity – she almost killed herself trying to look after the homeless …

    James, if you ever need a friend to talk to (or bitch at) I would be glad to listen. It is hard, whichever way you go. All we can really do is make the best choices we know how to make and hope it doesn’t kill us. If we’re lucky, we can look back, years later, and see that we made many of the right decisions.

    Keep swinging.


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