Your Journey Part 3: Sharing your identity

Choosing what to share about your gender identity at work can sometimes feel personal and confusing. Many people have legitimate concerns about revealing aspects of their identity, particularly if this could impact their job and career opportunities (e.g. name, age, disability, cultural attire). Decisions about whether or not to disclose your gender identity, gender expression or to transition in the workplace are also personal decisions that can have benefits or drawbacks for your experience in the workplace. Depending on who you are, how you identify, and how you express your gender, disclosure may or may not be a factor for you.

“Because of my gender presentation and transition, people do often get confused about my pronouns both at school and work… I’ve had to really learn to love myself and validate my own gender with little reflections everyday, regardless of whether or not people understand who I am right away. The biggest thing is being true to who you are, because people you encounter throughout your career will see that and respect that more than anything else.”
Adrían, History and Equity Studies, Class of 2019


At the time of job offer/acceptance

Benefits

This is a good opportunity to directly work with a manager or human resources representative to:

  • Ensure your correct name is used for items like email, business cards, signage, etc.
  • Clarify any benefits-related questions
  • Ask about employee resources and affinity groups

Drawbacks

You might worry that the offer will be withdrawn.

Things to consider

It’s very unlikely that your offer will be withdrawn due to your disclosure at this point (if it is, this will be grounds for a human rights complaint).

Tip: To offer consistency between your interview and onboarding, it may be helpful to talk to your direct manager as well as whoever is addressing these administrative changes.


After you start work

Benefits

You can take some time to assess workplace culture and safety and disclose whenever you’re comfortable. You’ll have developed relationships with colleagues that you can draw on for support.

Drawbacks

You may worry that revealing or expressing your gender identity may result in differential treatment in employment, or even termination. Disclosing after you’ve started work may require additional administrative steps to change email, benefits, employee directory etc.

Things to consider

It is illegal to dismiss someone for reasons related to a protected ground (including gender identity and gender expression) even during probationary periods.

Tip: Since you’ve already been introduced to your colleagues, it may take some time for them to adjust. During this time, ensure you’re leaning on allies, and organizational and community resources for support. You can also consider speaking to your manager, diversity office, or someone in human resources to help you navigate the effects of your transition in the workplace.


Unfortunately, not all forms of disclosure are based on personal choice. Outing, or threatening to out someone as trans, is a form of gender-based harassment.

 

Continue to Part 3