How to Come Out as Transgender at Work

Coming out is a challenge, regardless of the place, time, person or people that you might come out to. Here's how to come out safely and positively in the workplace.


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    Learn your company's general policies and outlooks. Speak to your boss or anyone in higher authority about the company's tolerance to employee's differences. Try to learn about your company's LGBT policies and your country's discrimination laws.
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    Prepare yourself with information. Reading about and planning coming out will help you feel prepared for the big conversation.
    • Read articles written by transgender people. Hear their stories of coming out, and see if they have any tips for you.
    • Be prepared to field some basic questions about your identity. Learn what people ask, and prepare answers beforehand. Sometimes, you'll want to give a thorough and honest answer ("Yes, I've always felt like a boy. By asking you to call me a man, I'm asking you to recognize who I really am), sometimes you'll want to decline a question ("I'd prefer not to talk about my genitals. So, how was your weekend?"), and sometimes you may simply not know.
    • Write down the names of a few of your favorite articles. You can share them with people who want to learn more.
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    Decide whom to talk to first. This is a difficult decision, and there is no right or wrong way to choose people. Talk at first to a few people whom you believe will be supportive, and gradually come out to everyone in the office.
    • If you want to get a general sense of who will be accepting, ask them about something similar. For example, "So, what are your views on this whole same-sex marriage debate?" This way, you'll get an idea of how accepting they are, without putting yourself in jeopardy.
    • If you're worried about the conversation, try asking a trusted colleague to be with you during the conversation for moral support.
    • You may opt to come out to your boss or anyone who is in charge of your employment. They may offer to send a memo to everyone in the office, and handle any rude people.
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    Decide how you want to come out to colleagues. You may want to talk with them individually, or announce it to your team.
    • If you want to announce to your team, coordinate with your boss to set aside time to make your announcement.
    • It's okay to come out to one person at a time. However, be aware that rumors can quickly spread in an office. If you suspect that this might become the case, enlist a few close friends to help monitor and control the situation.
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    Use education to help you. Once people understand you, they're more likely to accept you. Remember that even though their initial reaction might be of surprise, once they have time to learn about and process this information, they may begin using the correct pronouns and things can return to normal.
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    Prepare for repercussions. Even though you have done nothing wrong by coming out, you are likely to experience negative consequences for being yourself. Stay strong and put on the best face you can.
    • If your country has legal protections that guard against harassment and discrimination for transgender employees, use those rights. If you think your coming out has impacted your career path, or you feel harassed or unaccepted at work, consider getting legal help.
    • If your country has no legal protections, then try to find out support groups in your area to help you out, and even if there are no support groups to help then try to form an alliance with people like you around your area and come out together. Remember united we stand, divided we fall.
    • Consider another place of work. There are thousands of places where people are understanding and accepting. (Furthermore, you could introduce yourself using your real name—i.e., not the one you were given at birth—and preferred pronouns. You do not have to tell them that you are transgender.)
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    Remember that you are not to blame. Being transgender is no lesser than being cisgender, and you do not deserve other people's hatred for it. Their mean words say nothing about you and everything about them.
    • Spend plenty of time on self care. Get lots of sleep, eat well, and do things that make you happy. Find something that relaxes you when you're stressed: warm bubble baths, a quiet place, library books, walks in the woods, lotion, funny cat photos, et cetera. Practice it regularly.
    • Set aside time for hobbies. Develop your skills, and take pride in the things you can do. This will help improve your self-esteem.
    • Make transgender friends. You can support each other with transitioning, dealing with bigots, and life in general.
    • Spend time with people who value you for who you are. You deserve nothing less.


  • Have some friends who accept you to be present when you come out; people follow others in an awkward situation and will probably understand you better.
  • People who speak on behalf of you will have a greater impact on your acceptance, so bring along a person in a respected position in the society to add power in the meeting.
  • It is okay to "start over" in a new workplace, where no one knows what you were like before your transition, or that you transitioned at all. This is not cowardly or wrong.
  • Know your boundaries. If people start asking questions you find personal, it's completely fine to decline to answer.
  • As difficult as it may be, try to be patient with your coworkers, unless they are being outright abusive.


  • Get help if you are worried that someone may turn violent or abusive towards you.

Article Info

Categories: Coming Out as LGBT | Workplace Conflicts Coping and Issues