Experiences with transgender at work

I’m interested in anyone’s experiences working with transexuals. I’m not really looking for a debate about it. Just personal experiences. I have no opposition to transexuals.

Just working? I’m in a club that has a lot of transgender members.

There are a number of transmen and transwomen who work in the same organization as me. I interact with them in the same way I interact with cismen and ciswomen. Their status as transpeople is entirely irrelevant to our working relationship.

Yeah. Any experiences like that would be of interest to me.

But, do you talk about it? Do they talk about it? What is the proper etiquette?

I worked with a trans woman who kind of flaunted her body. She wore transparent blouses and no bra, until people complained and management made her start wearing blouses that were not see through. I know she was an outlier, though.
She was very tall, and had a manly voice, and women complained about her using the women’s rest room but management told then to suck it up. And this was in Virginia, in about 1982.

I work with several trans people at this job and my previous job. No, we don’t talk about it. We have work to do.

It seems like there must be some policy about it. Is it a policy not to talk about it?

The proper term is “transgender people”. Transsexuals is rather out-of-date.


I actually had someone come out where I work. I was really proud of how they handled it.

They gave the person a day off while HR held a meeting to let everyone know this person identifies as a “she”. They then did a Q & A after words.

The first questioned that got asked (by a female) was: “What bathrooms will she be using?”. To which the answer was: “She’ll be using the maternity bathroom.” [This was her idea. She didn’t want to freak anybody out, so she thought of using the maternity bathroom".]

What really threw us all for al loop was this person did not even give the slightest hint she identified as female. Just a month prior, she had a beard ZZ top style.

Grr. Thanks. Can you share more about the Q & A? What else did HR tell you?

Yes, they talk about it. There’s probably about 3,500 people in my company and there are employee groups that represent various minority interests within that population, including LGBT+ people, BAME (or what used to be called BAME), disabled employees and so forth, and they do talk about their experiences with the rest of the organization, with the blessing/encouragement of the management. This includes transgender people (I don’t have the numbers to hand but off the top of my head there are probably 15-20 transgender people working there). It is in no way discouraged in that regard.

But most of the time it’s not talked about because everyone is just people and, as mentioned, we all have work to do. I mean, it would be considered spectacularly rude just to insist that a random transgendered person tell you about their reassignment surgery or whatever – manners still matter. Like any other element of someone’s personal life, there is a limit on what you can discuss depending on how well you know the other person. But it’s not swept under the rug either.

(We also have a number of non-trans non-binary individuals, and people can put their preferred pronouns in their intranet profiles and their email signature blocks. We even have a couple of gender-neutral restrooms. It’s not really a big deal either.)

Here’s what I can tell you.

I agree that it’s spectacularly rude to ask someone if they’ve had sex reassignment surgery.

And it’s very rude, bordering on hate speech, to deliberately misgender someone. Mistakes will be made, but if someone says they wish to be called “she”, respect that choice.

If you do mess up, though, apologize and don’t make a big deal out of it. Don’t go “OMG I’m so sorry!”

ekedolphin. Do you have a personal experience of anything like that? What happened?

I’ve never worked with anyone who was openly trans, no.

But my dad is trans. I still call her Dad, and still send her Father’s Day cards, but I address her as “she” and “her”, call her by her chosen name to other people, and afford her every courtesy.

And it didn’t come easy. I was a real jerk early into her transition. But it wasn’t helped by the fact that she came out as trans while she and Mom were still together, and she used to spend rent money on high-heeled shoes. She was extremely irresponsible. I’m not saying that excuses what I now realize was bigotry, but I just thought she was being manic and having a midlife crisis.

I also have several friends on my roleplaying group who are trans.

Incidentally, back in 2014, I wrote a college research paper about the need to codify transgender rights. This happened about a year before the North Carolina bathroom bill controversy, and several years before the floodgates opened against trans people like they have today. If you’re interested in reading it, I can give you access to it. PM me.

What exactly do you want to know? I had a trans co-worker once, and I don’t know if there’s anything worthwhile to say about it.

No. Nobody talked about it. Nobody cared.

In my life, it has not been unusual or considered irresponsible for some women to spend rent money on high-heeled shoes. Just saying. Thanks for sharing.

Rent money is by definition supposed to be spent on rent. When she spent it on high-heeled shoes instead, she took food out of my mouth, my mother’s mouth, my sister’s mouth, and her own mouth.

What really cracked me up was when she had the gall to ask me (who was working a minimum-wage job at Blockbuster) for help paying the divorce attorney.

I deal with men and women in the same way at work. And I don’t go around asking “Hey, so what’s it like being a woman?”. Why should it matter at all to me that someone’s trans?