For transgender people, navigating everyday life is a lot more difficult than it is for others. This is especially true within the workplace, where many trans people will need to make the tough decision of whether to disclose their status or keep it hidden. While there is no right or wrong answer in this case, the Human Rights Campaign offers the following advice.
Unfortunately, there are not yet federal discrimination laws in place to protect trans workers. However, many states have taken it upon themselves to enact such laws or utilize existing discrimination statutes to protect the rights of trans people. Some businesses have also taken the same steps by including anti-discrimination language in human resource handbooks.
Even if you have legal protections, coming out work can have negative consequences for many trans people. For instance, you may be subject to confused or even hostile reactions, which can impact your ability to earn a living as well as your mental health. Your relationship with co-workers can be affected, or your boss may refrain from promoting you because of your disclosure. It’s important to address any discrimination you experience with the proper parties, even if you’re not sure there is legislation in place to protect you.
Despite the negativity that can accompany being out at work, some trans people experience positive benefits. It can alleviate a great deal of stress since you won’t need to worry about hiding your identity. Also, some workplaces are very inclusive and will go above and beyond to make all workers feel at home. Finally, coming out can serve as a beacon of hope to other trans people who may be facing the same struggles in silence.