Coming Out as Transgender in the Workplace: Tips and Advice

Discovering and embracing one’s identity as a transgender person can be both a daunting and fulfilling process. One of the first questions many transgender people may ask themselves is “how do I come out at work and start my transition while working for the same company?” 

One of the first steps that should be considered while starting the process of coming out and transitioning at work is weighing the risks of coming out as trans in your workplace. In 2020 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Title IX, the federal law against discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, and sex as it pertains to education and employment, applies to LGBTQ+ identities on the basis of sex, making it illegal nationwide for employers to discriminate against employees based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Some questions to still think of while analyzing potential risks/drawbacks of coming out at work may include: 

  • Does my company have any policies related to gender identity and gender expression? 
  • Could I potentially be passed over for promotions and raises because of my gender identity and expression?  
  • What is my workplace’s culture like regarding transgender people and issues? Do my coworkers seem accepting? 
  • Does my boss/supervisor/manager seem accepting and open minded?   
  • What is my workplace’s dress code like? Would I be able to dress in a way that matches my gender expression and identity?  

Other questions you may want to ask yourself in preparation could also be: 

  • Does my workplace have easily accessible resources for transgender employees or LGBTQ+ employees in general? Are there any employee groups for transgender or LGBTQ+ employees?  
  • If I want to medically transition, would my healthcare plan cover any of it?  
  • How would I want incidents of misgendering to be addressed, if I want them addressed at all?  

After making those considerations, one of the next steps in your coming out process might be to contact your company’s HR department. They can help you with future steps such as coming up with an action plan for coming out to coworkers, figuring out how workplace misgendering might be addressed, finding resources for transgender employees, navigating through updating your name, pronouns, and profile pictures for internal systems and staff pages, and, if applicable, they can give you more information about your healthcare plan if you plan on medically transitioning.  

After contacting your HR department, your next step might be to come out to your coworkers. How you come out to them and how many of your colleagues that you come out to is up to you! Some people only come out to a select number of coworkers that they trust and tell them in private, other people may choose to come out through an office-wide email. Do whatever feels right and most comfortable for you and your situation.  

There is no “right” way to come out at work, and you can always come out at your own pace. You may choose to take all of these steps, only a few, or none at all! At the end of the day this is your life and your identity, and you’re the only person who gets any say in how you express yourself.  

If you want more resources, information, or advice on being LGBTQ+ in the workplace, you can visit the LGBTQ+ Affinity Community page on the Center for Career Development’s website. If you have any questions or concerns about being transgender in the workplace or during the job search process you can also make an appointment with one of our Career Coaches for advice! 

Some other blogs from the Center for Career Development LGBTQ+ Affinity Community Page that you may find helpful as well are:  

You can also find information and resources about being LGBTQ+ in the workplace on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC)’s Workplace website, and for specific advice and resources on being transgender in the workplace you can visit the Employment website from the National Center for Transgender Equality.  


By Avery Caya
Avery Caya Graduate Assistant, CLAS/Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (They/Them/Theirs)