Kindness Wins the Day

May 29, 2020



When a Coworker Transitions
By Eli Rarey

Note: This post contains the personal opinions and viewpoints of the author.  Autodesk has internal guidelines for supporting transgender employees at the company.  Those guidelines are accessible to employees and can be found here.   

Coming out is hard. It’s stressful, and it takes courage. We can all relate to the feeling of having to share something about ourselves we can’t change and feeling uncertain about how people will respond. But coming out for transgender people can be particularly difficult because it’s both very personal and very public. When a transgender person transitions, it’s usually visible not only to the people closest to them but to coworkers, acquaintances, even strangers. 

This means someone at your workplace who you’ve known for years by a particular name and gender may ask you to change the way you address them. This will be only one of the changes in the way they present and ask to be treated. You might not know this person very well, or it might be someone you thought you knew very well. It’s helpful to remember that you are seeing an external change, but your transgender coworker is expressing who they have been all along. In fact, they were previously working very hard to present as something else. This was work they kept invisible from you. What you see now is the result of their decision that life would be better if they stopped working so hard to hide who they really are. Read more.