Transitioning at work

The process of a gender transition is unique to every person. These tips from a trans perspective offer best practices for employees, allies, and organizations seeking support.


Gender identity - the way in which one understands their gender – everybody has a gender identity!

Gender expression - the way in which one expresses their gender (e.g. clothing, hairstyle, etc), which can influence how they are perceived by others – everybody also has a gender expression!

Transgender - or “trans,” this is an umbrella term that refers to any person who does not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth. There are many identities within the transgender community. For example, non-binary describes a trans identity that exists on a spectrum outside of the dichotomy of man and woman.

Cisgender - the word for a person whose gender identity aligns with their sex assigned at birth (e.g. if you were assigned female at birth and identify as a woman, you are cisgender).

Transition - can refer to any number of gender-affirming actions one takes (e.g. changing their name or pronouns, accessing medical services, etc).

Pronouns - the words we use to refer to people in place of their name, such as he, she, they, ze, and more.

Misgendering / Deadnaming - Using the incorrect pronoun or name for someone, unintentionally or deliberately, which can cause significant emotional anguish.


Sam Kennedy (they/them)
Program Director, Mindr

Taking steps toward transitioning can be one of the most exciting and terrifying moments in a transgender person’s journey; it is both deeply personal and incredibly visible. I had just started my first job out of college when I first began thinking about my own transition, and ultimately the logistics of coming out at work with a previous employer delayed my transition by over a year as I worried about how my former colleagues and clients would react.

The process of transitioning is unique to every person and can include any combination of actions from changing your name and/or pronouns, to adjusting the way you dress, or seeking medical services like hormone replacement therapy or gender-affirming surgery. There is no “right” way to transition, and some individuals may not take any of the steps listed above – that does not invalidate their identity or make them any “less trans” than those who do. These are highly personal decisions that don’t require any explanation or justification.

To complicate matters, coming out is never a one-time event. LGBTQ+ people need to disclose their identity often and continuously reiterate it, which can be exhausting, cumbersome, and lonely. That’s why we’ve compiled these best practices for trans employees, allies, and organizations navigating the complexities of transitioning at work.

How to advocate for yourself as a trans employee

Develop a plan for who you will tell and when

Update your name and/or pronouns on workplace systems

Familiarize yourself with the benefits available

Ask for support

How to support trans colleagues as an ally

Follow their lead and be respectful

Be a vocal advocate

Familiarize yourself with the benefits available

How organizations can support trans employees

Implement intuitive systems for sharing preferred name and pronouns

Design your processes, policies, and offices with trans people in mind

Create spaces for support, such as an LGBTQ+ employee community

Find more resources on building belonging at work here, and check out the first enterprise SaaS ecosystem for building belonging at work, Mindr Connect.