A colleague has recently identified themselves as trans and now wants to be addressed with a different name and pronoun. The physical appearance of the person might also change.
Trans is a term for the fact that people were assigned the wrong gender at birth. The fact that body and gender do not fit together is not so rare. Many of them are out one day and are permanently living according to the gender they actually have. Some do this only in certain areas of life. Many use the possibility of medical measures to align their bodies with their gender. Trans people make individual decisions based on their personal needs and life situations.
For you as a colleague it is important to understand and accept that the trans person knows what gender they are. Just as well as you know what gender you have, a trans person can judge who they are.
Don’t be scared to use new names and pronouns!
A respectful approach means addressing people the way they want. It may be a change to suddenly use a new name and other pronouns. But, it is the best way to show your support.
- Use the new name and the new pronoun on every occasion, even if your trans colleague is not present.
- Correct colleagues who use the old name and pronoun – especially if this happens in the presence of your trans colleague.
- We all make mistakes: if you or others make a mistake, a short apology and a simple correction should suffice.
- Update entries in address and phone books and contact lists.
- Make sure that your e-mail program does not use the old name, and that the old name does not appear somewhere in e-mails that you forward or quote.
Every person has a right to privacy. Help to protect and maintain it.
- Do not out the individual to third parties. The individual themselves determine who is allowed to know that they are trans.
- Avoid using the old name, even if you talk about the past. For many trans people it is extremely uncomfortable to hear or read the old name.
- Do not ask a trans person about their body or sexuality.
Further information can be found on our download page.