Starting a New Job While Non-Binary? Set Yourself Up for Success

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Starting a New Job While Non-Binary? Set Yourself Up for Success was originally published on Idealist Careers.

You’ve made it through the interview process, accepted your job offer, and now you’re off to begin your new job. When you start in your new position and meet your co-workers, you want to make the best first impression possible. But for a growing number of folks publicly identifying as non-binary at work, there is the added anxiety of whether your co-workers will respect and affirm your gender identity. 

So what can nonbinary people do to help ensure they feel safe and respected when starting a new job?

Tip #1: Introduce your pronouns early

When you introduce your name, don’t be scared to introduce your pronouns. You’re meeting people with whom you will be spending a lot of time, and the sooner they are aware of how to refer to you, the better. 

Make sure your manager knows your pronouns so they can correctly introduce you to other people at the organization. You may also want to add pronouns next to your name whenever possible, such as on your email signature, on a sign at your desk, or when using digital tools like Slack or Zoom.

Tip #2: Be your own advocate

If your manager or co-workers slip up and refer to you with incorrect pronouns, trust your instincts and handle the situation in a way that you’re comfortable with. It’s true that people make mistakes, but if you’re consistently being misgendered then there are a couple of ways you can correct the situation.

The next time you and the person are speaking privately, remind them of your pronouns. They might have no idea they’ve been misgendering you, and it’s better to correct them quietly and respectfully. It’s not your responsibility to teach others, but you should feel comfortable at work, so don’t be afraid to stand up for your identity and ask for respect.

If you are constantly being misgendered or feeling mistreated, you don’t have to stick it out and wait for it to get better. If your organization has a dedicated diversity and inclusion office or something similar, speak to them and seek out their advice. They know the organization’s culture and policies, and they may be able to work with you on making sure you are respected and affirmed. You may also speak to HR or to your direct manager if you feel safe to do so.

Tip #3: Seek out allies

If your organization has an LGBTQ+ employee resource group (ERG), this can be the perfect opportunity to connect with other LGBTQ+ individuals and allies. If not, talk to HR about how you can start one. It is also a good idea to seek out allies within your immediate team—not only co-workers who respect your identity, but who can also help to support you and create a safer space.

Tip #4: Don’t force it

If you are feeling unsafe, leave. You should not be dreading work due to disrespect or hostility. If you feel that your colleagues are not respecting you or your identity—and you have exhausted all methods of intervention—you don’t have to put up with it.

As soon as possible, seek opportunities elsewhere because your mental health should not be compromised for a job.

When looking for nonbinary and trans-inclusive jobs or organizations, pay attention to how potential employers put out the call for diverse applicants. Are they lifting up LGBTQ+ staff members and their contributions? Do they have a dedicated equal employment opportunity (EEO) statement on their application forms or website? You should be able to bring your full self to work every day, and the right organization will help you do so.


Looking for jobs that are dedicated to supporting the LGBTQ+ community? Check out some of these current listings on Idealist.

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