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Wedding Woes

Yes, this is a hostile work environment.

Dear Prudence,

I’m a transgender man with a part-time job at my university. When I started my job, I was only recently out and had just started testosterone. I emailed my boss and came out to him in simple, straightforward terms; he seemed receptive and said he’d inform my co-workers of my gender. However, for the first four months at my job, none of my co-workers gendered me correctly and sometimes awkwardly called me “they.” I assumed it was because they were conservative and pushed through it. It’s been over eight months now, and I now consistently pass. I recently learned from one of my co-workers that my boss gathered everyone together after I was hired and told everyone that I was nonbinary and used they/them pronouns, which isn’t true—I’d been very clear that I’m a trans man who uses male pronouns. I was furious. I felt so isolated and uncomfortable at my job for so long, and it took me months to get my co-workers to understand I was a man. Should I complain to my boss? Or to his supervisor? I’m one of three LGBT workers, and we’ve all experienced this kind of treatment.

—I’m Not Nonbinary

Re: Yes, this is a hostile work environment.

  • What state does LW live in, because they might not be protected under anti-discrimination laws and HR could be little or no support. 

    If LW is comfortable what about correcting the coworkers when they use the incorrect pronouns? 
    short+sassyOurWildKingdom
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I like a mix of both banana’s and charolette’s suggestions. Get it in writing, work on your coworkers separately. It sounds like the rest of his coworkers are receptive and have been making a good faith effort if they’ve been using the appropriate pronouns for a non-binary individual. It’s not their fault his boss is a top of the line asshole. 


    image
    short+sassyOliveOilsMomOurWildKingdom
  • short+sassyshort+sassy member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited February 28
    I'm sorry to hear the LW felt so uncomfortable in their new position.  Especially since it sounds like his coworkers were well-meaning, but given incorrect information about pronouns.

    And a meeting before the LW started where the boss was even talking anything about the medical procedures, ie taking testosterone, that the LW was doing.  Along with talking about how the LW identified himself and the pronouns he used...and were incorrect, to boot!  OMG.  (Fixed my spelling and my own mistaken pronouns)
    Don't know why weird box is here.
    Especially since I'm sure assuming they don't have meetings like this for every new employee.  Like, "Jane Doe will be starting next week as our new Sales Manager.  She is biologically female and identifies herself as female, so please be sure to use her/she pronouns." smh.
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  • I'm sorry to hear the LW felt so uncomfortable in their new position.  Especially since it sounds like his coworkers were well-meaning, but given incorrect information about pronouns.

    And a meeting before the LW started where the boss was even talking anything about the medical procedures, ie taking testosterone, that the LW was doing.  Along with talking about how the LW identified themselves and the pronounces they used...and were incorrect, to boot!  OMG.

    Especially since I'm sure assuming they don't have meetings like this for every new employee.  Like, "Jane Doe will be starting next week as our new Sales Manager.  She is biologically female and identifies herself as female, so please be sure to use her/she pronouns." smh.
    He. LW specifically says he is a male and uses male pronouns. 

    I'm going to give the benefit of the doubt to the boss and assume he is well meaning but horribly ignorant, rather than intentionally mis-gendering LW. For that reason alone, I would attempt to resolve with the boss once before moving on to HR. Even if LW doesn't live in a state that protects him, a university is likely to have a policy that does, especially if it's public. But damned straight it needs to be in writing. Even if it is an innocent mistake from the boss, it sounds like boss and the team could all use a little education here. 
    Yeesh, thanks!  Here I am making the same mistake.  Though, in my own defense, I'm just so used to using the themselves/they pronouns for LWs...because we don't usually know their gender...that it's now a habit. 
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    MyNameIsNot
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