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Thread: Help with Trans co-worker

  1. #1
    Member Deedee_tv's Avatar
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    Help with Trans co-worker

    I?m very fortunate to be in my mid-50s, with many years of experience at a senior level, yet have a job where I work in close proximity to recent college graduates. This morning I noticed a new hire in the break room who, in my mind, is clearly trans. I feel really bad for her as I?ve been struggling, hiding my own reality, for many years yet still present as a male. She is clearly presenting as a female but really missing the mark on many things like work appropriateness. She has been wearing short skirts with fishnets and more of a goth look. Edgy and cool for the weekend but not a work look. This is also not appropriate for our corporate culture, but I don?t think anyone wants to say anything since she is new. I am seen as a strong leader and well liked yet still in the closet to most. Do I introduce myself, take on a mentor role, and help her fit in, or do I let her figure it out on her own? I don?t want to stir up shit with HR or get called out for saying something.

  2. #2
    Aspiring Member mbmeen12's Avatar
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    No harm in saying hi and good morning.....A good leader does not care as to the perception. The others will follow your lead and appreciate the whole team concept.
    I live in CT and love to meet like minded friends....

  3. #3
    Aspiring Member Eemz's Avatar
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    > wearing short skirts with fishnets and more of a goth look.
    > Edgy and cool for the weekend but not a work look

    If she was a GG would you say anything? That's your answer right there. I think you would be on very thin ice unless whatever she is wearing violates some official company dress code. Especially if you're in a senior position.
    My 2c.

    Completely separate from that... She might appreciate knowing she's not the only trans person in the building, even if the only visible one. I met a guy from work at a Pride event and it turns out that he's gender-fluid. It's nice to know, even though he presents male all the time at work and is not out there. And if she knew then maybe she would ask your opinion about her dress sense in which case you can answer that personal question about your opinion.

    [SIZE=1]- - - Updated - - -[/SIZE]

    You could also just hang back and see where it goes. There are a lot of women in my building and I notice that the new ones tend to observe the others and adapt to the prevailing dress sense after a while, unless they have a deliberate personal style. The guys too for that matter. We often get new guys in suits and they drop them after a while when they realize nobody wears suits here. Except a few where the suit is part of their personal style.

  4. #4
    Silver Member Aunt Kelly's Avatar
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    Eemz is right. I gather that this person is not a direct report of yours, therefore she's not your responsibility. I know that your desire to help comes from the right place, but acting on that could put you at risk.

  5. #5
    Aspiring Member MiraM's Avatar
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    Unless she volunteers the information that she is Trans, it is not anyone's place to confront her by saying "I know you are Trans and here is how you are supposed to dress..." or whatever. It's nobody's business unless she tells them about herself. As far as how this person dresses, That is a matter for the HR department, or her direct supervisor if it is in violation of an established dress code. Otherwise, just welcome her to the company like you would any other new hire.

  6. #6
    Aspiring Member StephanieCLT's Avatar
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    I've watched (recently) a bunch of harassment videos for work as part of our required training. As I understand it, you are not harassing if you simply ask a question. Harassment becomes harassment if the behavior is repeated and unwanted.

    To me, I think it depends on how much you want to share about you. If you're open to sharing with her about this side of you, maybe you can invite her to coffee (IF, and only if, she's open to it) and open up with her. That way, after forming a relationship, you may be able to offer some mentor advice. It is true that she is not your responsibility, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't and can't help if you want and she is open to it. If she declines the offer or is not willing to talk, you must then drop it.
    Letting the girl in me out.
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  7. #7
    Reality Check Krisi's Avatar
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    If there is a dress code at your job, her supervisor should be the one to counsel her on her choice of outfits. The question of "trans" doesn't have to be mentioned.

    Unless you are her supervisor, you should probably stay out of it. You don't want to be involved in any sort of harassment case.
    Krisi

  8. #8
    Junior Member vplshowoff's Avatar
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    Until you know much more about her, you should not reveal anything about yourself. You don't know if she can keep a secret or if she might blackmail you. I'll agree with others and recommend that you let direct supervisor handle the situation if it even needs to be handled.

  9. #9
    Aspiring Member phylis anne's Avatar
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    interesting thread and inputs , I recently had a conversation at a local mall the young lady was clearly transgender, and looked she was coming unglued . I sat down by her on the bench and complimented her on her hair ,it was a nice pixie cut which is my favorite . Her voice gave her up right away and I asked her if we might have a birds of a feather type chat , she relaxed almost immediately .I asked what her concerns in public are and she mentioned reactions to how she dressed etc, she was a bit over done and the advice I gave her is to sit with me for awhile and people watch as to style actions etc , after awhile she understood she needed to tone it all down especially the make up . I'm gender fluid and tend to dress in a unisex/ androgenous manner as I too am nervous sometimes my therapist and I cover this on occasion , due to the job almost retired and a sommewhat phobic family on this subject it is my best position although deep down I would rather be more girl than guy ,it simply is not doable at this point
    hugs phylis

  10. #10
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    Don't risk it. Just not worth it. A man commenting on a female coworkers' dress is just asking for trouble. Let her manager worry about her attire.

    If you were friends outside work, and mentioned it outside work it might be one thing. Don't do it in the workplace.

  11. #11
    Member Deedee_tv's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies. I’ve taken all of this to heart and will just let it play out on its own. I’m in no position to get involved. I guess the hard part for me is knowing how she is being perceived and how it will make her potential career harder than it will already be but, it is not worth risking my own career. If she reported to me it would be different. Thanks for the feedback.

  12. #12
    Platinum Member Teresa's Avatar
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    Deedee,
    Please find a way of breaking the ice and see if she needs some guidance . You may find she is comfortable with her look but more worringly if she's not aware she could have her confidence totally shattered . I feel you will do more good than harm , OK if she doesn't need help you've not lost that much .

    Finding a balance and building the confidence takes time , some are better at it than others , my guess is she will appreciate your contact , it really isn't a pleasant experience having people comment and snigger behind your back .

    Maybe put the shoe on the other foot and consider how would you feel if someone had a friendly word , would you appreciate it ? I know I did from a very good TS friend .

    I don't understand some of the other replies , surely we are talking about a private conversation between two trans people , who knows you could become good friends .
    Last edited by Teresa; 02-27-2020 at 03:15 PM.
    The real me ,no going back.

  13. #13
    Isn't Life Grand? AllieSF's Avatar
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    Deedee,

    I agree that you do not say anything about her being or looking trans. It is not your job. However, if you are out to your HR department at work, you could always tell them that if she needs a kindred soul in the company to talk to, you could be that person. If she has any issues at work over anything trans and she goes to HR for some support, HR will already have your name on the top of the list. If you are not out at work, then just be the professional senior level employee that you are and stay out of her way on anything trans related, like, "How do you like it here?", and "Are the others treating you well?", or anything near that. She may be totally proud and really ready for the worst, or very insecure. Let HR deal with that. Befriend her if you like, but please do not cross the line, it may have a negative impact on her and you.

    It is wonderful that you are there for her, but I think you need to wait to see how it all plays out before taking that risk. I am like that as well, and it is extremely hard to not talk to another perceived trans person, when I know I should just move on and pinch my lips with my fingers.

    Good luck, and how does she seem to be doing?

    Allie

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