Transcending The Transgender Mythos

Imagine for a moment being a transgender person. Imagine what it must be like wondering whether to come out at work. And “If I come out, is this the beginning or the end of my career.”

And wondering,”When I come out, is this going to totally destroy everything I’ve spent my entire life working towards or is this going to be a new path where I feel comfortable and I can move forward?”

These are the questions transgender people ask themselves, says Genevieve Ma’yet, a transgender person who is also a certified science teacher, certified master scuba diver, and an astronaut in training if only she could stop eating pizza. The latter of course is a joke, but her Disrupt HR topic is anything but. She took the stage in Dallas last spring to puncture the myths and offer a glimpse at the secret life of transgender people in the workplace.

When transgender people first begin to consider coming out at work, “questions start running into your head,” Ma’yet says. “Who am I going to talk to? So who can I trust Where do I go? When do I come out? Am I going to lose my job?”

There are dozens of others, adds Ma’yet. Questions about how the news will be received by coworkers; how they will respond; even, which bathroom to use.

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And even though she offered some dos and don’ts for HR professionals — for example, do use the correct pronoun. Ask if you aren’t sure. — Ma’yet doesn’t so much tell her audience how to behave, as she shares a glimpse of the kind of workplace worries transgender have and the questions they have.

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