I came out as non-binary at work! Part 2: Email reactions

Did you miss part 1 of this story (how I did it)? Get it here.

So, I sent off an email and ensured that a card would be available for those without email on March 31st, a day I wasn’t actually working. I was also off work for April 1st and 2nd. But, I can access my work inbox from home, and you can bet your biffy I was checking it from the moment I woke up on the 31st (I actually sent the email around 10:30, before I went to bed the night before.)

When I woke up, I already had an email from my manager, sent about an hour after my email!). She handled it with what I can only describe as professional-loveliness. She thanked me, acknowledged that she’d definitely been one of the folks ‘lady’ing me in the past, apologized, admitted she didn’t know a whole lot about non-binary people (though it wasn’t entirely a new concept for her) and took me up on my offer to provide resources. That was that!

Over the course of the day I got a handful of emails from various co-workers, all very positive, and generally very short. The strongest theme was that the cookies I had left for them all (birthday cake flavour Oreos) were completely unbelievably delicious(!), and beyond that people mostly thanked me for feeling comfortable enough to be open with them.

My co-worker with a non-binary sibling-in-law (I wrote about her here) though? Came right out of the gate with some A+ allyship. She replied-all in the thread to say that “as somebody with a non-binary family member” she wanted to let everyone know that while changing pronouns might seem hard or awkward, it really only does take practice, and “mistakes get made, but surprise – nobody bites your head off when it happens!” She also made a point of mentioning that the process had made her more aware of just how often we really all use the singular they on a daily basis.

Basically she just went ahead and warded off some potential pushbacks on my behalf, and implicitly identified herself as someone that folks could consult/process with on the whole thing if necessary (thus potentialyl reducing te amount of emotional labour I might have to do around the whole thing.

There were a few more emails that came in over the weekend, just variations on the same theme. In general, though, it all added up to me feeling calm and collected when I finally went into work on Monday.  You can read all about that here!

5 comments

  1. I came out as transgender at work 3 years ago. It was terrifying. They made me tell groups of 10-15 people in the conference room. I remember it to this day. I did get several supportive emails, but after that people would snigger and I was pressured too soon to change the way I present. But I’m glad you overcame that hurdle. You should be proud of yourself.

    1. Thank you! I really am!
      I also realize that I am extremely lucky in a bunch of ways, because of how well it went, but also because I’m not going to be transitioning in any visible way – just continuing on as the lovable little weirdo I already was, but with different pronouns.

      The process you were put through sounds like torture, and I’m so sorry you were made to do it that way <3

      1. Oh it’s long in the past. I left that job 2 1/2 years ago. In some ways I wish I’d have tried to tough it out, but my mental health was dialing too. Anyway congrats. Do you prefer ‘they’ pronouns or ‘ze’ pronouns?

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