Preferred name and pronouns at work

26 Feb

In my last Team Leader meeting I asked if it would be ok for me to request for my preferred name to be used in all IT systems at work (e.g. email correspondence, case note records and within the programs we use to manage client information). I also asked if I could send out an email to staff to let them know about my preferred name a pronoun change. Here is the response I got after it needed to be discussed with the Team Manager:

Hi [preferred name],

I hope you’re really well!

I asked [Team Manger’s name] if it would be ok for you to send out a message to counsellors about your name/title/pronoun preferences…

He says this is fine as long as you are able to be patient when fielding potentially stupid questions.

May the force be with you!

At first I was excited…then nervous about actually doing it after thinking about it for so long and supporting other people and friends within their own transition at work. The positive response was however shadowed by the second last sentence that clearly stated the organisation wouldn’t be willing to help me out. When I have supported other people transitioning at work I made it clear that it is the organisation/HR who should be sending out an information to staff and fielding questions, not the individual themselves. I however resigned myself to genderqueer being less than trans or transitioning at work, so I spent most of my next work shift trying to get the words right and ended up with this:

“Dear Counsellors and staff
I am emailing you to let you know of the following changes to my preferred name and use of pronouns.
I would like to ask for everyone to please use ‘[insert preferred name]’ as my preferred name and gender-neutral pronouns such as singular “they”, “their” and “them” when referring to me verbally or in writing. Pronouns which are currently used for me (“she” and “her”) will no longer be appropriate.

If you would like further examples of how to use gender-neutral pronouns please check out the table at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender-neutral_pronoun

I understand that this might take some getting used to and I will be happy to address any appropriate questions regarding the use of gender-neutral pronouns, as well as provide any useful resources to help make this transition as smooth as possible for all.

Kind regards,
[preferred name]”

I sent this off to my Team Leader and asked for her feedback to ensure it read as clearly as possible and was appropriate to send. I then clarified that I wanted to send this out to both counsellors and other staff, but was however unsure if the later was also approved by the Team Manger. The response is below:

Hi [preferred name],

I hope you’re really well…

The email sounds fine.

I asked [Team Manager] and he said you may send this to counsellors, centre supervisors and can also add other staff that you have contact with in the org.

If you want to discuss this further, just let me know?

I hope this helps.

So now I just have to send it >.<

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