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I am a transgender person looking to switch jobs from the one I am currently in to one where I can work as a woman, completing the set of places I need to be accepted in order to live full time as my correct gender.

At some point before arriving for the first day of work the subject needs to be broached.

I asked this question and think that this answer is very good as far as CVs go, but once I am heard*, as I will be during a telephone interview or face to face interview, I feel that it needs to be brought up at that point.

Would it be best just to say right at the start of any meeting / phone interview that I am transgender in a matter of fact way, and then proceed with the rest of the process? Or would it be better to actually mention on my CV, perhaps right at the bottom (eg ... 'also known as "old name"'), so as not to shock any potential interviewers?

PS ... the subject of whether or not I should stay in my current job is moot as far as this question is concerned.

*the voice is the hardest thing to change

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I find it odd that "(how) should I inform an interviewer that I'm transgender?" is supposedly any more opinion-based and certain to be closed than the same question for having tattoos (workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/3314/…). Is the problem just that tattoos are more common, and so this question is more liable to attract random opinion-based spouting from people who know nothing objective about transgender issues? If so it seems a bit harsh to say "opinion-based" when you could say "obscure". –  Steve Jessop Aug 26 at 14:46
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This question is valid and properly scoped for this site. The question is not asking what people think or how they feel but rather what is the most effective way for the OP to present themselves to a prospective employer. That is on topic and Good subjective. –  ReallyTiredOfThisGame Aug 26 at 15:50
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I think it's a good question. While it's considerably more serious in scope it reminds me of the question about interviewing with a shaved head and the comments about different treatment for women with shaven heads (please don't think I'm trivialising either post or saying they're comparable situations). The similarity is that of course it shouldn't make a difference to the interviewer but. The fact that we can even have this conversation shows how far things have come in the workplace, and the fact that we need to have this conversation shows how far workplaces have left to go. –  RobM Aug 26 at 19:34
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@edthethird ...but then you don't run the risk of someone calling a reference from your CV and having them deny any Julie ever worked for them (they were pretty happy about Bob though). Same for a Linkedin search. The problem isn't (or shouldn't be) the gender change, but the name change that goes with it. And disclosing one makes the other obvious. –  ptyx Aug 26 at 23:09
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@edthethird, I don't think anyone should have to mention it, but the "guy" example is different: The details there match those assumed by others. If someone transgendered wants to help a boss or others know more about their past situation, they might need to share it, since the assumptions others have don't match the history, etc. –  Jaydles Aug 27 at 17:50

6 Answers 6

So, legally, you don't have to. Your gender identity is a protected characteristic in the UK and – like race, religion, age etc. - should not be a factor in the interview.

That being said, it may or may not be prudent to mention this before an interview.

If it is a large company, speak to someone in the HR/Recruiting department. While you don't need any special treatment during the interview (like a sign-language interpreter) it may be wise for the HR team to remind the interviewers of their company's guidance on avoiding discrimination. The HR team will also be able to tell you if there is an LGBT support group (or similar) within the company.

While transgender awareness is gathering pace in the UK, I think it is undeniable that you will cause some measure of surprise/shock to an interviewer. Creating a great first impression is key to any interview.

If you are interviewing with a small company (one without an HR department) I think it may be wise to be up-front about it. A small line on the CV is easily missed.

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+1 for the HR direction hint. It's their job as Human Resources to make sure that current and prospective employees are treated justly within the company, after all. They should be the go-to resource in this case, as in many others. –  Chris Cirefice Aug 27 at 8:46

Unfortunately, there are many studies indicating that HR departments are discriminating based on résumés. This article is just one example. Therefore, I would not mention the fact that you are a transgender on the résumé.

Once an interview is scheduled, by phone or otherwise, you will have a chance to demonstrate your qualities and persuade them that you have what it takes.

The University of Vermont has published FAQs on this very topic.

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I don't think that you need to bring up anything about your gender. Women don't need to. Men don't need to. Why should you need to? You're applying to perform a job and the only relevant criterion is whether you are capable of performing it. If anyone thinks that being transgender affects the ability to perform the job, the burden is on them to justify why they think being transgender affects the ability to perform the job. What goes on in your personal life is none of anybody's business but yours.

Don't mention the fact that you are trangender for the same reason that women don't mention they are female and that men don't mention that they are male: it's glaringly obvious. And also irrelevant. Do your part and act the way everybody does, and you'll make it easier for you to be treated like everybody else.

Like 99% of the population, I am ignorant of transgender issues, and I have no plans to educate myself on them. My answer is based on the ignorance that I share with 99% of the population. Be compassionate, forgive the ignorance, and work with the good will.

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one reason might be your use of three categories: the OP is a woman, not some not-man not-woman category. If you said "you're a woman and you don't need to tell people so" you might find your answer better accepted. –  Kate Gregory Aug 26 at 12:30
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@KateGregory As I said, I am ignorant and my ignorance is shared by 99% of the population. I run into a transgender woman on a regular basis, and I treat her like any other woman - My cluelessness in the ways of women including my late mother and my baby sister is a separate chapter :) –  Vietnhi Phuvan Aug 26 at 12:41
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Another possible reason is that remaining silent and expecting everyone to treat her like any other woman completely ignores the social issues. It's great that you would treat her the same, but that sentiment is certainly not shared by everyone. On the opposite side are those who would overcorrect and not talk to her for fear of saying something offensive. It is a very complex issue that will need to be addressed and can't just be assumed to go over smoothly. –  David K Aug 26 at 12:43
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@Jonast92 - I am ignorant of transgender issues, and I have no plans to educate myself on them. - With this attitude one would expect the poster to abstain from answering a question on a transgender issue. –  ReallyTiredOfThisGame Aug 26 at 15:39
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@josinalvo: Many trans people identify not as having been "born as the opposite gender", but rather born as the gender they identify with, with physical characteristics that don't match their gender. "Cisgender woman" does not mean "woman born as a woman" but roughly "woman whose physical and genetic characteristics are female". But as you said it's nice just having the "cis" term rather than having to restate these things all the time in often-imprecise and sometimes-offensive ways. –  R.. Aug 27 at 4:37

The short answer is that it depends. (Ain't that always the short answer!)

If you feel that this information will be relevant to your potential future employment at the company, you should try to find a way to disclose during the interview process.

By "relevant", I'm essentially talking about (and please excuse my crassness) the concept of "passing". If you feel like people are going to wonder about this type of thing, and it's not just a piece of information you can disclose to coworkers you trust in private, then I think it will be easier for you down the line if you find a way to disclose early on.

If you don't feel like that will be an issue, I see no reason to tell anyone anything for any reason other than that you trust them and want them to know something cool about you.

It might not be an issue if you're interviewing, say, at an LGBT+ advocacy outfit where you can reasonably expect that folks will know what is and isn't rude to point out or ask, and that they'll be understanding if they inadvertently offend you. But if you're interviewing at an old and prestigious financial institution (for example) you might unfortunately encounter some ignorance (or downright hostility). That's the case in which I feel it might be important to disclose ahead of time. By doing so you'll give the company a chance to brush up on its legal obligations as far as gender discrimination go and maybe even warn your future colleagues not to be jerks.

Sidebar: There are other issues in play here, of course. In the U.S., it's frequently considered inadvisable to disclose any non-obvious demographic about yourself, since employers are strictly forbidden from discussing those things with you in your interview process. (They can't ask you about your religion, marital status, age, etc - lest they decide not to hire you after learning that info and leave themselves open to a possible discrimination suit.) I don't know about the U.K. but I can't imagine it's too wildly different.

Here's what I would recommend: Disclose your situation to your recruiter after you have passed the initial phone screen and are moving on to interviews. (If you're not working with a recruiter, this might be trickier.) Here's why I think that would work best:

  • Disclosing trans-ness to a recruiter means you're disclosing to someone with some HR training. They are most likely to know the laws and the rules, and to be sensitive to your situation.
  • Disclosing after the initial phone screen means that you will be disclosing after the recruiter has made a "hire" decision about you, so you're saving them the awkward situation of having it look like they made a decision based on the information you disclosed. Additionally, they'll now be in a position to prepare your subsequent interviewers not to react poorly or make uncomfortable comments.
  • The recruiter will be performing your reference check, and will therefore be in a position to handle that more effectively. That will avoid the "Toni? We never had a Toni working here..." situation that makes it look like you lied on your CV.

I wouldn't say that this is the ultimate solution, though. If you're on the phone with the recruiter for the initial screening and they sound confused at hearing your voice, it might be worth dropping in a mention that you used to go by _______. You don't have to disclose explicitly, but you're acknowledging their confusion and confirming that they're not making it up. Then after you've aced the phone screen and can be a little more candid with the recruiter you can tell them whatever you feel they need to know.

tl;dr.

Disclose early, but not immediately, and if possible disclose to an HR professional first.


Disclaimer for anyone reading this outside of the U.K.: check the discrimination laws in your area before disclosing. In many places in the U.S. it's still completely legal to fire (or not hire) someone for being trans. Obviously the situation is vastly more complicated in a situation like that.

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I agree to the answers given here to not include your sex in a CV or cover letter. Discrimination exists, but it is based on presumption. With your your written application, there still is nothing which proves that all these presumptions are void - Not, of course, that you should have to prove it.

However, it will be far better to reveal this in a stage in the interview process were you already made an impression. Discrimination then will still exist, but it will be much less so. In the first stage (so just written application) there is just a rather rough screening and everything not fitting into the normal expectations of a recruiter might lead to put your application aside. Take as an example discrimination against immigrants. In this study it was shown that a foreign sounding name affects your chances to get admitted to the next stage.

However, once you past this stage, this will be much less of an issue. I also wouldn't mention it at the beginning of a telephone or on-site interview. First of, it is unlikely that a recruiter will ask you about it (I am not sure how it is handled in the UK, but I am fairly certain that also in the UK such questions are not allowed in job interviews). So, if anyone can bring it up it will be you.

One choice can be that you simply don't mention it. Considering that it is simply a non-factor for your job performance, you might want to choose so. The other possibility would be to bring it up at the end of an interview. Normally, the recruiter will ask you if you have any questions. This would be, at least in my opinion, the best moment to bring the issue up. You could ask about the company policy in general about tolerance, LGBT, discrimination. You might want to phrase it as a question rather than a statement, as this is normally asked for. I think a simple "I am currently in a sex-change process/ I am transgender. I hope this is not a problem in your company." should suffice. If there is any tolerance (and any brain power, as it would open you up to lawsuits otherwise) present, the recruiter should now assure you that is not an issue at all. Otherwise, you might also want to think about whether you want to work for such a company. Remember, the interview process is also for you to get to know the company.

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Analyzing the problem from the point of view: What kind of potential employers or interviewers, and what kind of advantage or disadvantage of early disclosure?

There will be some who for whatever prejudices they have would never, ever want to hire you. Early disclosure avoids an unpleasant meeting in person. Hopefully that case is rare.

There will be some overly PC person who would love to hire you because you are transgender. You might miss out on a job if you don't disclose early. That situation will also be rare. And are you sure you want their job?

There are people who don't care. With these, it doesn't make a difference. Maybe one third of the population?

The majority will have say ten CVs in front of them, decide to pick 5 for interviews, and you stand out. They don't know what to expect. They might fear what they don't know. They might fear trouble if you don't get the job and claim it is because of discrimination. All reasons to pick someone else for the interviews. It's also emotionally easy to discriminate against you because you are not there. It's easy to throw away the CV of a person that they don't know, and they don't have to admit to you that they were discriminating. It's ten times harder to tell a voice on the other end of the phone. Hundred times harder to tell someone on the other side of the desk.

Since these people are likely the majority (people with a very slight prejudice that can easily be overcome), you shouldn't in my opinion tell them in your CV.

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