For the past few years I've been weighing up the decisions on whether to transition from male to female by seeing doctors, therapists and doing research into the procedures/medication I may have to take. I've decided that I want to transition.

as I am currently employed I have been wondering when should let my employers know of this change. I know I will have to tell them at some point as my employment records will need to be updated however I don't know if I should let them know prior or wait until I've transitioned.

I know that because I live in Australia it would be illegal for my employers to terminate me because of this decision and I have been accumulating sick days and annual leave so I would make sure that my leave is approved before any Surgery, not to mention that where I work has policies against discrimination.

However when I started this journey I wasn't expecting to get any support form any workplace to begin with and have continued with that in mind. I feel that since this wont impact my work ethic it's more of a personal thing about my private out-of-work life and I don't feel as if I have to announce this before hand.

So should I let my employer know if I plan to go through Hormone Replacement Therapy/Sexual Realignment Surgery?

  • 10
    Have you discussed this with your therapist, doctor? They're sure to have met this question before, so knowing what their advice is would be helpful here. – user44108 Sep 18 '18 at 6:33
  • 4
    I'd also suggest asking your therapist about local support groups; the best people to ask are those who have done this before. – Jane S Sep 18 '18 at 6:47
  • Few years of research? Have you been researching all this with professionals or just random strangers on the internet? – Kilisi Sep 18 '18 at 9:08
  • 1
  • 2
    @Kilisi I don't see how the answers to your questions would help answering OP's question. – kukis Sep 18 '18 at 12:41

You should talk to the experts and take their advice. Talk to your therapist, your doctor, support groups, and above all talk to other women who have gone through this process and learn from their experiences.

You absolutely cannot do this by yourself. There is support out there, professional, valuable, knowledgeable support. It's there to be used, so take advantage of it.

Companies are becoming more open to this kind of situation, but going about it the wrong way can lead to misunderstandings and upsets. The professionals will guide you here, both practically and emotionally.

The internet doesn't know you and doesn't know your personal circumstances, personality, anxieties, strengths, etc. A truly appropriate answer for you can only come from people who know you and where you're coming from.


I'm going to be a bit speculative on my answer and would like to temper it with that while I've trans friends I am not trans; furthermore, my experience stems from the US which can be very different politically than Australia. This answer also assumes that your manager will be accepting of your transition.

Sooner is better

As a manager, I want to know about big changes that would substantially impact my workforce in as timely a manner as possible. Although discrimination may not be legal, it doesn't mean that it will not happen, so it's important to get ahead of that. Typically this is for things like maternity leave, sabbatical, or a return to college. I think a transition like this is probably a level above those examples simply because the outward expression is so much more obvious, but is all the more reason to be proactive instead of reactive.

As an accepting person, I also want to know so that I can prepare myself mentally for the change you're requesting, but also so I can work to address the other members of the staff as well as clients. This may mean additional training. Although I cannot stop people from saying things in private, I can try and be more proactive to ensure that in a professional setting things stay professional.

Changes to pronouns and avoiding dead naming can be difficult for people to understand. Were I your manager, I would prefer to not have to figure out why you're asking for a month off and be surprised on your return that you're not Bob anymore and want to be called Barbara. It will be confusing and invite a lot of questions that can't be asked to you directly. By addressing it beforehand, training efforts can be geared to help simplify things so that when you come back your co-workers aren't shocked and aren't asking potentially insensitive questions.

Best of luck with your transition.


I've decided that I want to transition.

Congratulations! You've made a milestone in your life. Hopefully you will emerge as a happy girl / woman for the rest of your life!

it would be illegal for my employers to terminate me because of this decision

Yes, however be prepared, especially financially. Aside from the major expenses of HRT drugs (and various surgeries if you decide to get them), you'd probably want to set aside some funds to cover the possibility that you'll lose your job (or end up so miserable that you quit). Depending on your local area and your skill sets, you may even consider changing industry.

So should I let my employer know if I plan to go through Hormone Replacement Therapy?

No, I would not recommend it. You'd expose yourself to possible discrimination for a longer duration, while there is no benefit from this action. An exception would be you work in a profession that is tightly related to your gender and/or appearance.

Now, it is true you'll need to let everyone know at some point. When? When you're changing your name! It's a personal thing for everyone else in the office.

Your records in the company are more tightly related to your legal identity (i.e. when can your national ID card / password show you as "female"). I'm unaware of the requirements in Australia, but common sense guess you should update those at the same time as you get your new ID, then update bank records, passports etc.

Note that these two events (getting everyone to call you as a female and getting your legal gender updated) are usually separate.

So should I let my employer know if I plan to go through Sexual Realignment Surgery?

No you should not. No one cares what is underneath your panties. As long as you pass, there is no need to inform anyone about SRS (or whether you have done it or not).

Unfortunately that is all I can share in a Stack Exchange post. As stated by other users, you will get more support by contacting local groups and doctors in your area. You've made a great decision and good luck to your transition!

  • 1
    I think the right time is not when you change your name, but when there is a notable visible change that will cause people to ask questions. Tell them just before they ask questions. And many places will have a blabber mouth or two who make sure every bit of news goes around in the company. You don't want to wait until the blabber mouth jumps to wrong conclusions; there will be talk and you want it controlled by you. – gnasher729 Sep 18 '18 at 13:15
  • @gnasher729 that will coincide the time you change your name. Transition is a gradual process, and it will get increasingly noticeable over a couple of months. Therefore some people will ask questions sooner and some will ask later. So the appropriate time will be when some start asking questions, but not too much. – mandy Sep 18 '18 at 15:35
  • Australia doesn't have a "national ID card". There are a bunch of different things that could be considered "legal identity", each subject to its own rules. For instance, changing one's gender markers on a passport (administered by federal government) may have different requirements to a birth certificate (administered by ten different state/territory governments, each with its own laws). – Geoffrey Brent Sep 19 '18 at 5:26

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .