I am a MtF transgender person starting transition in the UK.

Part of the process involves moving from living part of my life male and part female to living full time female, including going to work female.

This means either coming out at work, or moving to new position, interviewing and working as female.

The situation:

I contacted a company to enquire about hires required and as I am at a stage where I want to come out at work or move to a new position and start full time female living I sent the email from a female named account. I need to make this step where I am quite open about who I am but also where I make strong efforts to be who I really am.

They have replied and asked for a CV.

My conundrum

My CV contains some exclusive things on it that will draw the eye and potentially result in an email / phone call / google search to confirm whether they are true or not. I also want to be completely honest and open right from the offset.

So what should I do? I can see three options:

  • reply with a message saying I'm TG so my CV has a boy name and refers to things that will need to be referenced as such
  • reply with my CV attached, but with my name changed and see if I'm invited for interview, broaching the subject at this point
  • let this one go and plan things better in future, perhaps by applying as male then broaching the subject before interview
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    similar to What are tools/resources I can use to check a company for transphobia and sexism during a job search? but this one is not a dupe Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 20:38
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    search fail, I've been on here searching for 'transgender', not 'trans', the duplicate question will help me, thanks Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 20:38
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    Thanks for bringing your question here. I'm trying to understand the conundrum: the past work has an obviously-male name attached to it, or it involves you being in photos/film/etc and visibly male, or something else? What is it that's going to raise eyebrows at that stage? The answers might be different depending on what it is. Thanks. Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 20:47
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    @Leigh - no, that one I found and is only part of the problem. This also involves the "my old references might not know who I am" problem...
    – Telastyn
    Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 20:48
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    I tend to agree that, ideally, this should be treated exactly the same way you'd treat any other name change. The fact that the prior name might suggest a different gender really shouldn't be anyone's business. Either state it in the CV (I like the "(as Previous Name)" approach, or make darned sure that anyone they contact for references or to look up papers is prepared to respond to a query for the new name, or be prepared to deal with that in the interview. Better to have them bemused by your situation than to have them think you're lying in the resume.
    – keshlam
    Commented Jul 20, 2014 at 22:43

6 Answers 6


Speaking as someone who's been through it all and survived... I guess my main advice is that this period of limbo when you're part-time in both roles is not a good time to be job-seeking. Unless you have very good reason to believe your present employer will make your life hell for doing so, it would be far better to get to the point where you're living in one role full-time, you've reached a state where you're feeling content and confident in yourself (don't assume that will happen from day 1 of new life!), and you have all your documentation sorted out before considering a job change. In particular:

  • You do have legal protections where you are and it's a lot easier to prove discrimination in a current job than in an interview, if you experience it.
  • Your present employer may well surprise you and be most accommodating, in which case do you really want to leave them?
  • You will avoid lots of awkward questions; sure you have a reasonable answer, but it all gets in the way of interviewing well. And if you move now you lose the opportunity to work there without anyone knowing your past, if that's what you wish to do.
  • Most importantly, the time ahead of you is going to be seriously mentally and emotionally draining. Loading yourself up with the stress of moving jobs as well is not what you need if you want to stay sane and healthy.
  • And if it all goes horribly wrong, better to do so in a job you're prepared to leave than one you've just won.
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    ... and it's more than likely that current colleagues who you are working with well today are more understanding and supportive than total strangers. Even if they are not all that way, it's likely that there will be many who support you because they know you.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 17:55
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    i was keeping this out of the discussion, but the current employer really needs to fix a lot of stuff to make it worth while career wise for me to stay around, one of my other career related problems is to try and deal with that, but it should cloud this discussion, first and foremost I need to be full time female, so I guess I could come out at work then change if necessary Commented Jul 25, 2014 at 21:16

Speaking as a manager who's worked with MtF transgendered folks in the US, but not actually managed to hire one...

1 - Looking at a resume

I look at resumes incredibly quickly. I care about the name because I want to know who I'm going to be talking to - what name they want to be called in the interview is key. So I want the top of the resume to accurately reflect who I should ask for when I call or walk into the interview... I want the question "Are you Jane?" to be greeted with a "yes", not an "I used to be" - so I'd say go with the female name to avoid confusion, if you will be living as a woman.

2 - Reading deeper

I will (hopefully) read beyond just your name, before making a whether or not to interview decision. For any gender neutral affiliations and jobs (for example, a engineering certification which is likely to be earnable based on ability to past a test, not on gender) - go ahead and claim it as woman. As far as I'm concerned, you earned these things because you are smart and worked hard, and not because of your gender.

The trick would be for any exclusively male jobs or affiliations - if you are a Mason, or a Male Figure Model featured in Gentleman's Monthly - I would suggest leaving these things off as part of your past life. My reasoning:

  • If this is a job you absolutely must be a male to do (male figure model) - then you are no longer qualified if you are living your life as a woman.

  • If this is an affiliation granted exclusively to men, and not overly relevant to your job, you can afford to leave it off. For a case like the Masons, I realize that it's nice, and somewhat useful, to be able to show the affiliation - they are after all a volunteer group that can be well-organized and able to create a profound impact for good, which is nice to show on a resume. If you feel very deeply about the work, or feel a major facet of you is left behind by omitting, then go vague - "was a Mason" = "formerly part of a multinational nonprofit focused on XYZ".

3 - Reference Checks

Understandably, if you have degrees and former jobs, you have the problem that the name of the person who got those credentials and your current name are different. At least in the US, "references available upon request" will cover that initial submission in most cases.

If references are asked for up front in the process, list the way to refer you as a complete thing - "Degree from XYZ, Major ABC, for verification call phone number. Degree attained under the name first, last, which was later changed". You may want to provide a reference to the paperwork for your legal name change when it happens.


The goal is to streamline expectations and to give as consistent a picture of who you are now as possible. Knowing who will be walking in for the interview and what they are capable of/qualified for is the ultimate goal. The process of who to verify who you are and that you've done what you said you would, is secondary.

Also - one thing women do frequently is reference maiden names. We often use "nee MaidenName" or "formerly ThisFullName" - and I think you could likewise.

Will it totally obscure that you are going through a transition? No. In all honesty, having had a number of friends and coworkers make this journey, my general conclusion is that the first year of it is pretty hard and awkward for anyone going through it, so be ready to embrace the awkwardness and have patience with yourself and others.

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    "references available upon request" is also acceptable in the UK, in my epxerience Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 15:54

It's quite common that a reference check is just HR talking to another HR department. Occasionally, as a manager, I'll get an email asking me to confirm that Alice Smith worked for me from date X to date Y.

References, in this litigious age, are almost never personal. I don't think I've ever come across a "Yeah, well, I wouldn't hire them again!" reference.

As I'm sure you know, the Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate due to gender identity. You don't have to reveal your past name, but it may be practical to do so.

This is an issue that women often face if they change their name after marriage. Do you contact all your old employers and ask them to update their systems, or do you put your previous name on your CV and alert the company that you're married?

Personally, I wouldn't mention any of this to a potential employer - I would only mention it to HR.

Individual managers may not fully understand their responsibilities under the Equality Act - but a professional HR department should.

My suggestion is twofold.

  1. If you're comfortable, write to the HR teams at your previous employers and let them know what your new name is and that you would appreciate them responding to reference checks in your new name.

  2. For new companies, write a covering letter for the HR department to say that prior to date X you were known by a different name, that reference checks should be conducted in that name, and that you appreciation their discretion in this matter.

In my experience, it is rare for a hiring manager to conduct a reference / background check themselves. For sensitive personal matters, try to deal with HR exclusively.

Best of luck in all your endeavours.


From what I know from talking with transgenders, you are encouraged to avoid the kind of double life (male in one part, female in the rest) that you are living now, because it makes it harder to convincingly adopt your new gender identity.

For that reason, I would advise to (re-)write your CV as belonging to your female identity. If there are any relevant experiences on your CV from prior to your transition where you expect that the experience will be checked out prior to inviting you to an interview, then you can mention in your cover letter that you were known by a different name at that time.

As far as references go, you basically have two choices:

  • Don't list them with contact details on your CV (you can mention they are available on request). Then you can inform you potential employer when they ask for the references that you are known to them under a different name and why.
  • Come out to those references that you trust enough not to make an issue of it and only list them on your CV. For the other, do it as above.

As far as coming out to your (potential) new employer, the best time would, IMHO, be during the interview. The main reasons for coming out would probably be to answer questions about your past and to explain differences between how you present yourself and what the official documentation states (this last one is especially important for HR). If there are no questions or discrepancies, it may not be needed to come out as a transgender, you could just live your life as if you were born that way. In that case, the choice is entirely yours.

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    Personally, I wouldn't mention it at all to an employer, unless they explicitly ask about it. If you tell them outright, then you put them in an awkward position because not hiring you would mean they're exposing themselves to discrimination charges. PS: IANAL. Commented Jul 20, 2014 at 15:34
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    @RaduMurzea: If the name you want to use in the workplace doesn't match the name on your legal documents (e.g. passport), you will have to do some explaining. Commented Jul 20, 2014 at 16:17
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    One would help that has already been addressed. But you are correct. Your official name recongized by the government should match what you provide to employer.
    – Donald
    Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 11:56
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    guidance on changing name by deed poll in the UK: gov.uk/change-name-deed-poll (annoyingly, you need a passport to prove you are eligible to work in the UK these days) Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 15:55
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    @YvonneAburrow: In 2023 you need to prove that you are a UK citizen, which requires a passport, or that someone has the right to work by going on a government website, and then of course you have to prove you are that person. Again requires passport.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 11:20

Just mention it in the email. Nothing bad will come out of it and if they couldn't handle that in an email response, it would be a very unwelcoming place for you to work anyways.

  1. If they see different names, they'll be confused. If you explain, you just want to do it in a way that makes it clear that you can provide documentation to show that both names are truly you.

  2. If you use the two different names without an explanation, they will be confused and will probably ask anyways. On the chance that they don't ask, they might just disregard it as a scam.

  3. If you somehow managed to get through the whole thing without them asking and without telling them... it doesn't really get you anything. You said they're still going to know your situation once you work there anyways.


You are a female now. Use your female name. This assumes that you officially changed your name. You can, of course, also mention your birth name, which should make things a bit clearer.

Let's look up Dani Bunten in Wikipedia:

Danielle Bunten Berry (February 19, 1949 – July 3, 1998), born Daniel Paul Bunten, and also known as Dan Bunten, was an American game designer and programmer, known for the 1983 game M.U.L.E. (one of the first influential multiplayer games), and 1984's The Seven Cities of Gold.

Bunten underwent sex reassignment surgery in November 1992, so her most famous accomplishments were achieved as a male (or by a female mind trapped inside a male body). Still, she is referred to as a woman (using the personal pronoun "she") in the "male part" or her biography.

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    The assumption is that if you are transgender today then you were transgender all your life - except that people didn’t always know. So you’d say “I thought this person was a man, and I had no reason to think otherwise, but it turns out I was wrong”. Since you know better now, you use “she”.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 11:26

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