Pride at work is priceless, but getting paid is nice

Pride at work is priceless, but getting paid is nice

Is it okay when speaking one-on-one with a new colleague for the first time to ask for pronouns to make sure you’re referring to them correctly, if it hasn’t already been broached?

– anonymous

Yes, it’s okay to ask about pronouns. It shows that you are caring and considerate and recognize that gender exists on a spectrum. We cannot assume that how someone presents is how they identify. Asking about pronouns removes any ambiguity and ensures that you are always referring to your colleagues as they prefer.

As a health care worker, how do you deal with homophobia and transphobia from a patient? Specifically, what strategies can be used to address this when discharging the patient is not an option? In my case, I don’t have my own office, so I work for someone else. My employer is unwilling to let go of this patient’s income, so the solution is to have the patient come on my vacation days. I find this less than ideal. Also, what are my rights here?

– anonymous

Your employer’s solution is less than ideal. Unfortunately, when dealing with bigotry, there are few ideal options. Patients can choose the medical providers as per their choice. I’m not sure you have any recourse, but I’d love for medical professionals to consider this.

I know that many health care workers from diverse backgrounds deal with patient bigotry. This is a significant contributor to burnout in the medical professions. I think it is something that patient visits the office on your vacation days, but it would be better if your employers have principles and refuse to do business with bigots.

They must value your safety and ensure that you work in an environment that does not tolerate discrimination of any kind. You have to decide whether you can continue working on this exercise under these circumstances. And if you can’t, it’s time to find new employment. I wish you the best of luck as you navigate it.

I used to identify as a cis-woman, but came out as nonbinary/gender queer at work last year and shared in a staff meeting that my pronouns are now he/she and they/them. I told the team that I’d like them to be called that but “that’s fine too.” Everyone seemed to confirm, but I’ve never heard or read that any of my coworkers used them to refer to me, and it’s starting to bother me. I want them to confirm my they/those pronouns, at least for the time being, which helps me to be seen and known.

Am I making it too difficult for my colleagues by not always making a firm request to use them/them? How much of my gender spectrum or fluidity can I ask to reasonably identify with? Is it too much to ask them to try to use him/her sometimes and use him/her other times?

– anonymous

You’re never making things too difficult for your colleagues by asking them to respect your pronouns. When you shared your pronouns and said “That’s fine, too,” your colleagues took you at your word. They are using what is most comfortable for you rather than what is most comfortable for you.

If you want to confirm as him/her, you have to make your preference clear without offering him/her a substitute. In an ideal world, people would be mindful of using both sets of pronouns regularly. It’s not too much to ask, but it may be too much to expect in a workplace where you encounter a range of attitudes and familiarities toward gender identity.

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