Gender and Sexuality Alliance
The Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) is a student organization dedicated to providing a safe environment for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered students, and their straight allies. We strive to offer support to our campus LGBTQIA+ community. Meetings are held while classes are in session.
The Counseling Center is an important part of the Student Development mission of maintaining a supportive campus atmosphere, fostering personal and academic growth, supporting cultural diversity and eliminating barriers to academic goals.
There is no charge for our service and the Counseling Center is conveniently located on campus, in the Counseling, Health, and Wellness Center. The Counseling Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm during the fall and spring semesters. (During the summer the counseling center is open Monday through Friday from 8 am to noon and 1 to 4 pm)
kNOw Violence Campaign
Recognizing that one in four college women will be raped or sexually assaulted and that 25% of women will be in a violent relationship during their college years, kNOw Violence aims to provide quality services to women who are affected by violence. Know violence functions to provide proactive educational services to students, faculty, and staff about the issues of sexual violence. Through programming and other educational services, kNOw Violence aims to positively change the environment at SUNY Oneonta to create a place where violence is not only unacceptable but non-existent.
Milne Library & Resource Library
The Milne Library has many books on a variety of LGBTQ topics and also hosts a number of databases with access to peer-reviewed journals on topics of gender and sexuality.
In collaboration with Milne Library, we have a Gender and Sexuality Libguide available for students to access a myriad of resources related to gender and sexuality topics.
The GSRC also has dozens of educational and entertaining books, journals, films and more for the community to peruse and check out.
Checking Out Guidelines:
1) Items can be checked out for up to 2 weeks.
2) No more than 3 items can be checked out at a time.
To check out an item, please visit the GSRC and speak with a student coordinator.
Have something you'd like to donate to the library? Feel free to bring it to the GSRC! We're always taking donations.
Local and Regional Resources
Otsego Pride Alliance
The mission of Otsego Pride Alliance is to support, raise awareness, and create an understanding of the LGBTQIA+ community and its needs in the Otsego County area. We work to foster open-mindedness and the creation of safe places for members of the community, allies, friends, and family to express themselves freely. By recognizing the full spectrum of sexual orientation and gender identity we seek to promote an environment in which all feel welcome. To these ends, we engage in community outreach, activism, and other activities including an annual Pridefest. The alliance meets biweekly at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta.
Gender Wellness Center
The Gender Wellness Center at Susquehanna Family Practice offers services tailored to meet the needs of gender nonconforming patients. The caring and professional staff has advanced training in providing health and psychological services to the transgender community. The Gender Wellness Center is located in the Fox care Center in Oneonta.
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center provides a home for the birth, nurture, and celebration of our organizations, institutions, and culture; cares for our individuals and groups in need; educates the public and our community, and empowers our individuals and groups to achieve their fullest potential. This center is located in New York City.
Family Planning of South Central New York, Inc.
Oneonta's Family Planning of South Central NY provides resources, support, and comprehensive education around sex and reproductive health. Their mission is to advocate and provide individuals, families, and organizations in our region with information, education and healthcare services pertaining to human sexuality and reproductive health in a private and confidential manner, respectful of all beliefs, supporting individual freedom of choice and responsibility.
Pride Center of the Capital Region
The mission of the Pride Center of the Capital Region is to promote the well-being of all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer-identified people and those affected by discrimination based on gender identity and expression. Based in Albany, the Pride Center has been meeting the diverse needs of LGBTQ people in a ten county region since 1970. Our programs, both at the Center (332 Hudson Ave in Albany) as well as held throughout the region, meet the health and human service needs of the LGBTQ community as well as educate and advocate for those needs in the broader Capital Region.
Gender Equality New York Inc. (GENY)
Gender Equality New York, Inc. (GENY) is a statewide, incorporated non-profit whose mission is to support transgender, gender non-binary, and intersex (TGNBI) New Yorkers and their families. Our leadership group, made up of active community advocates, believes that justice and equality for this vulnerable community can only be won by an organization built by and of community members who bring their lived experiences and passions to spearhead this needed and important work. GENY is committed to gaining equal rights and ending discrimination as we work to achieve economic, educational, racial, and social equality for our communities. Our mission is to educate, advocate, connect, and empower in order to bring equality and justice across New York.
Online Educational and Support Resources
- Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.
- The NYS Division of Human Rights' mission is to ensure that " every individual . . . has an equal opportunity to participate fully in the economic, cultural and intellectual life of the State." You can go here to learn about your protections in New York State and how to report when your rights are violated.
- Refuge Restrooms is a website and mobile device app that helps identify safe restrooms based on geographical location. Search by town, city, or zip code to see where the closest gender-inclusive restrooms are for you.
- StrandsforTrans is a website that provides a map of barber shops and salons that are gender inclusive and welcoming to trans* folks.
- Quist is a mobile device app that provides historical information in regards to the LGBTQIA+ population. Events range from LGBTQ individuals’ contributions to the arts and sciences, watershed moments in the LGBTQ liberation movements, milestones of the HIV epidemic, specific love stories from the last several hundred years, significant court cases and executions, and worldwide “firsts” from the first transgender member of parliament’s election to the first time a same-sex wedding aired on a sitcom.
- MyPronouns.org is a resource site that provides education and guidance around different personal pronouns and how to use them properly. This includes common pronouns used, how to ask someone their personal pronouns, navigating mistakes, and more.
- The Movement Advancement Project (MAP) is a resource that assesses and outlines various policies and laws that protect members of the LGBTQIA+ population in areas including employment, housing, public accommodations, health care, and more. The site includes maps of the states and reports on these various topics.
- The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLESN) strives to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
- The National LGBTQ Taskforce ("The Taskforce"): We’re building a future where everyone is free to be themselves in every aspect of their lives. Today, despite all the progress we’ve made to end discrimination, millions of LGBTQ people face barriers in every aspect of their lives: in housing, employment, healthcare, retirement, and basic human rights. These barriers must go. That’s why the Task Force is training and mobilizing millions of activists across our nation to deliver a world where you can be you.”
- COLAGE (Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere) unites people with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer parents into a network of peers and supports them as they nurture and empower each other to be skilled, self-confident, and just leaders in our collective communities.
- The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
- WeRNative is a "comprehensive health resource for Native youth, by Native youth, providing content and stories about the topics that matter most to them. We strive to promote holistic health and positive growth in our local communities and nation at large."
- Advocates for Youth partners with youth leaders, adult allies, and youth-serving organizations to advocate for policies and champion programs that recognize young people’s rights to honest sexual health information; accessible, confidential, and affordable sexual health services; and the resources and opportunities necessary to create sexual health equity for all youth.
- Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays promotes the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons, their families and friends through support, to cope with an adverse society; education, to enlighten an ill-informed public; and advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights.
- Family Equality provides virtual community building and support spaces for families via The Neighborhood: A Virtual Hub for LGBTQ+ Families, which offers LGBTQ+ families and those who wish to form them opportunities to connect with one another, learn, grow, and have fun.
- The Bisexual Resource Center envisions a world where love is celebrated, regardless of sexual orientation or gender expression. Because bisexuals today are still misunderstood, marginalized and discriminated against, the BRC is committed to providing support to the bisexual community and raising public awareness about bisexuality and bisexual people.
- The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. NBJC’s mission is to end racism and homophobia. As America’s leading national Black LGBT civil rights organization focused on federal public policy, NBJC has accepted the charge to lead Black families in strengthening the bonds and bridging the gaps between the movements for racial justice and LGBT equality.
- Trans Student Educational Resources is a youth-led organization dedicated to transforming the educational environment for trans and gender nonconforming students through advocacy and empowerment. In addition to our focus on creating a more trans-friendly education system, our mission is to educate the public and teach trans activists how to be effective organizers. We believe that justice for trans and gender nonconforming youth is contingent on an intersectional framework of activism. Ending oppression is a long-term process that can only be achieved through collaborative action.
- The National Center for Transgender Equality is a national social justice organization devoted to ending discrimination and violence against transgender people through education and advocacy on national issues of importance to transgender people. By empowering transgender people and our allies to educate and influence policymakers and others, NCTE facilitates a strong and clear voice for transgender equality in our nation's capital and around the country.
- Black Lives Matter: “Black queer and trans folks bear a unique burden from a hetero-patriarchal society that disposes of us like garbage and simultaneously fetishizes us and profits off of us, and that is state violence.”
- Colorlines is a daily news site where race matters, featuring award-winning investigative reporting and news analysis. Check out the ‘Gender and Sexuality’ tab in the menu bar to find out more LGBT related stories.
- The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN): AVEN hosts the world's largest online asexual community as well as a large archive of resources on asexuality. AVEN strives to create open, honest discussion about asexuality among sexual and asexual people alike.
- xysuz is a website dedicated to providing resources and awareness around intersex experiences and issues.
- Q Christian Fellowship prophetically models a world where all LGBTQ+ people are fully loved by family, church, and community, and Christians worldwide live up to their calling to be instruments of grace and defenders of the outcasts. It is an organization that strives to build community and support for those in the LGBTQ+ community that struggle with their identities and love of Christ.
Advocacy & Organizations to Support
Want some tips on how to be a better active ally? Check out our suggestions below.
Inclusive language is words or phrases that acknowledge diversity, respects everyone, is sensitive to differences, and promotes equal opportunities. You should always use inclusive language because it ensures everyone is being treated with respect even if you don’t know their preferred communication.
You should always be mindful of people’s preferred pronouns, and never assume them. If you’re unsure of what they would like to be addressed by, you can always ask the person, or use inclusive pronouns like they/them. Asking is always better than misspeaking and you are showing the person you acknowledge them.
Group Inclusive Language
Think of ways you can address groups of people in inclusive ways. Have fun with it and be creative while also being mindful of your audience. Here are some ideas:
• You all or y’all
• Folks or folx
Trans Inclusive Language:
When referencing the time before someone has transitioned you can use these phrases:
• When you were younger
• When you had shorter/longer hair
If they are openly trans you can say:
• Before you transitioned
• When you were presented as “x”
Using inclusive language isn’t scary! Being mindful of what you say is a small change to make to your daily life, especially when it makes a huge difference to others.
Privilege is a set of unearned benefits given to specific social groups. Because of our race, class, gender, sexual orientation, language, geographical location, ability, religion, etc. some of us have access to more benefits like resources and social power.
Forms of Privilege:
• As someone who is white and part of the community you have privilege
• As someone who is cis and straight, you have privilege
• As someone who is financially stable, you have privilege
• As someone who is able-bodied, you have privilege
As an ally and as someone privileged, you should speak up. Though the LGBTQIA+ community is one that seems open and accepting, there is still a lot of racism, transphobia, and bias that takes place. It is your responsibility to speak up for those who are silenced in and out of the community.
How to use your privilege:
• Pay attention and recognize people’s accomplishments who may have not been acknowledged
• Speak up in support of the ideas of those who are not being listened to
• Hold the people around you accountable for their bias
• Learn about the prejudice and challenges faced by those in and out of the community
• Create a safe space for your peers
• Give your resources to those who do not receive them
Implicit and Explicit Bias
Implicit bias is when an individual has a bias or prejudice against another individual without their own conscious knowledge. The reason for implicit bias is different for everyone but it can be deconstructed through personal work. A common form of implicit bias are microagressions (words or gestures that unconsciously communicate a prejudiced perspective).
Deconstructing Implicit Bias:
• Be aware of your bias
• Have conversations about where you are seeing bias
• Notice your initial thoughts when seeing/meeting someone different than you
• Try to find where that bias is originating from
• Be open minded about people who are different than you
• Be open to change and be respectful while doing it
Explicit bias is when an individual is aware of their bias or prejudice towards other individuals. The actions from explicit bias are inexcusable.
Deconstructing Explicit Bias:
• Speak up when you see bias taking place
• Set an example that bias is never accepted
• Have discussions with others to stop bias from taking place
Since implicit bias and explicit bias are connected, deconstructing implicit bias first will stop explicit bias from taking place.
Holding Yourself Accountable
Being an ally is journey. You are always learning to be a better ally and practicing things you could do better. Sometimes mistakes are made, but what matters is how you fix them.
Realize your internalized biases:
Based on your location and how you were raised, bias may have been instilled in you from a young age. It is important to know that these bias's can be realized and deconstructed. Educate yourself on the harm these bias's cause people and look to make a change from within.
Ex: What to do if you accidentally misgender someone:
When creating a safe space, using correct pronouns is an important action. If you make a mistake, your reaction in that moment is crucial.
• Center the feelings of those you misgendered, not your own
• Do not get defensive and ask to be cut some slack
• Acknowledge the mistake and move on quickly to not draw so much attention to it
• Apologize and correct yourself but do not make a scene
Being an ally never stops, there is always ways to improve and keep those in the community safe. Continue to have those tough conversations with yourself and make changes for the better of those around you.
Educating yourself on LGBTQIA+ terms, news, issues, etc. is the basis of being a good ally. You are making sure you are well informed so you can empower those around you and make changes where you notice they are lacking
Take the time to understand the hardship and obstacles people in the community face. Educate yourself on not only LGBTBIA+ issues around your environment, but also all over the world.
Asking educated questions to your peers is a great way to start conversations and become informed. Most likely, they will be happy to help and appreciate you making an effort. However, be sure you are asking appropriate questions and not having members relive their trauma.
Resources to help get educated:
• Center for American Progress - The State of the LGBTQ Community in 2020
• American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) - LGBTQ Rights
• The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) - Combatting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
Protest is an umbrella term for an action that expresses disapproval towards something.
Forms of protest
• Sit Ins
• Posters and banners
Donate your time to some charitable organizations in your local area. Charities can always use an extra hand so reaching out to them to see where you are needed could be a great opportunity!
Reaching out to your communities’ legislators can do more than you think. Continuing to call or email these politicians show that you care about what is happening in your community and you will take a stand to prove it.
It is a privilege to have extra funds to donate to movement. If you are privileged enough, consider donating to some charities or organizations that need the extra help.
These actions take a lot of time and work, not being able to complete them is okay. There are still actions you can take with committing little time.
Sharing informational posts can be a great way of getting the word out. You also have the ability to reach so many more people online than in person. Be aware of what you are posting. Avoid sharing content that displays bias because it can be triggering for some. Signing online petitions can be a great way to make a change. After signing you can share out the link to reach out to more people and get more signatures.
Below are some advocacy organizations you can learn more about and support.
- Black Visions Collective is a trans & queer led social justice organization and legal fund based in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Black Visions Collective envisions a world in which ALL Black Lives Matter.
- The Marsha P. Johnson Institute’s mission is to protect and defend the human rights of Black transgender people.
- The National Center for Black Equity connects members of the Black LGBTQ+ community with information and resources to empower their fight for equity and access. Their mission is to promote a multinational LGBTQ+ network dedicated to improving health and wellness opportunities, economic empowerment, and equal rights while promoting individual and collective work, responsibility, and self-determination.
- The LGBTQ+ Freedom Fund posts bail to secure the safety and liberty of people in jail and immigration detention.
- The Emergency Release Fund, part of the National Bail Fund Network, posts bail for pretrial medically vulnerable individuals and anyone who identifies as LGBTQ+.
- For the Gworls is an NYC-based organization that raises money to assist with Black trans people’s rent & affirmative surgeries.
- Black Transmen is a nonprofit organization focused on social advocacy and empowering trans men with resources to aid in a healthy transition.
- The Okra Project is a collective that seeks to address the global crisis faced by Black Trans people by bringing home cooked, healthy, and culturally specific meals and resources to Black Trans People wherever we can reach them.
- Trans Women of Color Collective, a grass-roots funded global initiative, uplifts the narratives and experiences of trans people of color and offers them opportunities.
- The House of GG creates safe and transformative spaces where members of the community can heal from generational trauma, primarily focusing on trans women of color in the South.
- Trans Justice Funding Project is a community-led funding initiative founded in 2012 to support grassroots, trans justice groups run by and for trans people in the United States.
- Black Queer & Intersectional Collective, a grassroots community organization, works toward liberation through direct action, community organizing, education, and creating spaces to uplift voices.
Sexual Health Resources
The Hump Day Wagon is an initiative led through the Office of Health Education on campus, where students can pick up various types of condoms and other items to help make sex safe and fun. There's also information available around STDs and STIs.
SUNY SAVR is a SUNY-wide online resource for members of the SUNY community who may have experienced sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking. This site provides information that can be used to seek resources and support and to report the crime to law enforcement and the campus. Resources are listed for each SUNY campus.
Ask Roo is a chatbot app through Planned Parenthood. Roo answers all your awkward questions about sexual health, relationships, growing up, and more. Chatting with Roo is free and private, so go ahead and ask the things you don't want to ask out loud. Roo's answers are backed by professional health educators from Planned Parenthood.
O.School is a fantastic resource for all folx of all ages. According to their about me, "We help people build sexual confidence through medically-accurate videos, articles and live streams. We’re here for everyone - whether you’re having lots of sex or no sex, there’s so much to know about your body. We work with a community of Pleasure Professionals that includes gynecologists, dating coaches, sex educators and therapists who cover a wide range of topics including health, consent, gender, sexuality, dating, sex after trauma, sex and disability, and more. We offer free live stream sessions where you can ask anything you want anonymously."
Sex, Etc. is a website by teens for teens with a focus on sexuality and sex education. Get connected to local resources, learn about different experiences, and join people all over the world who are advocating for rights over their bodies.
Scarleteen is home of the YES NO MAYBE chart, as well as an independent, grassroots sexuality and relationships education and support organization and website. It is typically the most popular and most widely used site specifically providing sex and relationships information and support for young people worldwide and has been so through most of its tenure.
Black AIDS Institute works to end the Black HIV epidemic through policy, advocacy, and high-quality direct HIV services.
The Another Closet: Domestic Violence in Gay and Lesbian Relationships website is written for people in same-sex or LGBTIQ relationships who are or may be experiencing domestic violence. It contains information on what domestic violence is, what to do if you are experiencing abuse, tips for making a crisis plan and the details for some referral services in NSW.
Trans Survivors is a blog and website full of resources for trans survivors of sexual violence. Posts cover topics including personal stories of resilience, tools for coping with post-traumatic thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, resources for survivors, and inspirational messages. It is an extension of FORGE, a transgender anti-violence organization.
Go Ask Alice! is supported by a team of Columbia University health promotion specialists, health care providers, and other health professionals, along with a staff of information and research specialists and writers. Our team members have advanced degrees in public health, health education, medicine, counseling, and a number of other relevant fields.
Helpful Youtube Channels:
The CDC Team welcomes you to come to any of our events and activities throughout the semester, or reach out to us if you have a programming idea! The CDC is a space that welcomes all students and offers a safe space for those who identify as LGBTQIA+. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by the Career Development Center on the first floor of the Hunt Student Union within the Experiential Learning Center.
For LGBTQIA+ individuals:
- Out Professionals: Networking group of over 1,000 members and 4,500 email subscribers from different work backgrounds and 600 different companies. Connect with potential mentors and make social connections.
- Corporate Equality Index: Human Rights Campaign's searchable database for employment policies and practices pertaining to LGBTQIA+ employees. Also reviews corporate medical benefits from a transgender inclusion perspective. “Your Stories” highlights stories from LGBTQ persons in the workplace.
- Coming Out at Work: Human Rights Campaign's list of questions to ask yourself and consider while deciding whether to come out at work.
- Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals: Promotes equality within higher education environments in which LGBTQIA+ students, staff, and administrators.
- Out & Equal: National organization devoted to the LGBTQIA+ community in the workplace, offering resources, links and information.
- The Queer Career Blog: A NYC based, Career Coaching platform for LGBTQIA+ professionals who need help navigating the workforce while not compromising their identity and maintaining their values. Run by queer professionals who’ve lived through the job search and want to help others find their way.
- The LGBT Bar: The National LGBT Bar Association of lawyers, judges, law students, activists and affiliated LGBTQIA+ legal organizations.
- NOGLSTP: The National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals is a group of LGBTQIA+ professionals in the STEM fields.
- NGLCC: A non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
- LGBT Connect: Connecting employers with the LGBTQIA+ community to help connect organizations that support and value diversity and inclusion within the workplace.
(Adapted from Brockport Career Services)
- Professional Women's Network: LinkedIn group that includes professionals from various industries and offers resources, discussion groups, job postings, and networking opportunities for women.
- LiveCareer: Career articles, tools, job sites, and tips for women job-seekers.
- Bossed Up: Provides resources, expert training and community for working women.
- Women for Hire: Offers a variety of career and job resources for women, including recruiting job fairs, career coaching, resume and job-search advice, and more.
- WAGE Project: Established to end discrimination against women in the workplace. WAGE inspires and helps working women to take the steps needed so that every woman is paid what she's worth.
- Advancing Women: Provides resources and job boards for women, diversity, tech candidates.
- Women's Job List: Provides job seekers with easy access to companies who promote diversity and inclusion within their workplaces.
- NYWICI: New York Women In Communications posts job listings for women in the communications field.
- American Association for Women in Psychology: Diverse feminist community of psychologists and allied professionals invested in the integration of personal, professional, and political power in the service of social justice.
- American Association of University Women: AAUW is the nation’s leading voice promoting equity and education for women and girls. AAUW members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day — educational, social, economic, and political.
- American Business Women's Association: Resource for working women and business women to support, motivate, and provide networking with other women.
- American Medical Women's Association: AMWA focuses on advancing women in medicine and improve women's health.
Trans & Non-binary Job Seeking F.A.Q.
(Adapted from RIT's Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education)
Whether you are seeking your first co-op or full-time position, changing careers, or advancing in your current role, there are many resources available that can help you successfully navigate challenges you may face as a transgender or gender non-binary individual. If you would like to discuss these issues more in-depth, please visit the Career Development Center in first floor of the Hunt Student Union (within the Experiential Learning Center) to meet with a Career Advisor.
Should I out myself in my application, resume, or cover letter?
It depends. This is a very personal decision; there is no right or wrong answer. You will need to make a decision based on your own level of comfort and interest in sharing your gender identify with others weighed against the research you have done about the company.
Which name should I use on my resume?
Again, it depends. A resume is not a legal document, so it is acceptable to use your preferred/chosen name. Some individuals prefer to list their first initial followed by their preferred/chosen name (e.g., T. Michelle Richards) or identify their preferred/chosen name in quotes (e.g., Taylor “Michelle” Richards). You can also list a “prior name” if your previous employers know you by another name.
Remember that your resume is usually the first image of you that an employer will have. Using the name that goes with your gender identity/expression will help your employer see you the way that you wish to be seen.
When do I need to use my legal name?
Your legal name should be used for background checks, on social security documents, and on insurance forms. If you have taken steps to legally change your name, then you may use your new legal name for these purposes. Remember that Human Resources managers are required to maintain confidentiality, but there is always some risk of disclosure. You can use your preferred/chosen name in your email, phone directory, and company information.
Can my resume include jobs I held under a different name/before my transition?
Yes, and you should include them. Many people are concerned that by including a job on their resume, they are giving employers permission to contact the former employer. This is not true! If your former employer is transphobic or simply knows you as a different name/gender, you can include that job on your resume without giving the new employer permission to contact them.
It may raise a red flag for employers if you ask them not to contact a former employer without giving an explanation. If your new employer is trans-friendly, you can explain why you don't want them contacting the old employer. Or, you can provide contact info for someone other than your supervisor, such as a friendly coworker who knows you and can confirm that you worked there.
Transitioning doesn't have to mean "starting over" professionally. Even though you may feel like a new person, you still benefit from all the skills and experiences you gained in previous jobs.
What if my references don't know I'm trans? What if they don’t know I’ve changed my name/transitioned? And/or, What if my references do know I'm trans or gender non-binary, but I don't want new employers to know right now?
You have a few options, which are listed below. You may choose one of these strategies, or a combination, depending on your situation:
1. Talk to your references. Explain that you're applying for jobs and you'd like to continue to list them as a reference, but that it's very important they refer to you by the name and pronoun you use now.
This option can seem intimidating, especially if you've been out of touch for a while, but it's often worth a try. If they respect you and your work, they should be willing to support you in your job search.
2. Talk to potential employers. Explain that even though you go by a particular name and pronoun now, people from your past may not be aware of this and may refer to you by another name. Ask them to help maintain your privacy when they call your references, by using the name and pronoun with each reference that you provide to them.
If you are concerned about your former supervisors or co-workers knowing about your transition, make sure to clarify to the hiring manager or the person who will be calling your references that you do not want other employees to hear about your new name and/or gender identity.
3. Use new references. If coming out to references or employers is not an option for you, you may need to find new references. This option is particularly useful if you're switching careers and/or it's been a long time since you worked. Some ways to get new references are volunteering, working in unpaid internships, and taking classes where your teachers can serve as references. This does not mean you're starting over. Your new supervisor may be able to speak to skills/experiences that you acquired in previous jobs, especially if you're staying in the same field of work.
Should I out myself in the interview? What type of professional attire should I select?
Suggested interview attire can vary widely by industry; you should dress how you are comfortable, being sure that you will make a good first impression to your interviewer. Many select professional but gender-neutral clothing choices. Again, this is a highly individualized decision. You may want to conduct a mock interview to help prepare yourself, whether you wish to out yourself in the application process or not. Any of our Career Advisors in the CDC can help you set up a mock interview. You should also aim for consistency in the application process; your presentation, the names on your resume and email, outgoing voicemail box, etc., should all be the same if at all possible.
What about health insurance? Can I list my gender identity while signing up for coverage? Won’t that out me?
Another complex question. While privacy regarding the gender marker on insurance coverage is covered by Human Resources, health insurance is highly gender specific. It is highly recommended that you consult with a trans-savvy medical provider or legal counsel to select which gender you will use for health care purposes.
Which employers are trans-positive? How do I find out about the environment for queer people at a particular company?
You can start by reviewing company websites and talk to anyone you know who works at the company. Your Career Advisor can help you find connections. While it is difficult to truly understand how inclusive an organization is, good clues of a supportive environment include: anti-discrimination policies which include sexual orientation and gender identity, domestic partner benefit policies, diversity education programs, employee resource groups (ERG’s), gender neutral bathrooms, and commitment to diversity present in the company’s mission statement.
I’m already employed and I plan to keep my job while I transition. Anything I need to know?
There is no universal set of rules; let your comfort and preferences guide the process. There are a number of resources to support you in this process as well. Some companies (American Airlines, Chevron, and Ernst and Young) have guidelines that you may consult.
Coming Out Resources
From The Human Rights Campaign, “Coming out in order to live openly isn’t something you do once, or even for one year. It’s a decision that we make every single day of our lives. Every coming out experience is unique and must be navigated in the way most comfortable for the individual. Whether it's for the first time ever or the first time today, coming out can be an arduous journey. It is also a brave decision to live authentically.”
As you consider your own path in coming out, check out the resources below for useful tips and suggestions on what you can do. If you know someone who has come out or plans to come out and you’d like to support them, there are resources below for you, too.
Resources for LGBTQIA+ Individuals
- Human Rights Campaign (HRC) – General Coming Out Resources
- HRC: Coming Out: Living Authentically as Black LGBTQ People
- HRC: Coming Out: Living Authentically as LGBTQ Latinx Americans
- HRC: Coming Out: Living Authentically as LGBTQ Asian and Pacific Islander Americans
- HRC: Coming Out: Living Authentically as Transgender or Non-Binary
- HRC: Coming out as Bisexual
- The Trevor Project – A Coming Out Handbook
- Should You Come Out to Your Parents?
- The Advocate - Four Tips for Coming Out to Your Parents [video]
- Coming Out to Christian Parents
- Strong Family Alliance - How to Come Out to Your Parents
Resources for Parents
- Strong Family Alliance – So Your Child Just Came Out, What Should you Do? [video]
- The Advocate – 5 Tips For parents of LGBT Kids [video]
- PFLAG – Various Publications on Coming Out Support
- FreedHearts - Faith-Based & Inclusive Resources for Parents
Resources for Friends/Allies