Coming out as Non-binary at work is as big a step as it is overwhelming.
Although there is a lot of information available today about the LGBTQ+ community, many people still don’t understand what it means to be non-binary.
They don’t understand that’s it a term for people who don’t want to identify as either a male or female.
So it’s easy for non-binary folks to get misgendered.
If you’re non-binary and have decided to take the very bold step of coming out at work, it’s important to know you have made a super important and amazing decision.
I understand that it can be a bit overwhelming, so here are five ways to come out as non-binary at work.
How To Come Out As Non-binary At Work
1. Make Sure You’re Not Alone
Coming out to people in your office can be a very liberating decision.
But to be able to enjoy the full freedom that comes with it, you have to ensure you’re not alone.
You should have a community of allies at work and have your finances in order.
Coming out can be risky so it’s best to know your legal options in case something goes wrong.
But as long you have a strong support system, it’ll be a step you’ll be happy you took.
2. Hard Launch Vs Soft Launch
The best way to come out as non-binary is at your own pace, time, and manner.
This is why you should decide which one would be best suited for you.
You could either hard launch or soft launch your coming out. Let me explain…
Basically, a hard launch is announcing to people in your workplace your gender identity in a grand manner – one that they certainly won’t miss.
For example, you can hard launch your coming out by talking about it in a meeting or even a conference.
On the other hand, a soft launch is a subtle, low-key way of coming out.
You don’t announce it to all but tell a few supportive people and allies.
Then you can let them slowly spread the word.
Another means of soft launching is wearing wristbands, pins…that state your gender identity or preferred pronouns.
You can also add your pronouns to your email and Zoom name.
3. Prepare Ahead
If you’re planning on hard launching your gender identity, it’s best you be prepared.
Most people are unaware of what it means to be non-binary and would certainly have some questions.
You should prepare for these questions.
Write down some questions that you think they might ask, and how to answer them.
Also prepare what you’re going to say during your coming out, especially if you’re nervous.
Be ready to share as much info as possible and necessary with your colleagues.
You may also suggest resources for your colleagues to read to learn more.
4. Pick The Right Time and Place
When coming out at work, picking the right place and time is crucial.
You have to make sure the timing is convenient for you and the people you’re coming out to.
Pick a time when everyone is probably in a good/relaxed mood, or just had a successful meeting.
It doesn’t matter if it’s in person or on the internet.
It would be best to inform a few people, especially your superiors before doing this, to be sure it’s acceptable.
Coming Out Script
If you’re not sure what to say when coming out as non-binary at work, here’s a coming out script our NetWerk Team put together to help ease your anxiety.
First of all, thanks for meeting with me. This is a bit uncomfortable for me to share, but I feel that it’s important for me to bring it up to you. There is something I’ve been keeping to myself for a while now, and I’m ready to talk about. I am non-binary. Meaning, I identify as [insert your preferred pronouns], which means that I [insert any details you feel your employer should know, IF ANY). I know our company values authenticity. And sharing this allows me to come to work as my authentic self. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.
What To Expect After Coming Out As Non-Binary
Deciding to come out at work is a wonderful decision no doubt but it’s not void of consequences.
As much as you’d like to control everyone’s reaction to our message, you can’t.
And this is why you should expect certain common reactions and know how to tackle them.
1. Be Patient
You have to give your coworkers time.
Some people may have a hard time deciding how to react or even understanding your message.
It may also take them some time to get used to addressing you with your correct pronouns.
Or with your new name.
You may have to be a teacher for a little while.
Now if this happens, it doesn’t mean your colleagues are against you (at least not in all cases) or don’t respect you.
This may be new to them and so they’ll need some time to get used to it.
Be patient with them.
2. Be ready to deal with ignorance and discrimination
In some cases, coming out as Non-Binary exposes you to discrimination in the workplace.
As sad and heartbreaking as this is, it’s the reality, so you should be prepared for it.
When you decide to come out, it’s best to make sure you’re safe.
But if something goes wrong, don’t hesitate to leave any workplace that’ll put you in jeopardy, mental and physical health-wise.
You must bear in mind that it’s also not your fault.
You did a brave thing and that is extremely commendable.
Coming Out At Work
Coming out is definitely one brave decision. The best way to live is to be 100% your authentic self.
This is why coming out at work has numerous rewards.
But to enjoy these rewards, you have to pass the milestone of coming out.
All you have to do is prepare yourself, pick the best time, choose between a soft or hard launch, and be patient.
As long as you are sure you are ready for this step and you have the right people supporting you, you have nothing to worry about.
The NetWerk community is here to give you all the support and proper resources you need.