DILEMMA | My co-workers aren’t respecting my identity, they keep misgendering me

A reader is finding that their co-workers are misgendering them. The only problem is the reader hasn’t yet spoken up about it yet.


I’m really upset. I’m finding it difficult to face work at the moment. My co-workers keep misgendering me and it’s really upping my anxiety. I would prefer people to refer to me as they, them or their. The only problem is I haven’t found the courage to tell them that’s what I want. I don’t think they’d understand if I tried to explain it. I really can’t face going to work anymore because of it.

Jay, Coventry

Dear Jay,

It’s understandable that you’re upset about your co-workers misgendering you, and of course, that is bound to cause anxiety levels to rise. On the other hand, unless your co-workers are told that you wish to be referred to as they, them or their, they’re not going to know that they are misgendering or upsetting you. Have you spoken to your manager at work?

If your manager is aware of the situation and how you are feeling, they may be able to explain to your colleagues on your behalf that you wish to be referred to as they, them or their. Your manager may also be able to assist you with explaining it to your colleagues yourself if you felt strong enough to do that with support. Either way, try speaking to your manager, or even a trusted colleague, to see what help is available.

A good manager will support you. If you feel unable to speak to anyone at your work, I’d advise contacting your local LGBT+ organisation, if there is one in your area, and finding out what support they’re able to offer. It’s important that you do not continue to suffer in silence if it’s having such a detrimental impact on you.

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