How Should I Address My Transgender Colleague?

"I work in a secular workplace, and my new colleague is transgender. When I was introduced to him and found out that he wants to be addressed by a female name and pronouns, I was caught off-guard... How can I speak to him and work with him in a loving way without compromising my Christian convictions?" - TGC

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Aaron Blumer's picture

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Mostly good advice. I would personally caution more on #4 about defending. The workplace isn't really the place to "defend" Christian sexual ethics or a Christian lifestyle. It's certainly a place to live it. But in our connections with unbelievers, we need to keep the main thing the main thing... which can be really hard to do. The main thing is relating to him/her/they the way Christ related to sinners: with compassion, respect, and understanding that there is a deeper need and the surface stuff is just surface stuff. Meditate on John 4.

But I get that some people are working in environments where the LGBTQ agenda is being very aggressively pushed, and it's a tougher situation. Where defense is necessary, I do think speaking a language that's workplace appropriate is wise: the science is clear that male and female are real things, and the science is not clear that decoupling biological sex from gender identity is a good idea for people experiencing gender dysphoria (or anyone else).

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

dgszweda's picture

I don't agree with #3 or #4.  First if you are asked to affirm LGBTQ rights, you can affirm that you support rights for all people to work and live in an environment free of harrassment and discrimination.  You do not need to affirm a lifestyle anymore than you need to affirm that your coworker made the right choice in purchasing a brand new truck.  We should respect people as individuals and we should not harrass or discriminate anyone.  In terms of #4, the workplace is not the appropriate venue to defend religious beliefs.  We are more often than not being paid by a secular employer to perform secular duties in return for pay.

In terms of #2, I tend to avoid pronouns and call people just by their first name.  It avoids confusion.  It avoids you from having to remember everyone's pronouns and it avoids the chance that you may refer to the wrong pronoun.

Bert Perry's picture

I am under the impression that if I were to "deadname" someone intentionally, or deliberately use the wrong pronouns (or perhaps even accidentally), that would lead first to a rather uncomfortable meeting with my manager, and then to one with HR.

Might get one even then, a la the debate over whether "All LIves Matter" in fact implies "Black Lives Matter".   But at least I wouldn't be "begging" for one.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.