Read Max’s story and learn about how visibility can drive change.
Is there anybody out there?
In many ways, this feeling describes my coming out journey as trans, especially as a person of color. I generally don’t see people that look like me around me or in positions of leadership, so I’ve constantly been looking for evidence that I’m not alone.
And being seen and heard is so important. So often, policies, guidelines and best practice on trans and non-binary issues can seem like abstract concepts. Early in my coming out journey, I encountered a lot of assumptions about the support in place for trans colleagues at work. But sometimes the good intentions weren’t matched by the concrete measures in place. The willingness was there, and as I pushed, and the issue became about helping out ‘Max’ - a colleague facing a challenge, things started to happen. That’s why visibility is so important. When inclusion has a face, a name, then it becomes about your colleague or friend at work, instead of a distant HR issue.
This matters, especially when the legal protections offered to trans and non-binary people vary from state to state, country to country. It’s reassuring to know today that Deloitte US offers formalised processes that support me as a trans person in the workplace.
Coming from a conservative immigrant background, it was really important to me to be able to show my family that coming out at work wasn’t going to harm my career. What’s more, given you spend so much time at work, it’s important to feel comfortableꟷthe extra pressure of putting up a front isn’t healthy for anyone. Everyone’s story is different, but for me coming out was how I was going to be my best self.
I’m glad that trans and non-binary awareness is generally becoming more mainstream, and that trans and non-binary folks are becoming more visible. As people see the individuals behind the stories, more progress is being made. And at work trans and non-binary stories need to be heard. It can be a struggle sometimes to find other trans and non-binary colleagues to connect with and share experiences. Telling your story is a great way of raising awareness and helping trans colleagues connect.
For anyone else asking if there’s anybody out there: know that you’re not alone and that your story is waiting to be told.
Max (she/her or they/them), Deloitte US
Be your whole self. Be seen. Be heard. Be proud.