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How to come out at work, about anything

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    Coming out.
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    Typically we think of this
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    as being an experience
    specific to the queer community.
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    But we all have things that
    we're keeping in our closets.
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    It could be something
    about our home and family life,
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    about our mental or physical health.
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    Maybe you're not allergic
    to cats, you just don't like them.
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    I feel you on that one.
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    Whatever it is that you're
    keeping in your closet,
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    it shapes the way
    you navigate the world.
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    That can include your work life.
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    So how do we go about
    disclosing these important,
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    but sometimes difficult to talk about
    aspects of who we are?
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    And when someone comes out to us,
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    what can we best do to
    listen and support them?
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    [The Way We Work]
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    [Made possible
    with the support of Dropbox]
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    Hi, my name's Micah.
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    But it hasn't always been.
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    After a year at my current place of work,
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    I started the process
    of coming out as trans.
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    When I sat down
    with human resources to talk
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    about how to reintroduce
    myself to everybody,
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    neither of us had answers.
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    Nobody at my place of work
    had come out as trans before,
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    but that's what I'm here to offer you.
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    Three tips on how to talk
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    about things that are hard to talk about.
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    And for those of you
    on the other side of the conversation,
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    I have some advice for you too,
    on how you can best listen,
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    respond and be an active ally
    for your colleague.
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    I can't give you the exact words to say,
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    because they should be your own.
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    After all I don't know
    what you're keeping in your closet.
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    But whatever it might be,
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    I hope these tips
    will provide you with a framework
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    that's going to help you decide
    exactly what you want to say
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    and how you want to say it.
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    Know what you want and don't want
    out of the conversation.
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    To know this, ask yourself questions like,
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    do I need anything
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    from the person
    that I'm disclosing this to?
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    Where do I want the conversation
    to go from here,
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    if anywhere at all?
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    And how do I want this person
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    to understand my own relationship
    with this aspect of who I am?
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    So, in my case, I knew
    I wanted people to call me
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    by my new name and pronouns.
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    But I also didn't want them to avoid me
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    out of fear of messing them up.
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    This was going to take time.
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    And I wanted this to feel
    like any other ordinary fact
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    about who I am.
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    So now we know what we want
    to communicate.
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    Let's talk about how
    we're going to say it.
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    By setting the tone.
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    You're going to want
    to present the information
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    in the same way you want
    people to respond to it.
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    They're going to be looking
    and listening for cues
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    on what the appropriate response is.
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    Is this something
    that you want to be celebrated?
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    I'm trans!
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    Or do you want to just address it
    and move on with your life?
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    Oh, by the way, I'm trans.
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    There's no one right way
    to say it for everybody.
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    What's most important here
    is what's right for you.
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    Another note,
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    we're not going to be able
    to control the way
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    in which everybody responds to this.
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    But what we do have control over
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    is how they understand
    our own relationship
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    with this part of who we are.
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    So now that we know what we want to say
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    and how we want to say it,
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    where do we want
    the conversation to go from here?
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    Well, my advice is to give an action item.
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    This will help you keep
    control of the conversation
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    by giving people direction
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    on what they're supposed
    to do or say next.
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    I knew I wanted this to feel like
    any other ordinary fact about who I am.
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    So I decided I was going
    to use my coming out
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    to solve an ordinary problem.
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    And I sent the following email.
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    "Hello all, I need your help.
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    I am in the market for a moisturizer
    to help with my dry skin.
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    I'm also in the process of out as trans.
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    I'm changing my name to Micah
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    and my pronouns are he, him, his.
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    If you have any questions
    about my change in pronouns
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    or my skin care needs,
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    feel free to send an email
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    to my updated contact information.
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    And I'd also like to note
    that while my skin is dry,
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    it is not too sensitive.
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    We're all going to mess up
    my name and my pronouns,
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    myself included.
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    So when this happens,
    don't panic or cringe!
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    Please be kind to yourself
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    as we stumble through
    these growing pains together.
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    I'm fortunate and grateful
    to work in a place
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    where I feel embraced in any form,
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    be it as a transgender man
    or a person with dry skin
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    or in this case, both."
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    Now, I'm going to be honest,
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    I haven't made many changes
    to my skin-care routine
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    since sending this email.
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    But I will say that I am feeling
    much more comfortable
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    in my own skin.
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    And that's what thanks
    to responses like these.
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    [You have all the love and support, Micah!
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    And please know that I
    highly rec Clinique products.]
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    [You are the best.
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    You are and will always be one
    of my favorite people (at work).
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    Even if you do have terribly dry skin.]
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    [Thank you for being you,
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    however much or little you want to talk
    about dry skin, genders, bodies, etc.
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    I will be here for you.]
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    [Thank you for giving us
    permission to mess up ...]
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    Now you might be wondering,
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    if I'm the listener in this conversation,
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    what can I best do to support my colleague
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    other than maybe referring
    them to my dermatologist?
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    Well, for starters, listen
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    with an open heart and an empathetic ear.
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    You're especially going
    to want to listen here
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    for the specific language
    the person is using
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    to describe themself
    and their experience
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    because that's the same language
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    you're going to want to use back to them.
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    You might be tempted to ask
    your coworkers some questions
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    about their identity.
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    Before you ask them a question,
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    ask yourself,
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    can I find the answer to this
    in a search engine?
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    Chances are the answer is yes.
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    And if the answer is no, ask yourself,
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    is this too personal of a question
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    for me to be asking my colleague.
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    One question that is okay to ask though,
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    is there anything I can do
    to support you at this time?
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    This is a note for if you're responding
    in the moment and in person.
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    But if you want to be an active ally,
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    the conversation doesn't end here,
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    it picks up again with your
    colleagues and human resources
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    on how you can make your
    workplace more inclusive
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    of this person's identity.
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    Chances are it's not
    just going to help them
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    but maybe someone else down the line.
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    Now, in my case,
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    it would be adding pronouns
    to your email signature
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    and asking your coworkers to do the same
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    in order to help
    normalize it across the org.
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    It could also be talking to HR
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    about having more trans-inclusive
    health care policies.
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    And my last piece of advice
    is for both the listener
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    and the leader in the conversation.
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    Remember that they're the same person
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    you've always known them to be.
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    It's the weight of stereotypes and stigmas
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    that often keep our closet doors shut.
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    We're afraid people are now
    going to see us as this thing
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    instead of seeing this thing
    as an aspect of who we are,
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    of we've always been.
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    I know that was the case for me too,
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    but it got easier for me
    to say, my name is Micah
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    because of the way I saw it
    not only accepted,
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    but enthusiastically embraced
    by all of my coworkers.
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    So whatever it is
    you're keeping in your closet,
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    I hope these tips empower you
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    to bring your authentic self
    into your workplace
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    and hopefully feel more
    comfortable in your own skin.
Titel:
How to come out at work, about anything
Sprecher:
Micah Eames
Beschreibung:

When TED media coordinator Micah Eames came out as trans at work, he quickly realized he'd need to start having tricky conversations with coworkers. Here's his advice for how you can open up about your identity at work and what your colleagues can do to help.

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Video Language:
English
Team:
TED
Projekt:
TEDTalks
Duration:
06:04

Untertitel in English

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