When I came out at work, I spent a tremendous effort to remove any instances of my deadname. I changed my email, replaced my ID card, updated the HR software, and edited all of my previous work to remove any reference to my deadname. I didn’t want anyone new to learn it or anyone else to be reminded of it. I wanted that name to disappear and it worked. My deadname has completely disappeared at work, there should be no way for someone new to learn it. Unless someone were to intentionally out me, which is what happened earlier this week.
I came into work a few days ago to find that I had been CC’ed on an email where I was referred to by my deadname. The email was sent to my entire department and used my dead name, followed by my current full legal name in parentheses. Besides my boss, everyone in my department is new. None of them knew that I was transgender or my deadname. I was outed to them against my will and there was nothing I could do about it.
It is impossible for me to see this as anything but an intentional act to out me. First, my deadname is not on any systems with the company. There was no way to accidentally stumble upon my deadname and believe that it was correct. Second, the legal name they used in the email was not the name that I go by at work. The email listed my current full first name, however, I go by a shorted version at work. My email and all work accounts only list the shortened version of my full name, but the email listed my full first and middle name. You could not stumble upon these, you would have to intentionally look for them. Lastly, even if they thought my deadname was my current name then there was no justification or explanation for listing my current name immediately afterward. The only reason to include both was to draw a connection between the two names. I can’t see a viable way that this could be a simple mistake.
I immediately spoke to my boss, who was very understanding. They had also received the email but hadn’t noticed the use of my deadname when he skimmed it. After reading it, they agreed that it was clearly intentional and that it had to be addressed somehow. My boss scheduled a meeting for me to talk with HR later this week, but also offered the hope that others had only skimmed it like they had. This was unfortunately overly optimistic. As soon as I left their office, coworkers let me know they had read the email and “knew my real name”.
I am furious and incredibly upset. I did so much work to eliminate the chance of anyone stumbling onto my deadname, and it was all pointless. I never wanted them to know I was trans, but someone made that decision for me. I am frustrated and I have no idea what to do. I have a meeting with HR later this week, but I doubt they will do much. Frankly, the damage is already done, punishing the offender won’t make anyone forget. There is nothing that can fix this and I don’t know how to proceed.
2 thoughts on “I was outed to my coworkers”