Important Note: Just as no one can speak for all women or a specific race, individuals within the trans community vary in how they want to be seen and treated. This list will give you pointers towards appropriate workplace communication. The next step is to get to know trans people just as you would anyone else.
1. Use the Right Pronoun.
The “right” pronoun is whatever that person wants to be called. It may include: he, she, they or something else. If you don’t know, listen for how they refer to themselves or ask.
You would feel weird if someone called you a “she” and you’re a “he” or vice versa. It's just as true for a trans person. Using the right pronoun really matters.
2. Practice Makes Perfect
Calling someone “they” or changing a pronoun after you’ve known someone can feel awkward at first. It’s okay to not do it perfectly at the start. Just do it anyway. If you mess up, apologize quickly and move on.
3. Ask the Appropriate Level of Questions
If you don’t know what someone wants to be called or you’re concerned you’re being insensitive about something, just ask. By acknowledging you don’t know something, but you’d like to, that’s a way of showing support.
Equally important, just as with any colleague, stay away from inappropriately personal questions. Just because someone is trans doesn’t give you the right to inquire about if they will, or want to, have surgery or the gender of the person they date.
For more information about how to be an ally to trans professionals, consult GLAAD.