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Considering applying to jobs as [dead name]

The political situation for trans people in the southern US has been devolving rapidly and I'm looking to move to a protected state. I'm going to start applying to jobs soon, and I've been considering whether I should apply as my dead self or not.

I haven't changed my legal name yet, so my job applications immediately out me as trans and even if it didn't I don't pass at all currently, so if I got an interview I'd be outed then. I've been reading about how hard it is to get a job as a trans woman and I'll need all the help I can get to get out of this shithole state.

It would kill me to have to go back into the closet for work, but the alternative is being potentially stuck in a place that will forcibly detransition me which is way worse.

Has anyone been in this situation or has any advice?

  • Frankly, that depends on what sort of jobs you're applying for. My familiarity is with tech work and it tends to be accepting. While you'll have to put your dead legal name on some forms, it's generally not a problem to apply under your real name.

    Definitely do start applying for jobs in blue states, you might get lucky enough to land one that offers relocation assistance to help with the move.

    • I work in tech as well. Thankfully my current workplace is accepting. I guess I'm paranoid about people's biases even if they are outwardly accepting.

      My lease doesn't end until october which is cutting it really close to the elections, but the early termination fee is super exorbitant so I'm trying to balance having enough time to find a job, but not ending up having to renew the lease because I waited too long. Finding one that offers relocation assistance would be a dream come true

      • Start applying anyway. If they want you badly enough they'll help pay to break your lease as part of the relocation benefits. =D

  • Do what you have to for your safety. I'm fortunate to live in a not actively transphobic area so I was able to apply for jobs with my preferred name even though it doesn't match my legal one. My payroll info uses my legal name and nothing else.

  • See if there are any decent government jobs in your area ( The bureaucracy is a major pain in the ass, but everything is quantified including your application / interview etc - your score will crunch against other candidates, and you get in on merit with pretty much zero consideration put into anything that isn't on the job posting, including being trans.

    • This ^

      That being said, outside of the DC area, the majority of federal (not state) government jobs are going to be DoD or DoD adjacent (VA, DHA). Source: i am one of those.

      The major benefits aren't as good as they used to be I'm told. Anyone joining post-2013 gets an instant 4.4% deducted off their salary for pension (FERS) compared to a less than 1% deduction for pre-2013, and 5% default deduction for thrift savings plan/TSP (401k equivalent). insurance is only mildly cheaper than elsewhere. Biggest benefit for tech is a solid 40 hour work week, no bullshit unpaid overtime and on-call is almost unheard of.

      Dual leave accrual is pretty sweet (sick leave and annual leave accrue separately, and are separate pools to draw from). Any contractor DoD jobs are going to pay a lot more than their civilian counterpart, by a matter of several 10s of thousands more.

      • Another comment mentioned you're in tech: Any particular field, any certs you can list? I know some will get you head hunted pretty quickly (Sec+ and/or Net+ are in high demand in the DoD-IT world Edit: at least, for entry level. Experience goes further but those are bare minimums for a lot of stuff)

  • Seeing all the recent news I can't help but feel the US is not a fun place to be right now.

    I sincerely hope the political landscape calms the fuck down soon, and all of you can focus on the real issues again. It is beyond unreasonable how much attention some of these culture war topics are getting. It is also obviously a divide and conquer strategy and someone needs to break that cycle.

    Are you applying for a job that has you representing the company to the public in any way? If so, you might find yourself less free in your appearance than you would if you have a desk job. And it's likely not just about being trans, but other things like piercings, tattoos and hair styles as well.

    I'm not sure how well woker's rights are represented in law, either on a state basis or in the USA in general. But you might want to consider finding out with the interview if your potential employer really respects you being trans or not, even if you do so without actually mentioning you're trans. And if not I'm inclined to say the job is not a safe place for you. If you leave this up to chance, you might be in for a nasty surprise later on in your career there.

    But I guess it all depends on how long you can afford to look for a job where you're going to be respected for who you really are. If you need work fast, there's also the option of just taking the job stealthily and almost immediately looking for a new job from there. All while pocketing the employment experience, which definitely helps your chances finding other work.

    Ultimately there are two things you need to prove in an interview (if you're dealing with reasonable people and not bigots): Whether your personality doesn't make you clash with the colleagues you'll be working with. Wether your skillset matches what the employer is looking for, and employers have this bad habit of not mentioning wanted soft skills in the ad.

    Do those two well and the only thing ruining your chances is your potential employer being a twisted bigoted piece of shit, in which case it's their loss.

  • Just my thoughts as a cis man, so feel free to ignore me: If you feel safer applying with your dead name and being closeted during the interview process, I’d say that’s a good idea. If you come out after you’re hired and have been working long enough to establish a home there, and they don’t accept you, you can always look for a new job then. Or honestly, it might be a good idea to start interviewing as your real self and maybe even have an offer in hand before coming out at your then current job.

    Oh, also California (specifically the Bay Area) is super accepting. I used to live there and worked with several people who came out while I was their coworker. I didn’t notice any discrimination after they came out. It may have occurred and been under my radar, but I didn’t see anything blatant. It’s expensive, but it’s an awesome place to live.

  • Do whatever makes you feel safe Hon. Just always remember you are who you are, and what you have to do to get through the day is not a reflection of that. An out trans woman is no more/less valid than one living under a theocracy that would harm her.

    I hope you will be able to move soon, you'll be in my thoughts sweetie. Wishing you the best! ♥ 💕

  • This is absolutely something I struggled with. My field is healthcare, and I felt and continue to feel presenting masculine is the safest option. Even if not traditionally masculine (i have my nails done a really pretty purpleblack right now, and am known to braid some of my coworkers hair), the ability to just... exist unbothered as a man is extremely useful.

    a few of them know me as trans, but it's also nice to be a bit choosy.

    The advantage of being unable to pass as a cis woman means it's still possible to retain your male privilege, and while i'd happily make that trade- it's not something in my power to do right now.

    My goals primarily are to feel comfortable and safe in my own skin. Amongst my friends, and even like... bystanders in the grocery store, that means being a woman. Amongst my coworkers however, i unfortunately feel more comfortable as a man; for me.. the dysphoria isn't as bad as the bigotry. But it's a decision you'll have to make for yourself

  • Two things:

    • You are not limited to the US, there are a lot of countries that are just better in pretty much every way.
    • Ask yourself whether you would enjoy working at a company that was transphobic enough to only invite you because they didn't know you were trans. The filter here goes both ways!

    I cannot tell you what is right for you, but I do think it might be worth a thought...