Ezra Clarke

You can’t imagine how good it feels to be my whole self at work

Ezra has chosen to share his story for two reasons: coming out as a trans man enables him to be his whole self at work, plus he hopes it will help other trans people to do the same if they wish to.

Ezra joined ING two years ago as an IT trainee, and now works as a DevOps Engineer and Scrum Master. He has also just joined the Rainbow Lions board.  “I only came out as a trans man fairly recently in my private life. My legal name and gender have not yet been changed, which is why I was still registered under my old name and as a female in the ING systems,” Ezra says. “What helped enable me to come out at work was the talk of our colleague Sophie Jeckmans during a Rainbow Lions event. Sophie is completely open about being a trans women, and she’s fully accepted by her working environment. Her talk made me realise I could be in the same position, and that was an attractive prospect.”

Taking the leap

“I spent a lot of energy worrying about how to tell my team. The team is made up of many different nationalities and we mainly work remotely, so we don’t all know each other well. That made it hard to predict how everyone would react. But at the same time, this was so important for me that I couldn’t – and didn’t want to – put it off any longer. Looking back, I’m really glad I took the leap, because I didn’t get a single bad reaction. Everybody was respectful, supportive and interested to learn more.”

Education is key

“I saw it as especially positive that people were so interested, because I’m sure that a lot of prejudices and misconceptions stem from a lack of knowledge. It’s key to raise awareness and educate people about this topic, which is why I regard International Transgender Day of Visibility as so important. There are so many pitfalls – such as the misuse of pronouns, using the person’s old name, automatically relating gender to sexuality, or just sheer discrimination.”

The practical aspects

“For me personally, all the practical aspects that needed to be modified at work went very easily - such as changing my professional name and e-mail address and updating all the registrations in HR and other systems, even though my name hadn’t been changed legally yet. My manager was a great help throughout it all. This, together with the support from my colleagues and my peers at Rainbow Lions, made it so much easier for me to go down this route. As a result, I can really be my whole self at work - and you can’t imagine how good that feels!”

“I hope my story inspires colleagues who might be in the same situation and helps them to find their way, at their own pace. Everybody deserves to be completely themselves, not only at home but at work too.”

If you want to learn more about the use of personal gender pronouns, for example, visit this informative web page: https://uwm.edu/lgbtrc/support/gender-pronouns/

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