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Maximillian staff photo - the image shows Maximillian in front of some trees outdoors and smiling.
March 2, 2022
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The act:

“There’s something you need to know about Glen,” James said quietly in the break room, “he used to be a woman!”

I hope that most people reading this would know that this is not acceptable behaviour.

Glen would probably not want me to know that he was assigned female at birth, and if he did, he would tell me.

This is a real life example, with names changed. Word for word.

Writing this I am imagining the reactions of readers when this comes out. Some ‘what the…?’ and a few ‘but why?’ and maybe some people not yet fully aware of the repercussions of such a disclosure.


The impacts:

It has a few impacts, some bigger than others.

Hearing this information, I now have two conundrums. Do I tell Glen that I now know, and if so do I tell him that James told me? How do I get James to understand why what he did was wrong?

James, I assume, thinks that it must be okay to tell me because I will understand. I work at Beyond Reflections. I will ‘get it’ and may offer some support or advice to Glen.

Maybe that’s what he was thinking. Or maybe he just tells everyone about Glen. Either way, it is not okay, and this needs to be dealt with.

“Why did you tell me that, James?” I ask.

”Well,” he says, “you know about that stuff, right?”

Okay, James thinks I can help in this scenario. I can speak with him directly, let him know that he must not do anything like this again.

I tell him that if he wanted Glen to know I could be supportive, he could tell Glen about me and my work, and let him decide whether to speak with me.

I might also speak to his line manager to let them know that nothing needs doing right now but it might be worth being aware in case something comes up again.

James may need some further support in understanding the issue if he has not understood when talking to me and does something like this again.

Let’s imagine that he’d said something else. Maybe he just thinks everyone should know because he thinks it’s weird.

That’s not okay. In this case I tell him he should not be telling people, definitely told Glen, and I would go straight to his manager to make them aware.

This is not about punishing James, this is about seeing his intention and making space to learn from what happened.

I would hope that management would also look at education over punishment in the first instance.

This is how we bring people in.


The impacted:

Let’s think about Glen now.

If I do not tell him, he does not have as much worry about people around him.

I may have some feelings about keeping this from him, but he does not know that he has been outed and does not feel harmed.

Then again, he might find out I knew later and feel more harmed.


If I tell him, he may or may not feel harmed by this.

Maybe he’s glad I told him and happy that I have dealt with it appropriately.

Maybe he’s mad at me for telling him. Maybe he wishes I had just dealt with it.


There is no universal right or wrong answer to this dilemma. Some people would rather be told, some would rather not.

Some thought that they would feel one way but when it happened they felt differently in the moment.


The actor:

How could you have acted differently as James?


Seek out information without mentioning Glen.

Ask your manager for advice if you know that they know.

Ask Glen where you can find out more information – ideally without telling him how you feel.



How could you have acted differently as a supportive James?


Three words. Speak with Glen.

“Glen, did you know that Maximillian works at Beyond Reflections? Thought you might want to know in case you wanted any support”

“Glen, are you open about being trans or is this something you’ve only told me?”



And if you want to support people like Glen, you can find our volunteer application form here.

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