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Introductions & Hiring: A Guide for Cisgender People

By: J Hudson
Smartsitting Diversity Council Gender and Sexuality Advocate

A child paints their name at an education event. Brooklyn, NY, 2018

Meeting and hiring anyone can be daunting, especially when you’re looking for the perfect fit for your family. Throughout your process, you may meet transgender or non-binary caregivers, knowingly or not. There are a lot of articles aimed at a transgender audience, with tips and tricks to navigate how hard it can be to come out in the context of job applications. However, there is not much in the way of tips for those doing the hiring. This article is geared towards cisgender families and adults who wish to be open and thoughtful in their hiring processes. 

When meeting your potential caregiver, ask for their name and pronouns upon shaking hands and after sharing your own.

Sharing your pronouns, even if you are cisgender, builds trust, allows potential candidates to openly share their own. It also shows your investment in creating a safe work environment. Asking for your candidate’s name is helpful; paperwork may list a legal name or older name that doesn’t reflect what the person actually calls themselves. If you need to know their legal name for tax purposes or ID school pick-up, be sure to clarify “legal” name and why you are requesting it. Avoid terms such as “nickname” or “real” name.

Don’t assume people are cisgender or transgender until they tell you (if they tell you).

Many transgender and non-binary people present in a way that fits within the gender binary and many do not. This may also change from day-to-day. Asking for pronouns and name gives you all the information you need to address the caregiver correctly; any other information is extra. Your caregiver may or may not divulge at a later date depending on the specifics of the working relationship. 

Explain transgender and non-binary people to your children​

Children are generally very open-minded to new concepts. For younger children, simply explaining that some people are born as one gender and decide to transition to another is a good starting point. You can also explain that there are non-binary people who aren’t boys or girls. Practice using they/them pronouns in front of your children so they can become familiar. As children get older and may have more questions, refer to external resources or educators when you don’t know the answers. 

Don’t be afraid to be corrected! We are all learning. 

Hopefully, these tips will ease uncertainty for families who are concerned with creating a gender-inclusive and safe place for caregivers and children.

If you and your family have other ideas , tag SmartSitting in your Facebook and Instagram posts so we can see and share your posts on our channels. Looking for more tips on creating conscious and thoughtful environments for children? Make sure you sign up for our newsletter for all the latest info coming from our team and the Diversity Council.

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