Max Masure
Max Masure
Design Thinking Facilitator

/ press /

They talk about me.


October 11, 2018

What it's like to be labeled the wrong gender at work

by Julia Carpenter, for CNN

“[…] Despite logistical obstacles, even something as simple as changing a restroom sign can send a big signal, says Max Masure, co-founder of Argo Collective. 

At a recent conference, [they] printed out new signs for the bathrooms, effectively turning the existing stalls into gender-neutral bathrooms. 

“Describe what's inside the bathroom instead of who is allowed to use them. […] This way we focus on what we want to do in the bathroom, which puts the focus away from putting labels on people.”

Interviewed about how I handle gender-neutral terms with my kid since they were not born yet. Thanks Lindz for including my family in their amazing show.

“[…] What’s one trend that excites you?

Solving problems that matter, for real. Like discrimination in tech: how we create for people who look like us, therefore many products that launched in the past two decades are aimed at cisgender white male persons. I mean Siri understands me now that I have a deeper voice! I was unable to use it when I had high pitch voice… I also see that with AI and algorithms that don’t work with darker skin like facial recognition.

I am excited to be able to advocate for those issues and encourage tech companies to focus on solving those humans problems, so we don’t end up with more and more tech products that only serve a tiny percentage of the planet. […]

“Believe your inner voice. Try things, create, and try out with real people in the real world.”

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Gender binary (women/men) is limiting ourselves. We’ve been raised with this idea that girls have a limited set of actions they can do while girls and boys should grow up just as “kids.” The more we let a child explore themself, the sooner they will find their full potential. I found mine at 36 years old, and I can only think of all the beautiful things I could have made instead of struggling about finding myself. […]”

“[…] But for people like Max Masure, a transgender gender inclusion strategist from Brooklyn who uses they/them pronouns, misgendering can be mortifying. Masure, who co-founded the group Argo Collective, recalled a barista last year calling out the feminine birth name on their credit card at a cafe. “I felt not safe, because I felt like I was outed as being a trans person in a public space,” they told Moneyish. “My feeling was like, ‘Wow, who heard that? Who now knows that I’m a trans person, and what will happen to me if someone is not OK with that?’”

The experience can result in a loss of “the sense of belonging, of being seen,” Masure added, and make you feel distracted at work. “If this happens over and over again, you don’t feel yourself and you don’t feel that you can be at your best,” they said.

[…] “If institutional change isn’t a possibility for you”, Masure said, “having a close coworker who can correct people when they use the wrong pronouns can help — that way, you’re not the one having to correct everyone every time.”

“If it’s coming from another coworker,” they said, “it’s the best way to try to spread the usage of the pronoun.”

And if you’re a cisgender person whose gender identity matches the sex you were assigned at birth, you can be an ally. For starters, Masure said, you can introduce yourself using your own pronouns, forging a natural opening for the other person to specify theirs. “For example … ‘Hi, my name is Max and I use they/them pronouns,’” they said. “That means you actually open the discussion for someone to share their pronouns, and it’s really inclusive and welcoming.”

[…] “When you’re addressing a group of people, Masure added, steer clear of using the word “guys” as a collective greeting.” “I think sometimes, somehow in our vernacular, ‘guys’ has somehow been deemed as gender-neutral, but of course it’s not,” Bailey said. “You can use ‘folks’ or ‘people’ or ‘Hi, everyone’ — there are many other terms that are not gendered, that are inclusive of everyone and that are friendly and welcoming.”

September 4, 2018

Does Tech Discriminate More Than Other Industries?

by Jillian Kramer, for Glassdoor

“[…] The tech industry is dominated by cisgender—meaning their gender is aligned with the sex they were assigned at birth—white male persons,” according to Max Masure, workplace inclusion strategist and co-founder of Argo Collective. But why?

“When we don’t make an intentional effort to be inclusive and bring diversity, we tend to hire and interact with humans similar to ourselves,”

Masure explains. So, “when a startup grows, the first hires are usually similar identities than the founders, meaning cisgender white men,” he says.

[…] Whether or not the tech industry is worse than any other when it comes to discrimination, what’s important is knowing what to do if you see or experience discrimination in your own office. Some signs that you have been discriminated against include being passed up for a promotion when you are deserving; being written up without a defined, clear reason; being left out of meetings after announcing a pregnancy; and many more, Masure says.

[…] 3. Follow up. Make sure the HR department or a senior manager has brought the “issue to the executive team for discussion and action,” Crater says. And make sure you’re satisfied with the outcome. If you’re not, it may be time to get an outside agency involved. “Get help from communities and organizations to get the name of some lawyers who are typically willing to help in this type of cases—some lawyers are even doing it pro-bono, “ encourages Masure. Then, “in the meantime, document every discriminatory word when it happens—place, time, persons involved, witnesses, etc.—so later on you can recall the event clearly.”

Supporting Transgender Employees

As transgender visibility within the LGBTQ community has increased over the past few years, it has become clear that transgender people face a unique set of experiences and challenges. Learn what steps to take after an employee comes out as transgender to create a supportive and encouraging environment.

PRO TIP: HR is an important player in assisting transitioning employees.

Gender and workplace inclusion organization Argo Collective suggests training the HR team to be educated allies so they are prepared to adequately support transgender employees.”


For transgender employees, transitioning can result in a lot of life changes — including some at the job. Read what steps to take with your HR team and colleagues to find the support you need to navigate your transition in the workplace.

Pro Tip: Gender and workplace inclusion organization the Argo Collective advises transitioning employees to request an LGBTQ competency training for their team. Co-founder Jay Bendett says, “Most people in the company may have no tools or language to begin to understand what the transition process is like, so having a presentation for the teams that introduce them to some basic terminology, including pronouns, can be helpful to minimize misgendering and pain/discomfort.”

Know Your Rights

While many more organizations are taking measures to improve work environments for LGBTQ employees, the LGBTQ workforce still encounters disproportionately high rates of workplace discrimination. Learn how to identify and respond to cases of workplace discrimination due to sexual orientation and gender identity.

Pro Tip: If you are facing an instance of workplace discrimination, Argo Collective co-founder Max Masure advises reaching out to community beyond your workplace:

“You are not alone and feeling supported by external organizations can be a huge help in those types of situations. Look for LGBTQ groups on Facebook as well as local queer organizations.”

August 21, 2018

Glassdoor LGBTQ+ workplace guide

by Andy Talajkowski, for Glassdoor

“For transgender employees, transitioning can result in a lot of life changes — including some at the job. If you decide to share your transition with the office, it is important to work with your HR team and colleagues to find the support you need to navigate your transition.

Jay Bendett and Max Masure, founders of workplace and gender inclusion organization the Argo Collective, recommend first finding an ally within your office. Having a colleague who is trustworthy and understanding by your side means you always have someone to turn to in your workplace.

[…] While many more organizations are taking measures to improve work environments for LGBTQ employees, the LGBTQ workforce still encounters disproportionately high rates of work- place discrimination. Do you sense you are experiencing negative bias at work due to your sexual orientation or gender identity? The Argo Collective identifies the following scenarios as possible instances of bias:

• Unqualified coworkers receive promotions and you have not.

• You were written up or fired with no clear reason.

• You were treated differently in a negative way after coming out to your colleagues.

• You are being misgendered at work.”

“Max Masure, who was interviewed for this article, differentiates calling out and calling in. Do you find this to be a useful distinction? If you saw or heard someone being misgendered, are you more likely to call out or call in?”

“[…] And this article from CNN highlights how important allies can be in this area; it can be really awkward and uncomfortable for trans persons and non-binary people to constantly call out misgendering. Cisgender colleagues can help by explicitly stating their own pronouns and speaking up to remind others if misgendering happens. Even referring to groups of colleagues and friends in gender-neutral ways by saying, “Hey, everyone,” or “Hey, friends,” instead of “Hey, guys,” sends a subtle, yet powerful message.

Language is incredibly important, and even these small changes can signal that your organization is working toward greater diversity and inclusion. Those changes ripple out over time and can lead to a better, more inclusive world.

As Max Masure, co-founder of Argo Collective, a group created to train workplaces on gender and inclusion says,

"Changing the vocabulary is something that is easy, compared to changing society. When you start using real, gender-neutral terms, you prompt society to change over time.”

August 11, 2018

How coming out made me come up

Short movie by Max Masure

“'Hey, guys' versus 'Hey, friends'

That's especially important for workplaces to remember, says Max Masure, co-founder of Argo Collective, a group created to train workplaces on gender and inclusion.

Masure recommends embracing simple changes. Even something seemingly small — like saying "hey, everyone" instead of "hey, guys" when you enter a meeting — can help make non-binary employees feel less "other."

"Changing the vocabulary is something that is easy, compared to changing society," Masure says. "When you start using real, gender-neutral terms, you prompt society to change over time. So 'hey guys' is powerful. You might misgender someone who is masculine-presenting, who's non-binary."

The power of allies

Masure sees a real role for allies here. While some non-binary people may feel awkward constantly calling out misgendering or reminding people of their correct pronouns, colleagues can do small things to help.

Even people who use "he/she" pronouns can do their part, like calling out whatever pronouns they prefer in LinkedIn profiles or adding them to workplace directories and email signatures.

Masure remembers one story from an Argo Collective workshop: An attendee added his "he/him" pronouns to his LinkedIn profile, just as a sign of solidarity with the non-binary community. After he made the change, a coworker reached out, thanking him for doing so and saying they now felt comfortable talking about their own preferred pronouns — "they/them" — in the workplace.

[…] While it's difficult for non-binary folks to always bear the burden of calling out those who disregard these things, Masure points out straight, cis-gender allies can pick up a lot of that work on behalf of their peers. Masure recommends "calling in" as opposed to "calling out" — that's when they'll pull aside someone after an incident, and have a one-on-one conversation about what happened.

"Calling in is very, very hard at the beginning. But I always remember the discomfort I have when I talk to someone is way, way smaller than the discomfort of the people who were misgendered," they say. "And it doesn't cost me my identity if I'm an ally."

[…] Max explained that "when I was perceived as a woman, I was lacking encouragement, and I feel like being perceived as a man, I get that without really asking for it." He continued to say that

"I feel like my voice is 10 times more heard, like more powerful.”

“I'm saying the same thing, like the same feminist story that I said before when I was perceived as a woman. And I feel now I say just a few words and it's heard, where before I had to scream it."

[…] Max Masure, the co-founder of Argo Collective, an organization that helps to train companies to be more inclusive, told A Plus in an email that this could be a first step towards giving transgender and nonbinary people basic rights. 

"As being transgender is currently classified a mental disorder, it reifies people's beliefs that there is something wrong with you if you are trans," Masure said.

"So transgender identities no longer labeled a disorder would definitely substantiate the reality that there is nothing wrong with you, you are OK just the way you are."