Monday, 29th October 2007: the day I started work with my current employer. I’ve had the good fortune to be in a supportive, steady job now for getting on for a decade.
Monday, 30th January 2012: the day I came out to my boss as gender non-conforming (what I actually said was: “So….. the thing is … I like wearing women’s clothes!”). And so I spent the next five years transitioning: changing presentation, laser, HRT, changing name/title/gender/pronoun, electrolysis, roughly in that order. Lots of my current colleagues therefore knew me from before I transitioned; but increasingly, as people come and go, lots of them have never known me as anything other than … well, me. Rachel. (Hi!).
The list of people I work with, who knew old-me, might be slowly dwindling, but my trans status is no big secret. Or at least, I don’t think it is. It’s not like when new people join the team I introduce myself with “Hi, I’m Rachel, software engineer, massive tran” – nah. Doesn’t happen. But, having said that, I have just remembered what my laptop looks like:
Um, yeah: two “Trans Pride Brighton” stickers, and one from Trans-Code. So maybe a bit of a clue there, for the more observant. 🙂
But sticker clues notwithstanding: if you spend a bit of time with me, I wouldn’t blame you if you started to conclude, or wonder, that I might be trans. It’s the voice, isn’t it? And the face. And the occasional bit of facial hair (especially when I have to grow it out prior to an electro appointment, raaaaargh).
So at work, it’s no big secret that I’m trans. If you haven’t worked out yet, my guess is you probably will soon. And sometimes, I throw in the occasional extra clue, like wearing this:
Oh, and if you follow me on Twitter, then it’s game over: a high proportion of my tweeting is trans stuff.
So what do I generally do for Trans Day Of Visibility? Answer: probably not a lot different from usual, at least in meatspace. Maybe I’ll tweet or blog a bit more.
This year though, I’ll be doing something a bit different. As it happens, I’ve unavoidably had to take a couple of days off work, and so for TDoV this year, I won’t even be at work: I’ll be even less visible than usual.
No, for this year, I get to hang out with some friends who are probably going to misgender me (they have form on this); and then for TDoV itself, I’ll be swapping my usual town/city lifestyle for a day of visiting a few farms in the West Country, buying cider. And while I’m doing this, I won’t be wearing my Stonewall tee-shirt, nor will I be waving my 5-foot Trans Pride flag. Call me a coward, but I have a suspicion that while wearing the slogan “Some people are trans – get over it!” may not get a second look in the city, out in the countryside, it’s probably a rather different matter. And that’s just attention that I could do without.
So alas this year, on 31st March, I’ll be going against the flow, by blending in: Trans Day Off Visibility, if you will. Try again next year?