Part I of this article is here
I was surprisingly nervous at what I was about to do. In my previous company I’d stood as a man in front of 20 people and told them I was going to transition and live as a woman from the following week. I’d walked past 100 people in a dress & makeup, aged 44, without any hormones, just a few days after saying goodbye as a bloke. What on earth was I scared of now?
Before, when I came out, I had no choice. It was do that or … well, it was do that. This time however, I did have a choice. Up until the morning itself, I was in two minds about whether I was doing the right thing, whether I was taking a risk with my employment at a job that is shaping up to be really quite good.
In the end though, I knew I had to do it. I see it as an investment in the future acceptance of trans people to say, yes we’re here and it be seen not to matter until, eventually transition becomes No Big Deal. Once that happens, society will become more and more relaxed about young people making a decision that no longer carries the assumed threat of a ruined life.
So, first thing, well after a constitution building coffee, I made a post on the company intranet:
You possibly don’t know this but today is Transgender Day of Visibility so, um, hi ? Anyway, the idea is, for those trans people that want to, to let themselves be known and that we walk amongst you. Kind of like a really cheap Dr Who episode… I’m assuming most of you know I’m trans but I thought I’d start a thread here where you’re welcome to ask any questions, even the silly ones, about being trans and I’ll try & answer them
And then, nothing. Nobody said a word or posted a reply for 30-40 minutes…
I was getting very nervous indeed but eventually someone replied and then someone asked a question and so on. By the end of the day perhaps a dozen people had joined in the thread which doesn’t sound a lot, but its a quarter of the workforce here. I also posted various facts about being trans nowadays and did a very brief trans 101 with a couple of points aimed at software devs. What did surprise me was a couple of people saying online and in chats over coffee that they had no idea that I was trans, so at the end of the day I ran a quick poll to find out how many people thought I was trans before TDoV. The answer surprised me – of 15 votes, 12 people said they hadn’t realised. Quite how I achieved 80% stealth I’ve no idea. To me, my voice screams out my heritage whenever I talk but there you go.
That was last Friday. As I write this on the following Wednesday evening, I’ve had no adverse comeback from my outing myself. Perhaps I am the subject of gossip out of earshot but nobody has changed their behaviour toward me at all. I came out as trans and nobody objected. Again.
Well one thing has changed – me. I hadn’t realised the low level stress not being out was causing me; not being able to talk about things from my near past, concerned that people might suddenly realise at the most inopportune moment. That stress has gone and I’m a little happier, a little bouncier in my day to day natter for it. I’m glad I did it.