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Full Speed Ahead

Published: Jun 12 2017

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The Approach

Initially I was going to go full-time around August when I attend a conference. Since the company I am with was acquired though I moved my timeline up. There are only 2 other people that are part of this new company so none of the other employees have a history with me. I figured that was as good an opportunity as I could hope for. 

I had to speak to HR at the new company about benefits and after the end of the meeting I told him I was transitioning. He said he did have experience with it at a previous employer but nothing at this one. Hist only input was that it wouldn't be a problem. I had said that I was just making sure it wouldn't be and that it wouldn't come as a total shock to the people I have yet to meet. I mean I don't pass visually or by voice but I have yet to interact with any of them outside of emails (except the owner who had met me when acquiring us). 

After that phone call I went to the HR person in our building. Only our department was acquired and the rest of the building is still the other company. We are sharing the building though. The HR here is for that company or for things that might affect this premises. This was in person and a bit more awkward. Not bad, just awkward since I was coming out and they had no experience with this issue. In the end we got the main points down: I am staying with the same name, pronouns are changing, changing restrooms, and my clothing would also change. She crafted a letter and had the larger HR division go over it. I proofread it and on Friday morning it went out to the people in the building. I brought cupcakes, which I didn't have any but was told were good. On Monday I would come in and the switch would take effect. 

The Aftermath

I received a couple emails saying 'congrats/welcome/brave/etc'. Nothing inappropriate. My supervisor had used my new pronouns in an email a short while later and I still get a good feeling when I see that. It is a mix of a lot of feelings (and I haven't been able to put the word to it) but it's powerful. It really brings home to me how I feel now compare to all the years before. 

At one point I said to someone that it was scary because I know people have gotten fired or had discrimination at work because of this same news. She said "it isn't like you can't do your job anymore!". Still the unknown had me nervous for Monday. 

The Facebook

Since I was taking it to the next step I figured that I should finalize it and come out to the people that I don't regularly see. On Saturday evening I had taken some pictures from the concert I attended and I was looking as well as I could. I updated my LinkedIn and Facebook profiles with a new profile picture and posted a group photo from the night (where you could see the rest of me in my dress). It was actually the first time I had my image as my profile picture in at least 3 years. It isn't relevant but I had noted that I never liked the way I looked in photos before. I crafted a short post saying that I was transitioning and addressing the same basics as the HR email. Pronouns, same name. Anything else I asked that I get a message and am approachable.

The Response

The vast majority of my Facebook friends are relatives, many of whom I have seen in the last couple of months. There were a few that I hadn't seen and there are a few friends in other places that don't see me as often. The response to my post (and pictures!) was all positive. Most people just liked it but a few left a nice comment of support and one posted on my wall directly with support. I received no private messages. 

My First Day

Today is the first day presenting at work. I was very nervous about coming to work presenting for the first time. Not because I thought it would be terrible (the reaction to the email was good) but something in the back of my mind. I think the fear was one that I had known before. The fear of the unknown. I was removing the safety net that I felt like I could fall back on. I would no longer present as male. It is me actually taking another step and committing to it. Sure everything else I have done was a step but this one was the most public. My medications are taken in private and for the most part the changes could be played down if I needed. Now I feel like I am taking the first real step into socially transitioning and it's a much bigger world of unknowns. 


I don't feel like I have been amazingly lucky in life (even if I am) but now I do feel that way. I have received almost nothing but support from the people close to me, from my job, and haven't yet had a terrible public occurrence. I know that having that kind of response makes me exceptionally lucky. 

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