Coming out at Work.

So the other day I posted about having some issues with not being out at work. I was struggling really bad and I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to tell someone or I felt like I might walk of my job. And that was absolutely not an option.

So. Come out it is!

Out of a roughly 500 employee building maybe 5 people knew or so. One of them being a supervisor that I had the beginning of last year. I IMed her and told her that I really needed to talk, that I was going to explode and that somehow, someone needed to help me come out and use my chosen name. She put me in her calendar for 4pm. 

After my lunch I raced up to the third floor and waited. I waited for about 15 minutes and decided that she probably forgot. I was feeling a little furious by this point so I headed back to my desk. My current supervisor IMed me when I got back and asked her if I could come see her. She had a call for me to listen to. A customer complained about me because I wasn’t able to lower his bill. She said that was all she had for me and asked if I had anything. I asked her if we could talk in private. She we went to an office and shut the door. When I came out to the last supervisor, I thought I was going to pass out. I started seeing spots and felt light headed. My ears were ringing. This time, I just sat down and told her.

I’m transgender. And I need your help.

She looked a little surprised, but not so surprised.

She told me that she was glad I came to her and she went right to work helping me sort everything out. My original supervisor told me that HR told her that I would not be allowed to change my name until it was legally done. This was last May before I had even gotten my letter. I sucked it up and was fine with it. But now that I am in this odd stage, my voice dropping, growing facial hair, etc., I just can’t handle the thought of addressing myself with such a female name anymore. The thought was debilitating. And it was honestly affecting my work and in turn my commission. 

My new supervisor came back to me about 30 minutes late. She had gone directly to HR and told them what I needed as a transgender employee. They were totally fine with it and she said they seemed to not even remember saying no the first time. Which is great, albeit a little frustrating. In the meantime the other supervisor had tracked me down and apologized for missing out meeting, she was pulled into her supervisor’s office and was reprimanded (She is actually a really good supervisor, but she has quite a mouth on her and if she sees something that she doesn’t like or doesn’t think is right, she will quickly say something and it gets her in trouble. Often.) So she pulled me aside and we talked. She said that she and my new supervisor would tag team HR to get this resolved because the last thing she wanted was for me to feel uncomfortable at work.

So my new supervisor is now working on getting my name changed for my email address and in our IM system and she got me a new name tag for my desk. In the next supervisor meeting she is going to let everyone know so that I don’t have to and she said that it will get around, and I don’t need to worry about it, and that she will field as many questions for me as she can. I am going to let my team know in our meeting tomorrow. I am a little nervous to come out to about 15 people at once, but I think that most of them will be ok with it. I actually had to two macho guys that sit in the cubes on either side of me as me what I had started calling myself. I told them Wes. One of the guys is in a wheelchair and he told me that he wanted to start going by Hot Wheels. So for the rest of the day that’s what we called him. The guy that sits on the other side started using Wes right away. He then asked me if that was what I wanted him to do and I told him I would appreciate it. Later that evening he asked me why I had picked Wes and what it stood for. I explained it was short for Weston and then I took a deep breath and told him I am actually transgender and I wanted a very old school masculine sounding name.

He looked me in the eye, held out his fist to fist bump me and said “You do what you do, you’ve always been cool to me.” 

And that was it.

If coming out can always be this easy with that great of a response I would like that please and thank you.

This has however caused some weird feelings for me. Whenever I come out to someone and I feel that it is really important, I always question myself over and over for a while after that. 

Is this really what I want? What if I changed my mind? Do I really like the name I picked? How do I know I want to be a man?

hate that I do this to myself. But it seriously happens like every time. It’s really frustrating. I did it again this weekend. All weekend I questioned myself and my motives and felt so uncomfortable. I try to avoid talking about this as much as possible. Maybe because I don’t want it to take away points from my “trans enough” status or something, I don’t know. But I finally opened up to Kass about it last night. She could tell there was this nervous energy radiating off of me. That and my Trichotillomania got a little intense yesterday. I pulled out like half of my eyelashes sitting at work (only partially exaggerating). She told me that she thinks that it is because we are told that we have to be normal. And the more that I come out and assert who I am the less “normal” I become. That she thinks that being shunned one to many times has caused me to question my every move when it comes to being different from ‘everyone else.’ I think that she is right. It has been really hard. I hate feeling like I am so different. She asked me if this is what I really want or if I am maybe second guessing and if I think I am changing my mind. I told her that I am pretty sure this is what I want, but that I’ve just been feeling upset. She told me that she will always support me and that if I decide to stop where I am at, she is ok with that and that I will just have a deeper voice and will be a little hairier but that whether I continue on or not, she will always support me.

When she talks to me and tells me things like that it always reassures me of two things. That I love her so much and that I am doing the right thing. I think I just get so wrapped up in my head and I get so scared sometimes of being different and standing out. It frightens me. Risking the people are close to me and my potential safety. But I know that this is really what I need.

 

Wes.

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3 thoughts on “Coming out at Work.

  1. Good for you man! Very glad to hear things went so well at work.

    Totally hear you on the second-guessing. I am years into transition and I still have thoughts like that sometimes. I think it does something to your mind to acknowledge that you are transgender. Gender just never seems as real, obvious, inevitable, taken for granted as it did before. You’ve given yourself permission to question your gender, body, name–once you’ve made it an option, sometimes it’s hard to stop questioning!

    I think all you can do is try to be honest with yourself and approach it as an experiment. Try things and see how they make you feel. If at any point a transition step feels wrong, drop it. That might mean you’ll find that a different identity fits better, or it might just mean that your transition looks a little different than you’d guessed.

    It’s great that you have such a wonderful woman to support you!

    • Thank you!
      That actually makes me really happy to hear. I never thought about it like that. I guess in my head I thought, well I questioned it, I’ve decided it, this must me right. Now it’s done. But really why would it stop?
      Thank you for making me feel sane! Haha.
      I’ve just had this hard time because I feel like I’m going against all of these things and now to maybe question something I’ve had to fight so hard for. It’s a little disheartening. And frustrating. I think I’m trying to push to hard and put it into too much of a box. I think that I need to try and get around that and maybe I will be a little better off.
      Thank you for your insight and support. I always look forward to it.
      I am really lucky, aren’t I?!

  2. I work in a fairly large office with a lot of guys. When I started there I thought that women gossiped, but these guys gossiped way more than the women. I was concerned when I changed my name that there would be a lot of sniping and guessing about my motives. I waited until the name change was legal so that the guys would have to call me by my name. I told my boss and two closest co-workers a day ahead so they wouldn’t be blindsided. I sent out a mass email to my co-workers and fed them pastries. It worked. The text is below:

    Subject: CELEBRATE MY LEGAL NAME CHANGE WITH A FINANCIER PASTRY

    Come celebrate my changing my first name from Amy (which I never liked) to Jamie (which feels more like me).

    You get to eat a danish if you get here early and you get to practice calling me by my new name (easy for those of you under 50 and who have not known me for a long time and harder for the dinosaurs).

    Pastries are in my aisle – (next to the big conference room with the windows).

    The paperwork was submitted to the BSC, so eventually my email listing and paperwork will start showing up as Jamie Bauer.
    I hope the BSC will manage to pay me correctly…

    Good luck on your job. I felt better almost immediately and the guys were pretty good about using Jamie (they corrected each other). A couple of guys asked me outright if I was changing pronouns or transitioning; but they were trying to be supportive (I was kind of surprised that they asked).

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