Just Man Up

I’ve been struggling with coming out at work. 

I hate being in this weird limbo stage. It kind of fucks with my head a little, being one person at work and someone different everywhere else. I have started coming out slowly to more people. I came out to a woman yesterday and she seemed supportive. But I know that she is a lesbian, so it felt like a safe bet. It’s the macho straight cis-guys that sit in the cubicles on either side of me that I would like to share my status with, but I am a little apprehensive to do so. I also almost came out in my team meeting on Wednesday, but I just could not get the nerve up.

I was talking about it with a younger woman I work with who knows. She stopped by my desk the other night to say good-bye. I was finishing up a phone call with a customer. She was telling me that she just couldn’t believe how much my voice has changed, but that she noticed it was significantly more feminine when I was on the phone. I explained that my ‘phone voice’ has always been that way, and it’s a really hard habit to break. Also, it’s been a little bit of a struggle to train myself to speak from my chest instead of my throat. Sometimes the rattling/vibrating feeling I get because my voice is much deeper reminds me that I’m doing it right, but out of habit I always revert back to my throat. I explained this to her, but she didn’t seem to understand. After 26 years, old habits die hard. We were also talking about my facial hair because I had shown her how well it was growing in. She asked if that was just me letting it grow and I explained that I shaved a few days ago, but that it’s coming in very quickly now and I’m just waiting for it to fill in. She told me that I just need to let it grow and see where it goes. I explained to her that since it is so visible, and since I don’t pass I am concerned with looking unkempt and it drawing people’s attention more. She told me to fuck what they think and asked, “But it’s that what you were going for? Didn’t you want facial hair?” I explained to her that I do, indeed, want facial hair, but that at this point in time I need to be careful. I am in this in-between faze and I am concerned for my safety and I am tired of being stared at, that the last thing I want is to draw even more attention to myself in general public. She said that she understood, but I realized she didn’t when she told me:

Just man up and do it.

This was really concerning to me and I realized that even people in our own community don’t understand. This more than ever makes me want to fight for education in our own community as well as with the general public. How can we expect the straight and cis-gendered community to see, understand and accept us if the people ‘most like us’ (if you will) don’t. I brushed it off at the time, and tried to explain once more my view, but she still didn’t seem to get it. The more I think about it though the more it bothers me.

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