Glad Tidings, No More Hiding

guest_7a992bc1-6dbf-406c-ae82-093f5ceb0042.jpegI walked into the office this morning, each ladies desk had a chocolate reindeer/santa’s sleigh on their desk. I assume this had been orchestrated by one of the ladies in finance. It’s a nice gesture and all, but my mind went immediately to “this will be just one of the ways in which they will snub me once I come out at work in February”. I know, I work myself up into this huge idea of being denied acceptance in my head. It’s only happened a few times, but the few were particularly devastating. I know I downplay it, but losing both of my brothers, one used to be my best friend when we were younger, kills me. Not everyone has it as easy as I have on coming out, most would consider this a win. I get that, I do, I wish everyone had it as easy as I have had it so far. But it doesn’t stop me from wanting more. I want the years and friends and family that I am losing by just admitting who I am. Frustrating and infuriating.

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Photo by Anna Popović on Unsplash

This time of year, can be hollow and empty, it used to be for me. I would go to my Mom’s and spend time with family when I could, but I honestly just wanted to “not exist”. It had nothing to do with them, it was me or rather the mask I wore to hide me. Holidays were this odd mix of happiness at being around family and friends and this feeling of not being there at all. My prayers for non-existence were answered as well as my prayers to just be a normal girl when I was young, not at all.

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Photo by Jessica Podraza on Unsplash

I have been in talks with HR about my coming out and I keep pushing it back a little at a time. Mostly because I didn’t want to get caught unemployed during the holidays, it’s a concern for me. My HR manager keeps telling me that the only way I am leaving is if I quit. I know she is being supportive and wants me to know I’m covered, but I know that most of us quit and aren’t fired. We quit because of how we are treated and how the protections like sexual harassment suddenly don’t seem very serious when it’s a transgender person who is the victim. The reality is that I have about a 20% chance of retaining my position once I come out.

The HR manager said something, that they [the company] will not make an announcement, that it is on me, when I mentioned that I would like to plan this out. So, while she is personally supportive, I think that the company will not help me at all by trying to educate anyone or put out a memo. I’m not sure what to do when I “come out”. It’s not like those of us who have to come out have some kind of primer course we are given. It’s all just what we find in support groups or on the internet. So, I am worried that I will “announce” which is what, me standing up in the middle of the open office and telling everyone that I’m transgender? Or as my HR manager said, “you have a gay man sitting right next to you at the next desk who has photos of his husband on his desk”. It’s not the same, when he comes in everyone sees him and says hello and move on. When I come in, after years of coming in as “him” suddenly I will be coming in as me, which dresses differently and looks entirely different, it’s always the visual that gets people. If I said, “I am transgender” and then just always came in dressed as “him”, they would be fine and make a few jokes and move on. But that isn’t what is going to happen. I am worried how I am supposed to do this. Which is why I am prepared to have to quit because I feel they would let me dangle like bait over a pool of sharks.

img233I miss my Mom and Dad, I could have told them all of this and Mom would have helped think of a way to make this happen while Dad stoically listened and offered opinions. It’s going to be a sad Christmas for me, but so many others have it so much worse. I feel selfish and foolish for my own issues. I miss my Mom, Dad and brothers, nothing I can do about any of them. That isn’t to say I can’t be happy with my wife and kids and my in-laws during Christmas, I can and will. I am, despite my worrying, looking forward to coming out at work. This is the last year I spend as “him” at work, or anywhere. I’m only “him” at work so it’s the final cut on the cord that holds this mask in place. It doesn’t guarantee happiness or anything, it just gives me a genuine life.

One thought on “Glad Tidings, No More Hiding

  1. Tanit Richards

    Hi Liz,

    I simply don’t understand how your brothers can possibly write you off. This response has always puzzled me from people that theoretically love you. You ARE…THE…SAME…PERSON! There is no difference inside. I can perhaps see this sort of behavior from people that don’t know you and judge you on appearance – but from intimate family? Not so much.

    I do not know what I would do in your situation at work. Every company and situation is different but I am sure that they all share a common denominator in that if they want you gone, you will be gone one way or another… I think that I would choose to present the absolute best female appearance that I possibly could to lessen the revulsion from the intolerant. I would also think that a “neither fish nor fowl” appearance would likely cause more alarm or disgust from people that do not know you or from fundamentalist types who profess love and understanding but in reality, “don’t walk the walk” (from personal but only somewhat related circumstances).

    I doubt that I would simply show up at work one day and announce that I am now female (and by implication, going to use the ladies’ restroom…) . I feel that it is too large of a pill for a significant portion of the population to swallow at once. I would likely start the ball rolling quite a ways prior to the actual event by talking to various people (higher ups too) and by encouraging them to ask me questions freely. I would want them to know ahead of time to lessen the shock and so that they could plan to either accept me or get rid of me rather than playing a painful, drawn-out farcical charade (which is possible) and THEN getting rid of me.

    FWIW, Merry Christmas to you – I hope that you have the happiest one that you can. Hugs, Tanit.

    Liked by 1 person

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