Saturday, October 8, 2011

Tucker and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coming Out Story

Okay, so a lot has happened. I'm sorry, I can only write about myself so much before I get tired. But I think this is important.

So when I was about a month on T, I realized I still hadn't come out at work. I work for a international, moderately large publishing company in Boston, so I fortunately wasn't too worried about discrimination from the company itself. They've received a number of commendations from HRC and others for their ethical and diverse workplace. (They also have a gender clause in their non-discrimination policy). I'm also fortunate enough to live and work in Boston, where gender expression is also protected by law.

So my concerns were, fortunately, pretty personal. I work very closely with one woman, let's call her S, who is my boss, as well as the VP of my department, let's call her L, who is the woman I initially interviewed with. I'm fairly close with both of them, and my department is also very female dominated. I was pretty sure they wouldn't say anything offensive, but I was worried about... I don't know, making them uncomfortable. Which is silly, I know, but I was worried.

Anyway, I talked to my girlfriend, friends and therapist about this and realized I really couldn't put it off any longer. I also was getting really uncomfortable still being called "Rosie" and using female pronouns at work.

So that Friday, I wrote an email to S. I had been writing and rewriting this email and tinkering it for awhile, and everything I tried just sounded really formal and stiff. S and I have a fairly close, casual, joking relationship so this tone just made it seem weird. I also felt that the tone I took would set the whole tone for the office, and if I was uncomfortable with it, others would be too. So what surprised me the most about that email I wrote on Friday is that I ignored everything else and literally just typed some casual stuff out and hit send.

Keep in mind, I then immediately shut down my computer and ran out of the office for the weekend.

When I next checked my email, S had wrote me a wonderfully supportive email, saying more than anything she was happy that I felt comfortable enough at work to come out and she would be happy to do anything I needed, even though this was kind of unfamiliar territory for her. I joked, saying it was unfamiliar territory to me as well!

So that was the biggest hurdle. I then wrote a similar email to L, who called me into her office to give me a hug, and then I spoke with HR later that day, after trying to get in touch with them for a couple days. Which is funny, because you think one of their employees coming out as transgender would be like an HR wet dream. But I guess it's kind of banal. HR was great, but very HR. They said I couldn't change my Outlook name, or the name on my cube, or the name on my badge until I got my name legally changed (which is something I am not planning on doing for a little bit). This kind of struck me as weird, since my badge and door both say "Rosie", which is no more my birthname than Tucker is.  But whatever. I was too happy that everyone was onboard.

After my meeting with HR, I wrote my email to my department. I received a number of extremely encouraging, adorable and supportive emails. Seriously. I couldn't have asked for a better experience.

Since then, everyone has been calling me "Tucker" very steadily, with only a few slipups here and there and they are almost always corrected. The pronouns are a little trickier, but now that I'm further into my hormonal transition (two months!) and my voice and face are changing to be more masculine, people are slipping up less.

My favorite moment was when both L and HR said, "I don't think you'll have any problems with anyone here, but if you do, let us know. And remember: it's not your problem, it's their problem. And they have to deal with it."

That and also one of my bosses got my door nametag reprinted for me on the sly. So now my door says Tucker.


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