“… yeah, I am a woman in a man’s body. No, wait… a lesbian in a man’s body!” I was at a going away luncheon the other day when I suddenly became aware of what the guy next to me was joking about. Sensitized to the subject, it doesn’t take much to get my attention. Yes, he was joking, but seriously. I felt a little conspicuous sitting right next to him with breast buds poking at my shirt, perfectly groomed eyebrows, and mysterious bald patches all over my beard area. I work with nearly all men, so rest assured, no one has noticed anything yet.
As many of you are aware, work is the last place I have not transitioned yet. It is, however, coming quickly. My HR department has been wonderful and even went so far as to put me in touch with someone who transitioned at one of our other offices. I really couldn’t ask for better. We still need to finish smoothing out the overall plan, but it should not be much longer now. All in all, very pleasantly surprising considering I work in an industry that well, leans a little more on the conservative side. It’s been a lesson learning not to assume I will be judged based on a person’s political or religious leanings. Not saying it will never happen, but still, it’s been a treat being proven wrong so many times.
I’m a little worried, however, about my group. When I took this position about 5 years ago, I had the opportunity to basically hand pick my team. I poached a few from other groups and hired a few more. I am very pleased with the result, and as such tend to get a little overprotective of them. That’s the problem. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t be anxious, but I do and therefore I am. I want to expect the best, but very unsure about how they will really feel about working for a woman like me.
Now, I do think there is a pretty good chance they think I’m gay. They know I’m getting divorced, but still keep up with the ‘I love you’s’ on the phone and evade all questions. I often wear colorful stripped socks and my jeans have a rather feminine cut to them. No embroidered heart on the ass or anything, but still on the femme side of androgynous. That and how uncomfortable some of them looked when another manager was making jokes about one of our customers being “light in the loafers” and needing a good wash after shaking hands with him. Yeah, now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure they think I’m gay.
This is good news because as far as I can tell, loyalty has been phenomenal and they continue to exceed expectations in all regards. If they do think I’m gay, I don’t think they have a problem with it. In the minds of heterosexual cisgender people, gay and trans are inextricably linked, probably because of the whole LGBT thing. If that is the case, it gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, everything is going to be all right. My company contact advised that it is far better to give people the opportunity to support us, and not to do so by running to another job, would be doing them a disservice. Oh, how much I hope she’s right!