I had the opportunity to meet with another Director in my organization a few days ago. After our business discussion, he asked if he could ask me a personal question, to which I always reply “yes”, knowing full well it will probably be something about my transition or being transgender. I appear to be the “go to” person in my organization, and ya know, I’m good with that. Anyway, it was about my journey. He simply asked how it was going, how I feel that my transition has been viewed at work.
Now, one might think that is a rather simply question. In truth, for me it is. But for many, honestly?? Not so much. For me, everything is going fine. No issues. I do my job, work with some great people, have fun and get a boat load of stuff done in the process. We pump out an amazing amount of work, and with great people contributing, the quality is exemplary and ya, we have a few laughs along the way. I know that for some, that is not the case, but that is a longer discussion which I will return to another day, so stay tuned!
Anyway. I’m good. I decided to take the opportunity to turn the tables and ask him how he thinks it is going. He said quite frankly that the “novelty” wore off in about 48 hours. He saw that I was essentially the same person, just waaaay happier, and, parenthetically, much better looking!! Ha ha. I was going about my job as always, but was more comfortable and confident in my own skin, now that I was able to be my correct gender, the one I was born with. He said everyone else he spoke with in those early days was pretty much in the same camp. They loved how I was much happier and just going about my business, so what’s the issue? For them? None. I’m so lucky.
But it gets better. He was at a trade show event a few months ago and met up with someone I worked very close with for five years, but he left our organization about 10 years ago to work for the competition. He said this person came up to him and said “So, what is all this ‘Erin’ stuff, what the hell is that all about?” My colleague simply said “she is now Erin, much happier and is doing great, no issue.” Essentially, he shut him down. Awesome!
This comes to the moral of the story, so to speak. Supporters are so important, dare I say necessary, to our journey. As trans people, we rely on others. We have to. We don’t transition in isolation. It impacts many in our sphere of contact or influence. For those of you who know someone who is transgender, please keep this in mind. Support means so much. And it doesn’t mean that you have to be a cheerleader…that is something different (see prior blog post for explanation). It just means they know that you have their back. They can count on being treated with dignity and respect and any time they aren’t, you will speak up and support them. It really isn’t that difficult. And it may seem obvious to many of you. But so many in my community are not supported. And that is just wrong.
My supporters made my transition so smooth. Not effortless by any means. It was a lot, and I mean a lot of work on my part. But I made it. Just not sure if I would have with them. I am fortunate that I have people like Jeff, my colleague who shut down the other person depicted above. That had such a big impact for me, but only took him 30 seconds to do. A lot of the times, it is the little things that make the biggest difference.
So, think about it. If not you, then who?