Saturday, October 10, 2015

Just in time for coming out day

(cross-posted from elsewhere, but I thought it was blog-worthy as well)

Every month, the engineering team at my startup gets together to report on what we’ve accomplished that sprint (development cycle), with a short slideshow and demo. I asked my boss to go last today, and after the rest of my presentation, when everyone was starting to drift away from the conference table, I showed this final slide, my heart pounding so hard in my chest I could barely ignore it. I took a deep breath, and dove in.

“Some of you know this,” I said. “And some of you probably suspect, by changes I’ve been making recently. I’m transgender. I’m about a year into my transition, and if any of you have questions, feel free to come to me.”

My ally asked how I wanted people to refer to me (she’s awesome! Perfect setup!), so I said: “Female pronouns would be great. I realize that may take some of you a little time-” (at which point my boss interrupted to tell me that I should correct people anyway). “We’re all going through a sort of transition together,” I went on. “I promise I won’t jump down your throats if you occasionally slip.” Again, my boss (and his boss) both said a word or two of support (they’ve both known for a few months), and... then it was done.

A few of my co-workers approached me afterward, expressing their admiration at my courage, and I did my best to be gracious, still a little tiny bit in shock. I’d done it. I’m out. The only people at this point who don’t know are my sister, my parents, my old Mormon congregation, and Facebook. I suspect a lot of those conversations may not go this well, but it ultimately doesn’t matter. I’m me, now, 24/7.

No more hiding.

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