Coming out at work…

As I saw it because of how small the company is and the atmosphere I felt I needed to come out to the owner first. As such I wrote an email which is below:

Dear [name],

I’m writing today to talk about a personal matter. I hope you would understand that while I try my best to keep my personal life and my work life separate, this is a matter that will result in some changes in my work life.

I’m transgender. I’ve known this since I was about 12 and have tried to keep the feelings hidden away and even for a time tried to find ways to make them go away. In the end, neither strategy worked, and the discomfort caused by trying to suppress these feelings just kept growing. To support myself, I started going to therapy a year ago and have been exploring my options with my therapist.

The options I am pursuing include common effective treatments for Gender Dysphoria such as psychotherapy, hormonal treatments and/or various surgeries. These treatments follow the World Professional Association for Transgender Health “Standards of Care” which set out guidelines to support persons like me. My therapist and medical doctor are following these Standards in their care of me.

One of the Standards is to live as a woman on a full time basis. Up until now I have only been doing so outside of work. It is now time for me to make these changes at work. I am hopeful we can meet very soon to discuss how we can work together to make this happen smoothly and successfully. Among the changes I expect will happen are name and pronouns, work paperwork, insurance, and day-to-day appearance. I also would very much like to talk with you about how and when to inform the rest of the company.

Finally and most importantly I want to say this change will not affect my ability to do my job.

I look forward to discussing this with you and addressing any questions or concerns you might have.

So that’s the email I sent. I can’t really say I didn’t know what to expect, I mean I’ve been at the company over a year now and have gotten to know the owner or rather what type of person they seem to be and I didn’t think the worst would happen. Okay, that’s not completely true but I’ll honestly chalk it up to the part of me that accounts for the “tin foil hat” scenario if you will.

It’s a bit funny to look back on this (not that it was that long ago hehe) as I had a date range set long ago, my wife and I had talked about summer being good based on various factors. As the time grew closer I wasn’t scared… I was actually getting excited, although I guess that shouldn’t have been a surprise as this was the beginning of the transition between part time me and full time me.

The moment I hit send on the email on the other hand was a complete 180° turn. As soon as I finished hitting the send button on the email my stomach began to churn and I started to get nervous… I tried not to let it distract me from work as well I wasn’t kidding about this not affecting my ability to do my job. That was a bit harder initially but then I got busy with work and didn’t have time to think about the email.

At the end of the day I realized I hadn’t gotten a response… At first I was worried but I chose to take it as the owner must have been busy and as such didn’t have time to respond. It was toward the next day that I got a response, which was positive :), with a simple request that I come out to my coworkers one on one… At first I didn’t really understand but eventually realized as I came out to the HR person and then the head of the office that doing so one on one helped keep the distraction level under control and keep in line with my goal of not having this affect my work.

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