There are so many concerns that are floating around inside the head of someone who is just starting their transition. Typically one of the biggest of those concerns is coming out. There is the possibility of many different outcomes. For me the negativity was overwhelming. When I first decided it was time to start my transition I had been working at my job for many years. Even a few of those years were spent as a manager. I was close with the entire staff and several of them worried me about how they would handle it.
At first I would make subtle hints and strike conversation about being gay or other things along those lines. I really just wanted to feel everyone out and determine who to tell first. At the time we had this girl who happened to be a lesbian. Conversations came so easy for us. She was my first choice and was probably the only one whom I thought would fully understand without much explanation. She was also the first person I came out to. It was really no surprise that she took the news swimmingly. After coming out we would spend our shifts discussing my feelings and she offered a lot in the form of support and wisdom. She really helped me build the courage to move on to the next person, even if it wasn’t until a few months later when I finally went for it.
Once I managed to tell the second person it started to feel a lot easier. I had two of my coworkers on my side so it felt as though I had backup if I ever needed it. I got through almost everyone, which surprisingly was pretty painless. It seemed as though telling my boss was going to be like entering the final stage of a video game and coincidentally… having to face “the boss.” This wasn’t because I didn’t think she would take the news well though, I just knew that telling her was the final step. It did help that she already called me her best girl friend because we were so close and she didn’t really have someone to talk to as we did. Little did she know that was one of the biggest compliments she has ever given me.
I finally messaged her and asked her to go out for drinks with me because I had something to tell her. Unlike the others I needed to have my complete focus to overcome my nervousness. Having a few beers in me seemed like a wise choice. We sat there for maybe three minutes before she was asking me what this was about. I remember the exact sentence that came out of my mouth. I swallowed my sip of beer and cleared my throat. The words that followed would change everything between us. Then I went for it. “What if I were to tell you that I am going to become a woman?’ Without even a moment of questions she embraced those words and even reiterated how I was already her best girl friend. Although, she did think I was just going to tell her I was gay. I guess I pulled a fast one on her.
The rest of our evening was spent discussing how to handle this change at work. She had not a concern in the world for my job security. It was quite relieving to hear my boss having no worries about it. Luckily for us, our district manager was really nice and he too embraced the new me with almost no question. This was a huge step considering in Pennsylvania there is still no protection in the work place for transgender individuals. Plus the company also had no rule protecting trans people either. Surprisingly I was even given permission to change my name so it would say Claire on my receipts instead of my legal name. I was also allowed to wear a nametag that matched my gender identity. My transition at work couldn’t have gone any better.