After 30 years on this planet, a year and a half of transition, seven months of hormones, and four months of working with HR, I can’t believe the day is here, but it’s finally time to come out at work. In just fifteen minutes, I’ll be heading into a meeting with my manager to tell him I’m trans and I am transitioning. As soon as I walk out of this meeting, I will be sending an email to my entire company telling them the same. Our parent company is around 3,500 employees, but I only have to worry about the 55 or so that work for my smaller company and around ten of them already know and support me. Once the email is out, my work life will be at the mercy of all my coworkers, but I don’t foresee any major issues. After working here for almost six years, I feel confident that most people here will be positive and supportive with just two or three exceptions. This Friday, I will begin showing up to work as my real self.
Once I send this email, I can also finally post about this on Facebook and update my profile to reflect my real name and show a more accurate photo. Unfortunately, I’m friends with too many coworkers on Facebook to have been able to do this before today and, after thinking a lot about it, I had decided not to create a new account. For Facebook, I plan on writing a very short message and then linking to this post here for a longer bit about it. I’ve already posted this letter on my old Twitter account and received a lot of positive responses!
Anyway, I wanted to share what my work letter will be just to give an idea of what I felt like I needed to say here and to also help any of my fellow trans sisters (and brothers) in the future who may be grasping at how to start writing such a letter.
At first glance, this email may look a little long, but it’s very important to me and I promise I did my best to be as concise as possible. It would truly mean a lot if you could take a few minutes to read the entire thing.
Over the last year and a half, you have likely noticed the changes I’ve slowly been making in my life and to myself. Those of you whom I am friends with on Facebook have seen even more. For some of you, it may have been obvious, but for others, maybe not so much. Regardless of whether or not you’ve noticed them or figured out why I have been making these changes, the time has come for this email to be sent.
I am transgender. I have been transgender my entire life. Though I’ve mostly kept this hidden, I don’t see it as anything for me to be ashamed of. Last year, I finally came to the understanding that I can no longer continue living the lie I have lived for the last 30 years. I wasn’t being honest with myself and I wasn’t being honest with those around me and in my life. I wasn’t happy. I made the decision, or rather, accepted the decision, to transition and stop pretending to be something and someone I’m not. I wanted to begin living my life the way I should be living it, as the real me.
The simple way to explain what my being transgender means is to say I identify as a woman, but it’s so much more than that. I don’t just identify as a woman, I am a woman. I have felt this way every day of my life, all the way back to my earliest childhood memories. This is not simply about clothing or a name, but it is an innate sense of self and who I am. However, I am not “trapped” in the wrong body, instead, like many trans people, it is less about anything physical, but more mental, emotional, and social.
Your first reaction may be to see being trans and transitioning in a negative light, be it tragic or painful…maybe even just as confusion. Being trans is none of these things to me. The reality is the last year and half of transitioning has been an extremely positive and amazing experience. This is a change in my life that I want to do. It excites me and gives me hope. I have found who I really am.
Starting immediately, I am asking everyone to begin referring to me only by my real name, Amelia (or Amy for short), and only using female pronouns (she/her/hers). I also ask for you refrain from any casual use of words like “man,” “dude,” “bro,” or “guy” in reference to me. Sometime in the next 24 hours, my name will be officially changed within the <parent company> system and you will see this reflected in Outlook and Communicator, as well as our internal <company> live site. While I realize this may take some getting used to and I expect the occasional slip-up, I ask for your understanding in the importance of using my correct name and pronouns. I will kindly and politely correct you when you make a mistake, but I will not take offense unless it feels deliberate.
Additionally, this Friday, November 1, I will begin coming to work as Amelia.
You may find all of this to be completely shocking or you may be saying to yourself “yup, that makes sense.” My friends and family have been pretty evenly split between the two camps. Regardless of your level of surprise, I do hope you are able to understand I’m still the same person you’ve come to know over the last (almost) six years. I may present myself differently and more accurately, but I still have the same interests (I will never stop running marathons!) and opinions and enjoy the same conversations I always have. There just happens to also be other things about me which I’ve kept hidden. For my fellow Doctor Who fans, think of this simply as a regeneration.
I also hope you won’t feel awkward or as though you need to be walking on eggshells around me. Just continuing to respect me as you would anyone else in the office and treating me much the way you already do is perfect. Beyond that, I only ask for you see me the same as any other woman in the office and for your understanding that some words (e.g. “tranny,” “she-male,” “shim,” “he-she,” “pre-op,” “post-op,” “sex change,” “MTF,” “TGirl,” and “it.”) are entirely inappropriate and never okay (generally, “trans woman” would be the correct word to use).
I realize you likely have many questions and there is a lot you may be interested in knowing. As much as I wish I could, I cannot cover everything in this email. Trust me, you would not want to read an email that long! Many of you are aware of how open of a person I am and this has not changed. If you have questions, please feel free to come over to my desk, Skype me, or email me. I will gladly answer almost anything to demystify what being trans really is and help create a greater understanding. If you’re interested, I can also send you a fantastic and curated list of resources and links which I keep and continually update and has been very helpful for my friends and family, just email me <my personal email address>. Either way, I can promise you it’s really not all that complicated!
Lastly, for those of you who know Danielle, we would prefer not to discuss our relationship or have it discussed by others. This our private life and we would like to keep it that way. We have also decided that any and all questions you have regarding me or my transition be directed to only me and not her.
Thank you for taking the time to read all of this and thank you even more for your support going forward. This is truly an exciting and positive change in my life and I am happy to be experiencing it here and around all of you.