One of the best gifts transition has given me has been my freedom from so many of the fears that once ruled my life. One of the fears I happily lost is being prosecuted or having judgement passed on me by people who where surely going to do it. Nowadays, should you be a conservative or a member of some other group that is often cast as unjust to the LGBT community in the media or via “common knowledge”, I’ll be meeting you under the belief that you will turn out to be bigger than your politics because, typically, I’ve found that’s been the case.
Though I remain disappointed when people or organizations turn out to prefer to discriminate.
I’m also hurt when people or organizations assume the worst of me.
Twice now, it’s been brought to my attention that there has been legal paranoia around me. First, was when I came out. As soon as upper management found out they went through a legal thing (I don’t know what it was exactly hence I’m calling it a legal thing) to protect themselves. Then when I interviewed for my current position, my interviewers were told multiple times to be careful around me so I didn’t sue later.
I’m not naive. I’m well aware there are those in the transcommunity who are more than eager to lawyer up if given the opportunity. I am aware of that. But I don’t want to get tied up here and now in with when I would or wouldn’t support a lawsuit because what I do want to talk about is basic human decency.
In the trans community there is this idea of going stealth. That is, when the transperson does everything they can to cover up their birth sex. I’m not going to get into the politics of if stealth is a good idea or a bad idea here either. What I am going to do with it is ask what is the temptation to “go stealth?” I think an answer is, in part, to make being trans not a problem.
When I personally came out I was dedicated to the idea of not making my being trans a problem to a fault so I waffled on what bathroom I should use when I was asked. My awesome HR director at that time had no such reservations and instead insisted, “You’re a woman, you’re using the women’s room.” Though she did offer to do a shared bathroom too. “Whatever you need to be comfortable”, she’d said. So my point is, they were dedicated to making me feel welcome and just another one of the girls in the office.
As for my job now, my interviewers treated me with basic human decency. By the fact that HR sent out the message, “Don’t get us sued” it’s obvious that they knew I am trans when they brought me in. But they gave me the same fair shot as anyone else and ultimately a job based on my technical merit. My wish, should we somehow get the chance to do things over again, is HR would give their people enough credit to be big enough to not discriminate and that they’d trust me to not create an issue that isn’t or wasn’t there.
I must admit that had I learned about HR’s freakout before I took the job I hope I would have taken that information as a portent to the situation I was getting myself into. In truth, some days in my current position I feel like the people in HR expect me to come in wearing a suit and tie saying some crap like, “I’ve got my head on straight now!”. Yeah, that ain’t NEVER NEVER NEVER EVER EVER going to happen. That said, what makes the situation sad is my bosses are good people if “Aw geez MEN! Gagh!” inducing sometimes. My co-workers, they’re the same as anywhere else I ever worked or gone to school. Some I want to get to know better, some I’ll take or leave, one or two are “that person at work”. The situation is normal. They all don’t make me being trans a problem or treat me any different than any other gal. I wish I could say the same for HR cause then, I’d have the best job I ever had.