I don’t want to start at the beginning because that was a long time ago. instead I’m going to start at the beginning of when I seriously started to consider what a transition would look like. To give you some context, I work in finance, I’m an investment advisor, the old fashioned term for that was stock broker, but that’s not really a good title, most of what I do is financial planning. Anyways, what’s important is that the average wealthy client (the people I work with to get paid) are not necessarily the type of person one thinks of when they think of the forefront of a social revolution. They generally think, older, conservative, and most importantly, conservative.
So back to the point of this story, how was I, someone who was already significantly younger then my peers (10 years younger then the youngest people in my profession) going to make this happen. Spoiler warning, that parts not written yet.
What I can do then is discuss how I started figuring this out. The first thing that’s important to consider is that worrying about other people is a great way to delay your transition. I began my journey to transition while I was in college, I was legitimately terrified that I would be un-hireable if I was visibly Trans. That was only 4 years ago.
What I didn’t realise was that by focussing on my job I would enter down a path with a company that would delay my transition a further 3 years. The biggest consideration after, will they fire/constructively dismiss me from this job if they find out I’m Trans, is whether or not the company you work for will be supportive enough to see that parade, circus even, of professionals it takes to begin medical transition. While also keeping you sane and in a healthy enviornment the whole way. A company can be inclusive and accepting like a fake smile on a salesman. However just like getting a good discount true acceptance and support will never quite be attainable. unless you can transition on well wishes and awkward silence alone. If you can please let me in on our secret.
The next consideration is whether or not the environment is transition friendly. one of my first jobs with a major financial institution introduced me to the absolute terror and misunderstanding these organisations have with Trans people. I was warned on one of my first days about this terror of a person. This ‘woman’ who I needed to handle so gently lest I set off a lawsuit because this special snowflake of a person was so apt to flip their lid. A few weeks later said person came in, not perfectly stealth but very close and I must say she looked pretty good. I had the honour to serve her when she got to the front of the line, was she mean and ready to jump down everyone’s throat, of course not, was she terrified and worried that I was going to out her… again… at that bank, damn Skippy she was. Were all of my co-workers whispering and sending me messages making sure I didn’t mess this up because of the drama that would ensue, of course. Did I treat her like a normal person, yes, was she visibly relieved after dealing with me, yes. Did I have the courage to interact and set the record straight with my co-workers as I should have. No. Myself a Transwoman, myself fully knowing what was going on. Of course not I was too busy finding new and more elaborate ways to hide what I’d slowly been unwinding in myself the past year. I let it slide, I endured many more comments about that five minute exchange. Scaring me further into the closet when after so long I have made the first steps towards the door. Be careful who you work with, even well meaning and open minded people can prevent you from pursuing your truth and happiness.
We are not yet in a world that is fully supportive of Trans people. Big companies with big inclusion policies are not always what they say they are. If you’re caught in the middle of your career and future, and your transition and future, be careful to consider how both parts of that will work. Just a couple considerations.