What does it mean to be an out trans professional?
What does it mean to be out, to be authentically yourself?
I’ve talked a lot about how I feel about my situation. I’ve written about what’s happened to me along the way. I’ve written about how I’ve had to become a person who could not just survive but thrive, mostly painfully and generally long after I should have.
Being out is a state of vulnerability. That doesn’t imply a negative connotation, vulnerability is how we grow. It does mean opening up to the possibility of being hurt. I’ve talked before about how ones gender identity can be used against them in numerous ways, but being out is giving that power to others, there’s times that it hurts. There’s times that people will use it against you.
Being out means being vulnerable with others, being open for your own sake and sanity, and not having that openness reciprocated. It means being kind to yourself when others are not.
The reality is that anyone you work with, whether you work in a large or small organization nor whether you deal with the public or not, likely doesn’t have a profound amount of experience with trans people. If you’re lucky enough to work alongside other trans people then maybe you’re the exception, but for most folks you’re looking at being a lightening rod for people’s concepts on gender.
Gender doesn’t specifically refer to transness, or your gender identity, but people’s entire concept of gender, their feelings towards gender norms, their feelings on sexism, their feelings on sexuality and plaster that on to you.
So it’s tough, you’re navigating the expectations of others in a very real way. While likely also navigating your own issues.
In my experience coming out, living authentically, and dealing with my issues has opened up a Pandora’s box of underlying feelings and shortcomings. From a lack of emotional constraint, on account of the not having feelings before, to a lack of developmental milestones that express themselves in unique and interesting ways.
So the short answer to being trans professionally is that it’s complicated, it’s not bad, in fact it’s quite good. It’s difficult to manage the wall of expectations, the weight of bias and judgement that follows you. For which it takes a tremendous amount of patience, it also comes with the talents and skills that come with looking yourself to the depth of your soul and denying everything anyone every told you about yourself. Talents and skills that most people won’t have.
So it’s hard, and difficult, but so is being trans, and the upside is so much better then the alternative.