Question for transgendered dopers

Quick background:
In May I finally came to term that I was transgendered and my wife has been great in supporting me in this. She knew I had certain behaviors when we got together. I opened up to her and let her know everything.(We got together in 1999). I did not want to ruin the potential relationship keeping this type of thing from her. The clues have been there all my life but it was not until May that I finally accepted it. I don’t belong to a support group but have communicated with another that is transgendered and it has helped me a lot. I keep flip flopping between wanting to get SRS and not, so I know it is not something that I am ready for(or may never be ready for). I have searched the archives and could not locate any related threads.

Ok now to my questions:
Have you come out at where you worked and if so, how did they react?
Have you experienced discrimination(overt or covert)?
How did you do it? Was it like “Hey Bob, how are the queues today? Oh by the way I am transgendered.”(I work at a call center) Or was it more of giving your co-workers small clues so it would not be much of a surprise?
When you discovered you were transgendered , how long did it take you to come out at work?
What would you say was the hardest part of coming out?
My manager knows but no one else. My manager was pretty cool about it and I trust him. He had questions and I did my best to answer them.

Thanks in advance and I would appreciate any further information that you could provide.

I am not out at work. I transitioned between jobs and started my last job fully transitioned except for my name change, which was not yet final. I outed myself to HR, who kept it to herself. Six months later I was outed to management by a coworker, but management squashed the rumor rather than make an issue of it. At my current job, I have told nobody and since I’ve since had my DL changed, I probably won’t get outed unless someone either tracks it down or the SSA outs me (which it may). Since discrimination on the basis of gender identity is illegal where I live, I don’t expect any trouble (there’d be an instant lawsuit if they tried to fire me for being trans at this point).

Not that I’m aware of, but it is possible. Before I got my driver’s license changed, my DL would have outed me, and I’ve had some odd looks at times in airports, but nothing I would call discrimination. I’ve probably experienced some degree of sexual discrimination, however.

No relevant comments, since I am not out and transitioned between jobs.

Any other questions? :slight_smile:

Kelly-what is SSA?

Social Security Administration (WAG)

I should have put a question mark at the end of Administration. :smack:

Not to get off topic, I was looking for work related answers:
But how hard was it for you to transition and did you specifically quit one job because of the transition or was it a coincedence(sp?) that you were between jobs?

It was coincidence. Technically I transitioned while I was still working, but the job in question was a telecommuting position and since nobody actually ever saw me, my transition 26 days before I (and all my co-workers) were laid off had no effect on my job. I would probably have eventually had to tell my boss, but he mooted the point by folding the company.

SSA is indeed the Social Security Administration, who may well send my new employer a “letter of variance” when they file my Social Security wages report listing me as female when their records say I’m male. I can’t change my sex with SSA until after I’ve had surgery, unlike the State of Illinois, which let me change my sex on my driver’s license based only on a letter from my psychologist.

My transition wasn’t exceedingly challenging, but that was in part because I had already burned most of my bridges. In many ways, my transition was more a matter of terminating contact with virtually all of the people who insisted on knowing me as a male, leaving behind only those who knew me as female.

Thank you for the information KellyM.

I am not sure that I could break contact with all that know me as male(if I ever start going that route) I think that is one of the reasons it is so hard for me. Many of the personal stories that I have read on the internet had that point where the old life was left behind to start the new one. I am not sure I could make that sacrifice. :frowning: I am just hoping that my daughter will not be harrassed as she grows older if I ever make that leap.

If there is anyone else that would like to share, please do.

odaran, there are many people who fully transition with the support of their family and friends. Every case is individual, of course, but transitioning by itself doesn’t always mean you must give up contact with those who knew you pre-transition.

I wanted also to say about that that not everyone whose gender is different from what they were assigned is necessarily transsexual. We’re only starting to realize that gender is fill-in-the-blank, not multiple choice. It may be, in the end, that you decide that transition is right for you; you should also be prepared for the case in which it isn’t, and (most importantly) be sure that you are in the care of health professionals who don’t believe that the only option for any kind of gender variance is SRS.

Odaran, if you search the forums for “transgender,” you should get several pages of responses, some less useful than others… there have been a number of different threads about the various aspects of this, and a great deal of useful information and linkage is out there.

I know that there have been various threads about transgenderism on the message boards. That is why I felt it was safe asking my questions. When I performed a search for threads, I did not see any titles concerning “coming out” at work. That is why I created this one. I was looking for information on what might be the best way to come out(if I ever do). I know it is unique to each situation but I thought that if I asked I might get some good tips for if/when I do come out.

I think I can answer here, although I am not a transgendered person myself. My boss went through SRS last year, and I watched the entire transformation from a seemingly happily married family man, to transgendered (and divorced) female. I have worked for her for almost 14 years, so I know this person quite well.

She gave some clues to the employees (she is an owner) in the form of dressing in female roles at Halloween and wearing androgynous clothing in general. She was never a real masculine male, so none of this was that shocking, but people did start to talk. She also experimented with make-up, facial electrolysis, and waxing her arms and legs. This was taking place as she was coming out to her family, I suspect. She also began to talk about her wishes of becoming a woman with another owner of our company, who leaked it to some of the employees. That particular owner was rather immature about the whole thing, and if anything, seemed to encourage jokes and such.

Eventually, she sat the whole company down and in a very tense and emotional speech, outed herself to everyone. I don’t know many people who have that kind of courage.

The reaction was mixed. The vast majority of employees were understanding and supportive. Everyone praised her courage. There were only two who seemed to have a hard time with it. One was the other owner I mentioned, and the other was an extremely “conventional” person, and I will leave it at that. They happened to be the two in the company most concerned with appearing “manly”. Their difficulty with the situation appeared in the form of gossip and immature comments to other employees, not anything confrontational.

In retrospect, I think the gossip would have been less if she had simply come out right away, rather than attempt to throw out clues first. We were aware that she was experimenting with makeup, clothing, etc., but until people knew why, the gossip was really starting to pick up momentum. I understand that she was perhaps not sure enough yet, so she wasn’t ready to make the big announcement to everyone. It’s a tough call.

The company downsized substantially shortly after that announcement due to other circumstances. That other owner is gone, and the extremely “conventional” employee quit soon after. Her SRS has not changed anything for those of us who remained. She is still basically the same person we have always known. It appears she was able to make the transition while maintaining most of her old life, but not all of it.

To be fair, she didn’t say she’d broken contact with everyone who had ever known her as a man. She broke off contact with people who insisted on knowing her only as a man. Those people who could not, or would not, accept her as a woman and had thus become toxic relationships for her, in other words. If you decide to transition, you won’t have to leave everyone and everything behind. You’ll have to leave some people and some things, yes, but that’s true for any major life change.

At any rate, there’s no big rush to make a decision. Being transgendered isn’t a condition that’s going to go away, after all, so you’ve pretty much got all the time in the world to think this over. Good luck, no matter what you decide is right for you.

I didn’t break contact (as CrazyCatLady points out) with everyone who knew me as male. Some of my best friends (including my girlfriend, who I’ve been with now for nearly four years) knew me as male, but because they were willing to accept that they were mistaken about that and accepted me as female, they remained friends.

Transitioning at work is especially hard because there will almost always be people at work who refuse to accept your transition, but whom you have no choice but to work with. My advice is to try to get those people fired, or at least transferred so that you do not have to work with them. Your right to your dignity exceeds their right to make fun of you.

Bolding mine

I am sorry I misread your post. I do most of the message board thing from work and I never know when someone is going to pop their head over my cube wall and read over my shoulder, so depending on the topic, sometimes I have to read fast. Once again, I am sorry I misunderstood what you had said. I feel like a :wally now.

Good luck to you, odaran in your journey. :slight_smile:

And if noone minds a slight hijack I have a question for KellyM

So, with these quotes in mind, are you planning to have SRS, and if so how does your girlfriend feel about it?

Again, I apologize for the hijack…just one of those poor curious souls I am :wink:

Hijack all you want. I am always looking for information from any source.

Knowlege is power!

Yes, I am planning to have surgery, as soon as I can reasonably afford it. I’ll let lee answer the other question, as I should not wish to speak for her when she’s quite capable of doing so herself.

I never knew KellyM as a man. I met her online about ten years ago. We played an esoteric game with some others via email. It came out that her real life name was a boy name, and I was quite angry that she had lied to direct questions about her sex. I later dropped out of the game, keeping an eye on it though every few years. I was a member again when she came back and came out as a transsexual. I stopped being angry at her because it was clear she had not lied. We began talking online when I mistook her for another aquaintance named Kelly. We became good friends, and talked a lot, at least when she had a working computer. She was still married at this point, and hoped to keep her marriage together even through transition. Her computer broke, her wife left her, and I did not hear from her for months. When she came back online we became even better friends. I worried about her a lot. She was alone.

She helped me prove an cow-orker was really asking for something impossible and I said I would buy her dinner. When I had a chance, I did. Since I had visited her, she owed me a visit. The first one went well and so we had another visit. That one was rather more interesting. All this time I had no intention of being more than good friends. I found her attractive, but I did not think she needed to get involved so soon. Misread signals lead rapidly to lovemaking. Not traditional fucking, but lovemaking all the same. That was in 2000.

Our daughter was born May of last year. She was conceived as far as I can tell the very first time we made love the way that causes that sort of thing. We were very lucky. Her having a penis has not been the focus of our lovemaking. I am bisexual and am pleased with all of her bits. She is not. I don’t like that I need to be so careful about touching her in some ways. I want her to be happy with her body. I fantasize about what it will be like after surgery. I find her sexy now, I expect to find her sexy after the surgery.

When researching surgeons for her, I looked for the surgeons that had the best results in terms of sensitivity, and patient health, more than cosmetic issues. She does not like the thought of surgery itself. No more than anyone would. I think it is like when I needed to have my wisdom teeth out. I would fantasize about not having the pain, but not about them cutting my jaw open to get the teeth out. That I did not want to think about.

So far the very hardest thing that I have had to deal with because KellyM is transsexual is that when I found out I was pregnant, she was stunned and stayed stunned for about three days. I would have liked her to be as happy as I was as soon as I was.

Congratulations on your daughter, I am really happy for you. I have a daughter that will be 3 years old Sept. 11th. It was one of the greatest thing in my life. It has also kept my “bad” thoughts at bay(I have been diagnosed depressive with manic tendencies. Almost did myself in 5 years ago. I think some of it might be/have due to the gender conflict that has been inside me so long). I am really glad that you two have found each other and I hope if the day ever comes and I get SRS my marriage will be strong enough. I really love my wife and cannot dream of being with out her. On a side note she likes my bits also :smiley: . I like my bits too but I also wonder how it would be it I traded them in for the other kind. I think that is another reason I am on the fence about getting SRS.

One of the things that makes me optimistic about how KellyM will do after surgery is that she can orgasm without direct genital stimulation. The first time I made her orgasm like that she said, “You made me come!” in the same tone of voice as used in that old commercial, “You sank my battleship!” She was very surprised. I wasn’t.