Tattoos and shock jock radioPosted: May 25, 2014 Filed under: coming out | Tags: coming out, gender identity, genderqueer, lgbt, lgbtq, lgbtqia, non-binary, queer, radio djs, shock jock, tattoos, trans, transgender, transphobia, work 2 Comments
This past week, I had two opportunities to come out to someone at work, and I ended up not taking either. And… I feel OK about it. I haven’t been beating myself up about the lost chance; I know more will come along. I’m not putting pressure on myself for taking the easy way out – I’ve stopped looking at these types of situations in those terms. What’s important is that these opportunities felt within my grasp, and that’s a new thing! Now that I’ve felt that, I’ll imagine opportunities will start popping up left and right. Because once it feels like that door is open, conversations that did not previously feel like opportunities, suddenly do. And, I will get there.
Both of these conversations occurred one-on-one, with the head of the kitchen (someone I don’t work with, but have a somewhat comfortable rapport with). I don’t see her on a regular basis, but when I fill in for my supervisor during the day-time hours, we have plenty of time to sit and chat.
1. She was describing a tattoo she was planning on getting. She showed me a picture on her iPhone of the tattoo she wants. We discussed tattoos at length. I told her all about my partner’s tattoos, and about how her brother is a tattoo artist. Finally, I told her I have a tattoo. She didn’t act surprised or ask to see it (she knows I scare easily, haha.) At a later time, she again brought up her plans to get a tattoo. I took that opportunity to show her mine, which is located below my right clavicle. She was nonchalant and didn’t ask what it is or what it means. And I didn’t tell her, but it felt like I could have, which is new.
What it is: It’s the trans* symbol, except it’s disassembled and rearranged (I came up with the idea long before I got the tattoo). I guess it just means that I’ve felt simultaneously connected and disconnected from identifying as transgender, for a very long time. I feel that the term is accurate in describing me, but it also feels splintered, fractured / I feel disengaged. If she had asked, I wouldn’t have said this exactly; I’m not sure what I would have told her!
2. On Wednesday, this town’s worst shock jock radio hosts Kimberly and Beck were suspended indefinitely from their radio station, after making hateful comments against the transgender community. There was such an outpouring as a result, that they were fired by Entercom Radio on Thursday morning. I have my head in such a hole, that I didn’t know anything about it. The head of the kitchen mentioned it to me around lunch-time on Thursday. She showed me the article on her iPhone. (I was super elated by this news. I have strongly disliked Kimberly and Beck for years. I looked it up, and they’ve been on the air, every morning, for 13 years!!!)
We discussed how they crossed a line, and how you just don’t say shit like that. I was so close to telling her that I know a lot of transgender people, and that I am transgender. In my head, I got hung up on the part where I tell her how I identify, specifically, I guess because it’s not that straightforward / I want to be taken seriously when I do tell people. So I just let the moment pass, but, again, the potential of it felt new and interesting. Like I could see the conversation starting to formulate, and that’s exciting.
Work is like the final frontier, in my head. If I could come out at work, it would be an incredible accomplishment. And this is how I would do it – start with one person, start with one-on-one conversations, and see what happens. Even though I didn’t get there this week, I will. And more importantly, IGNORANT SHOCK JOCK DJS TALKING SHIT GOT FIRED FOR THEIR SHIT!!! And the radio station seemed to do the right thing every step of the way. They even had two local trans* activists on air to discuss some issues. This is incredible!!!
I was definitely proud of your city’s community for making that happen. I was glad to see their apology. I certainly hope it was heartfelt.
I’m glad you had some good conversations at work! They sound like they were productive. The fact that the shock jock discussion was brought up by someone else (I’m assuming they didn’t identify as trans based on your description) is awesome too.
I would also see an opening for coming out, then berate myself for not taking it, even though I really wanted to say something. When you’re ready, you take the opportunity without thinking. Picking up positive hints is a good start!
I’ve had my fair share of “spontaneous” coming outs. You can’t really prepare for these (and boy do I fumble!) but something is said and gets people thinking, which is the important part. I don’t get too hung up on explaining my identity or anything, just what it means TO ME.
I’ve learned to follow my gut and “go with the flow.”