I came out to the principal of my school (workplace)

This blog is largely about working as a janitor and about living as a non-binary person.  I’ve struggled with the chronicling-of-my-job side of it, and with melding the two aspects of my identity.  Largely this is because I am not out at work.  It’s hard to write about work if I feel a block.  Also I’m not always sure what to share about work…  I feel tentative about it.

I am out in other areas of my life – friends all use male pronouns; relatives at least know I prefer male pronouns.  In new situations, I plan to let people know about male pronouns whenever I feel like I comfortably can.  But work has been a challenge, in my mind.

A big part of that is, what would I be asking for, exactly?  Male pronouns, and a name change down the road.  What about bathrooms?  What about my appearance?  I won’t be looking any different, as opposed to other trans-people who transition from one gender to the other.  Is this too much to ask for?  And what about kids and parents?  Where do they fit in?  I see teachers getting on board (Maybe?  One day?), but how much can I hope for it to trickle down to students and their parents?  Does it matter to me that much?

Right now, this is hurting my head.  BUT, a couple of weeks ago, I took a first step!  I had been wanting to fill the principal in about my recent hospitalization and absence.  At the time it happened, I was vague and just left it at I was hospitalized.  I did want to let her know the nature of the occurrence and just touch base about where I’m at.  I figured it would be a good time to also give her a heads up about my trans-identity.  I didn’t plan to ask for any accommodations or change-overs at this time – just wanted to let her know.

So I waited for a good time after school when she was still in the building.  I’d been psyching myself up for a few days, so the day I decided I could do it, it was definitely going to happen.  It wasn’t perfect – I knew she was getting ready for a kindergarten registration event that evening, but it kinda had to be NOW!  I kept it short, knowing she had other things.

I just popped in her office, said I’d like to touch base about where I’m at – she asked me how I was doing and I said, “Much better.”  Which was kinda true in the moment, but not true later on.  I’ve been on a roller coaster with new med adjustments and things, but I didn’t get into all of that.  I just told her that the reason I went out was that due to personal stress and work stress, I could sense my thoughts getting extremely confused and disorganized.  I sought out help from my therapist, and she’s the one who brought me to the hospital.  I’m on new meds, for now at least (the principal asked about side effects) and seeing my therapist more often for the time being.  The principal was open and supportive.

She started to wrap things up by talking about cleaning for tonight (with the event), so I knew I had to jump in with my other purpose before the moment passed.  I said, “I do have another thing to bring up, about where I’m at.  I wanted to let you know that I identify as transgender.”  I went on to specify that most people who ID this way transition from one gender to the other, and I don’t feel that – I feel like I am in the middle.  That I’ve been in this process for years, and work is the last place.  That I’m on testosterone but such a low dose that my appearance won’t be changing.  That I prefer male pronouns and plan to change my name at some point.  She listened intently and asked what I needed.  I said nothing right now, just time to maybe talk to other people within the school and come out on my own terms.  Maybe at some point an email but nothing right now.  Just eventually a name and pronoun change.  I asked her if she had any context for knowing about trans-people, and she said yes.  And that was about it.  I wrapped it up really quickly and told her thank you.  She said thank you to me too.

I don’t know what this means other than one tiny step.  Right now everything has felt so hard, this feels like nothing.  I think in time, it may feel like I opened doors up to take further steps, but as of now, it just feels like something I got out of the way.

Here’s to happier days ahead.  I should be happy about this, and hopefully it will sink in later…


20 Comments on “I came out to the principal of my school (workplace)”

  1. Congrats! That’s awesome, well done 🙂

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  2. Kasey Weird says:

    Congratulations! I’m so glad it went well 🙂

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  3. Congratulations 🙂 that was a big big step forward , you are very brave 🙂

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  4. janetsbreeze says:

    That was so brave! Congrats!

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  5. sharon says:

    Congratulations! So glad it went well.

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  6. Jamie Ray says:

    Good that you can trust the Principal and that it is out in the open with no pressure for anyone to take any action yet. Hope it reduces the stress on you. Be well.

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  7. calherel says:

    Nice! I just recently did this too, as a high school student… Kind of stressful isnt it… Coming out to an administration is much different from friends and family, because in a way they don’t care specifically about you. They care more about the labor (in your case) you do, so I suppose it can feel strange to come out to people like that. Either way, I wish you luck for that, and hope your work environment eventually improves because of this!

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  8. A self-affirming act takes courage and strength. I hope that you can remember this strength in you when you’re feeling distressed. Kudos.

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  9. ayellowcrayon says:

    Congratulations Janitorqueer. Coming out at work can be terrifying, it takes courage and some balls to do it and you have both of those 🙂

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  10. Lesboi says:

    Congrats! Those kinds of conversations are so hard and take a lot out of a person. I’m sure you feel relieved. Hopefully this will open the door for more open communications with your work comrades in the future and feeling more connected in that part of your life.

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  11. Pixie says:

    It does take so much courage to have that kind of conversation. I have had such conversations with only a few people, just by email, and it was still so very hard. So glad it went well for you, hope it continues to go well at your work!

    The wrong pronouns, I am beginning to realize, hurt a lot more than I give them credit for.

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  12. Evolving Gender says:

    Congrats on taking this step! I understand how challenging this can be especially in a school setting. I’ve been semi-out and semi- not out for many of these reasons. I think that there are many people in a similar position working in K-12 schools (and many other professions). I’m glad your admin was open and listened to you.

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  13. witless X says:

    wonderful! gratz!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. arhizome says:

    Even if you don’t feel like this is a significant event, it seems like a great first step. Reading your post, it sounded like you could have easily just let the conversation slip away and not say anything, but you didn’t. You brought to the principal’s attention something that is important to you, and it sounds like that was honoured. Like you said, your process is slow and steady, and this is indeed another milestone. Well done!

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    • janitorqueer says:

      Thanks! Yeah, you’re right, I could have let the moment pass, but didn’t. Also, just saw your post about starting testosterone. Congratulations on that! Glad you’re moving ahead with that despite other uncertainties in your life!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. micah says:

    Wow, big step that took a lot of guts. Knowing you, you probably don’t give yourself enough credit!

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    • janitorqueer says:

      Thanks! You’re right, I’m not really feeling it, but maybe it will hit me later. Like when I actually change my name (and request a pronoun change), and I’ve already laid the groundwork with the principal, so all I have to do is check in with her before emailing everyone…

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  16. I opened a conversation with my community college dean, and I was following my therapist’s advice of “expect the worse, and hope for the best”. Being adjunct, I didn’t know if my job was to be safe or not; she has been fabulous and checking in with me from time to time even. Things do work out, and I’m glad for you that they are working out, too!

    Like


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