I came out to the head of the kitchen at my school (workplace)Posted: November 30, 2015
About 7 months ago, I came out to the principal at school. She asked me what she could do, and at the time I said nothing right now, but eventually I’d like to send out an email and go by a new name and male pronouns. I still cannot foresee when this email might happen, but I did get myself one step closer a couple of weeks ago.
I was filling in for my supervisor (working during the day while school is in session) and so I had some time to drink coffee in the kitchen and stuff. About a year ago, I told the head of the kitchen that I was getting testosterone from my doctor (because I was leaving to go to an appt. that day), and that I don’t feel like either a man or a woman. She didn’t say much at the time, but it felt pretty exhilarating to tell her anyway. She was also the first person at work I told I was getting married. One week before the date. I barely see her unless we’re working together over the summer, but over the years and years and years, I feel somewhat close to her, closer than anyone else probably.
So we were sitting drinking coffee, and this was around the time I was going to be taking a day off to travel outside of Philly to go to a consultation for top surgery. We were talking about the time off my co-worker was taking, so I just said that I’m taking a day off and I told her why. At first she was surprised and asked me why I would be getting surgery (she might have thought I had breast cancer?). I explained that I don’t like my chest the way it is, and I talked to her again about how I don’t feel like either a man or a woman. We talked about what she’d do if she did have breast cancer, and we talked about people who have gotten breast reductions. I then told her I’d like to go by male pronouns and a new name at work, but I’m just not there yet. She said, “Well you need to do what will make you comfortable.” Then a teacher came in needing something, so the conversation was over. But I was pretty much in disbelief I was able to tell her all this. It wasn’t premeditated like talking to the principal was. And she seemed to react positively.
Normally at work, I don’t see her because our shifts overlap by only about a half hour, and I don’t really have a reason to go say hi every day. But a couple of days after my trip, she came and found me and asked me about how it went. It made me feel really good – I did not expect a follow-up. I told her the out of town consultation went really well, and the one with the local surgeon did not go well. She name dropped a local plastic surgery practice that might do what I’m looking for, and I found out later through a facebook group that some trans-guys have gone to one of the plastic surgeons. Not sure whether I would pursue that or not, but it was nice she was thinking of me.
I’m not sure what’s holding me back from coming out at work, exactly, but it does feel like these spontaneous conversations are just more natural than a mass coming out email would be. I still think the email is necessary because I can’t talk to every person (or even more than a couple), but it just feels daunting…