I came out to my co-workerPosted: January 7, 2016 Filed under: coming out, top surgery | Tags: coming out, ftm, gender identity, genderqueer, lgbtq, non-binary, queer, top surgery, trans, transgender, work 3 Comments
I have been coming out to my (newer) co-worker in stages, over the last year or so. At first, I just wanted him to stop calling me “honey” and “girl.” So I told him that. He asked about “brother” and “man,” and I said those were fine. He easily made that switch. I think he saw me as a butch lesbian.
He initially used to talk to me about his gay step-son, but over time, that changed into him talking about his transgender step-daughter. She is transitioning while in high-school; I can’t imagine the stress of that! My co-worker seems supportive if not a little critical about how she chooses to present herself. So, with that door opened, I’ve talked to him about how I don’t feel either male or female. He has asked if I would make medical changes, and I have been vague.
About 2 months ago, we were in the faculty lounge, and the newspaper was on the table. The front page had an article about a new radio station I was getting involved in. So I pointed it out to him and told him I’m a DJ. He was super supportive and excited, asking me how he could listen, if he could come down and check it out, what I was playing, and if I had a radio handle. I suddenly felt cornered because I don’t have a DJ name, I’m just going by Kameron, which is not the name I go by at work (yet.) But that feeling melted away into, “it will be fine to tell him.” So I did – told him I use a different name on the radio and outside of work, and I talked to him about how I would like to switch and use this name at work too, but it’s hard. I also said I go by male pronouns. He took it all in stride, more excited about the radio thing than anything else.
He has started to call me “Kam” when no one else is around. I do not promote the use of “Kam” as a nickname, but coming from him, it is endearing.
Then last week, we were talking about his step-daughter again, and I segued the conversation into how I will be getting top-surgery. (I had mentioned this once before, hypothetically, and he seemed confused, wondering if I was going bigger or smaller – because it probably seems like I have nothing there.) I figured he is one of the few people I would fill in about why I am going out of work, and the sooner I can get some of that out of the way, the better. I expressed my anxiety about telling our supervisor and about coming out at work in general. And about what to say to whom. It does feel good to be able to be open with one person at work, at least.
Yesterday, for the first time ever, I could clearly see the steps it would take to come out at work. And it felt like I could actually do this. Currently, my supervisor is out of work, so I’m not going to be doing anything about it anytime soon. I feel like talking to her is the biggest hurdle. If I could do that, the rest definitely seems do-able. Part of me wants to skip talking to her, and just let her know via email, like everyone else, but I don’t think that would be wise…
Wow! That must have been really hard, it was a huge step, and I’m so glad it worked out in your favor (even if he asks a lot of questions…). It’s probably wise to talk to your supervisor in person rather than email. Do what you have to do.
Just starting to tell people is he hardest part. After coming out to a few people it seems to get easier and easier. I’m really happy for you, that you are strong enough to do those first talks!
That is fantastic news! It sounds like your co-worker is going to be a good ally. 🙂