Wednesday, October 19, 2011

People Say The Darnest Things

As I have mentioned recently I disclosed my function to the human resources department at my current employer.

We all know that went rather well and since then things have been moving along. My department head was informed along with my direct manager. I haven't spoken to my department head but I have talked to my manager.

As to be expected he was shocked but that as long as I perform my job he told me he would be supportive. We both knew there would be some adjustments but we would work through it. I did leave myself open to questions if he had any and he did say he would take me up on that at some point.

So far, so good on that front.

I have not had the opportunity to talk to my department head but I plan on doing that soon.

Last week I had a meeting with my HR representative and it was nice to go over timelines and find out where everything stood at this point.

I know a few of the executives know and more will be finding out soon. Also we went over how announcement were being planned out and what I thought of things so far.

However one of the things that was supposed to happen at this meeting, didn't.

Namely meeting my HR director.

Since I had contacted HR and told them about my situation my rep has mentioned having me met her. I didn't disagree but since she is a very busy exec and between all our schedules I had not happened.

And at the little update meeting I had last week she was out with pneumonia so again we missed meeting.

Until today.

I made the march over to the other building at the appointed time and met with my rep briefly. After a brief talk he had me sit and wait in a sitting area that are dotted around the building so he could then go check to see if she was available.

After just a few minutes she popped out of her office and came over introduced herself and brought us all into her office.

A few pleasantries were exchanged and we moved on to the heart of the matter. My rep open with everything we talked about last week. Giving her a brief overview of timelines and other items. Several things were mentioned and he finished by asking me if Jan 3rd was still a date that would work for me and mentioned that from what I had told him work was the only place he really existed.

This was true and I stated that I had just reached a point with everything were work was really the only place he was left.

The Director interrupted at this point and asked me about these changes. I briefly described that I had spent the last three years changing who I was physically to match who I was.

"Can I ask you a question about this?"

"Of course."

"Has anyone asked or mentioned anything to you about your appearance?"

"Not really. Though a couple of people have asked about my hair but nothing much else has been said."



She looked right at me with an expression that could only be described as awe.

"Honestly that completely surprised me. You, sitting here right now, look completely like a woman. If I didn't know you were supposed to be 'him' I wouldn't think twice about it."

You could have pushed me over with a feather.

From that point her whole demeanor was just a positive push that this wasn't going to be an issue. Almost like up to this meeting she was wondering how it was all going to work and the moment I walked into her office, that problem went out the door.

As if she knew right then and there. Ok this isn't going to be an issue. In fact it should be rather easy.

Her statement later about the bathroom issue really confirmed this when she told met that should not even be a problem as most people, if they were to encounter, me would not even realize anything. They were going to work on it and make sure everyone would be happy with the situation. She also came to understand that to force anything else would make my life difficult because it was obvious walking into the men's bathroom is not an easy task for me now.

We discussed several other things, all positive and the plan is starting to firm up.

They also told me that other than the immediate department and some other people I see from time to time they were not going to make it a company wide thing. Since I stay hidden in my little corner most days, she gave me the impression that telling everyone would place a unnecessary focus on me since she feels I am not really going to be drawing attention to myself otherwise.

This I think came from meeting me first hand and seeing what she was dealing with.

By the end of the meeting it was her hope that I could do this successfully, we are a creative environment and very diverse. However, as I have mentioned and she understood, that you just never know how someone will react. There will be a company notice regarding diversity sent out and it will focus a bit on having a trans employee. They just don't want to place a target on me as they feel it would be unfair.

It something were to come up it would have to be brought to HR's attention and discussed so it isn't like I am going to stay hidden by any means.

I can live with that and I actually like it. It isn't my intention to live fully stealth but I don't plan on advertising it either. Since I don't interact with 95% of the population why do they all have to be told upfront.

When you consider the reaction the Director had to my appearance, and mind you I was trying to be a boy, that says a lot.

I was always worried what kind of reaction I would get as I started coming out to work but I certainly did expect this.


Cynthia Jane said...

Hi Kelli,

Praise The Lord!!!

What a wonderful meeting that turned into. I have been praying for you to have an uneventful FT. Maybe not completely uneventful, you need to have some good things happen as well, and it sounds like you are having just that.

January comes quickly, better get a move on with all there is to do. But you probably have everything in order already.

Hugs and Prayers,

Cynthia XX