Over the course of the past two days, I have come out to everyone at my workplace that I know personally. My workplace is very big so there are many people that I don’t know. A rough estimate tells me that I came out to about 120-130 people. So far the reactions have all been very positive.
Here is the letter that I sent by email (subject line – “It’s a boy!”)
I hope you have had a restful and interesting break and that you are ready for a new semester. I am writing to you today to let you know about an important change that is happening in my life and that may have a minor impact on you, depending on how often you and I interact. The change is that I have begun the process of transitioning toward a male identity. What this means is that I am a female-to-male transsexual and that I will be undergoing medical (hormonal and surgical) treatments to masculinise my body. I intend to begin these treatments before the end of 2008. The transition is not only physical, it is social as well. I have already begun to adopt a male identity outside of work through the exclusive wearing of masculine clothing and the use of my chosen male name: Jacky (last name). Although I thought that I could handle living a double life and remain “given female name” at work until physical changes became visible, it has become apparent to me that even I, who prides myself on my resilience, can’t deal with the constant pressure of having to hide who I am in a location where I spend so much of my time. So the time has come to go full-time as me, Jacky, no holds barred.
This is where the potential impact on you comes in. I’m asking people who interact with me to try to get used to calling me by my chosen name. I realise that it might feel weird at first but it’s amazing how fast people can get used to things. Jacky sounds fairly androgynous so hopefully that will help you deal with the fact that the person you see in front of you still appears female (this was not my reason for choosing this name by the way). I’m not expecting the use of male pronouns until physical changes are visible but if you are comfortable with it already, that’s fine too. Obviously, I won’t jump down your throat if you forget and call me (female name) on occasion. I will just give gentle reminders if I see that it is ongoing. What will be upsetting to me is if I see that someone is intentionally disregarding my choice on an ongoing basis because they are not accepting me for who I am. If you’re wondering how I will deal with students, for now, I will be telling them that I’m adopting the use of my middle name. Since they aren’t around for as long as teachers and staff are, I think this will be sufficient. This being said, I would appreciate your discretion among the student body.
I know this is “out there” for a lot of people so I’m providing links to two sites that should help you. One is a “dos and don’ts” list for dealing with a transsexual person and one is a “trans 101” info page.
If you are an (Safe Spaces) member, you already have access to documentation that deals with the realities of trans people. You can also ask me questions directly. I’m open to discussing just about any questions you may have provided they are respectful and aren’t excessively private.
In closing, please keep in mind that this will not change who I am. I’m not asking you to get to know a whole new person. I’m simply working toward making my outside match my inside so if you accept me as I present myself to you, you will actually have the opportunity to know me better. This is a positive development!
Thank you in advance for your support and respect.