Wednesday, October 17, 2012
The Prophetic Fortune Cookie
Recently I got a fortune cookie that said it all. It summed up my life up in just a few short punchy words of absolute truth.
"Here we go. Low fat, whole wheat green tea."
Google it. It seems to be a meme in the making. It became the theme for a camping trip with my wife as we simultaneously grappled with its Zen koan simplicity and its inscrutable depth.
So what did it mean for me? Well, on the 18th of October I will be coming out to all 115 people where I work. I'm a computer person who tries to keep my co-workers safe and happy and productive. Most of the time with success. But that's not the point of this post either...
I will be revealing to this group of 115 people something that has been at my very core of being for about half a century. Something that used to be a secret from everyone and a source of shame. I will be telling 115 people, many that I have know for 13 years, that I am a transgender person, that I am a guy on the outside and a gal on the inside. That I am "a woman trapped in a man's body" and that I need to finally come out into the daylight and live my life.
I'm a transsexual. "Here we go."
But, how the heck am I going to do this?!? Well, I'm going to prepare a statement to be read to the owners who will solemnly acknowledge the social and legal precedent and discuss the need for a respectful workplace. Then later there will be a statement to the rest of the company under the guidance of our (wonderful) HR person, my supportive boss and the firm's CEO. Then I'll leave the room while they watch a nice little PFLAG of Denver video followed by a respectful workplace discussion and a Q & A time. How much you want to bet they will all be talking about me?
Then a week later I will be coming to work as Dianne. All the way, all the time. In front of everybody. In front of the last part of my life that doesn't know me as Dianne.
Strangely, that part doesn't give me the Worries half as much as "Coming Out." Because when I'm in front of them, and I talk to them, I will be asking for their compassion and support. It's going to be a leap of faith, jumping across the chasm and praying that I'll land on the other side. I'm sure there will be some people who just can't wrap their heads around it, at first, or at all. That's why there will be a short period of "still a sort of a guy" after the Big Reveal. To give people time to adjust to the concept before I'm right there in front of them. Every person I have come out to has said that they needed a week or two to adjust and digest. I'm pretty sure I would too!
So far there are only 3 people in my corner of the world who have stated that they will not adjust, adapt or accept. Since two of them are the parents of my only grandson I have deigned to be a gracious and understanding person and adapt to their limitations. With them, I will do what I can to look like a guy as long as I can before it becomes just too humorous. I'll slick my hair back in some kind of funky mullet and wear a sports bra and coveralls and use makeup to give myself a unibrow and stubble. I will be fun! We'll go to restaurants and I'll try to pass as a man. I've been doing it for years so it should be easy enough.
I can only hope that the 3 out of 50 ratio holds at work also. That would mean there would be 6.9 people at work who can't deal with me. Now if I could just pick which 6.9 people wouldn't talk to me in future it would be a great day! But there are a couple of dozen that I would absolutely hate to loose.
Now, "Low fat, whole wheat green tea"
Well that's the part I don't understand. That's the part that represents the whole rest of my life from here forward. The part where I don't have the answers. But that's the part that will be the adventure.
OK, Here We Go...