Gender and work interactions.

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  • #125063

    I recently transitioned at work after 18 years at the same company.  I have had at least one coworker I could confide in the majority of the time there.  I have had long hair, worn jewelry, etc. to work for years, but still was officially male. There were several times I was ready to and chickened out, but finally made the leap this year and got my markers at work changed!

    So it has been interesting adjusting to the new dynamics of being a woman in the workplace.  I hold the same position that I did prior to transitioning but there are some noticeable differences in how I am treated.  Some maybe because my transition is still new and people are trying to make me feel included, and some just because it is how women are treated.  It’s hard to tell what part is what.

    The most notable one to me is the constant references to how I am dressed.  It used to be, “[dead name] has been working hard on this project and has an update.” Now I get introduced in meetings by my appearance.  “Kaiya, who is rocking an awesome sweater, has something for us.”  It’s an interesting dynamic I am still getting used to.  I noticed  that my manager, (also a woman,) does it to all the women in the company. It’s affirming in someways and distracting in others.

    I have also seemed to switched sides of social interactions.  I no longer get invited to lunch with the guys in R&D.  But I have been asked about a girls night and shopping trips.  That is pretty new to me as well.  Most of my girlfriends outside of work are tomboys, so talk of fashion and make up have not made it into my life until now.

    Emotionally, there has been an adjustment as stress makes me tear up when I could press it down before.  This worries me, because I made the argument that I would be more pleasant on the job once transitioning.  I’ve gotten advice about feeling the emotion, instead of  denying it, and finding good places to cry when needed, which seems to help.  It does make me worry about being taken seriously and worry it may keep me from some projects because I look like I can’t handle it.

    For the most part, I haven’t seen it affect my standing in the company too much; but I am wondering how others have felt that shift of having a new set connection networks at work or elsewhere.  How has transitioning on the job had an effect on your career?  How have you adjusted to being on a new rung of the social ladder?

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    • #126232

      It has been great since I was diagnosed with being bigender 6 years ago and went in after the divorce from my ex wife was final.Things worked out when I went in as female for the first time.Co workers and boss call me Holly now.Learned well about me as a bigender person

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #126223
      DeeAnn Hopings
      AMBASSADOR

      Kaiya:

      I re-read your message and something occurred to me. What you said primarily deals with the socialization of trans women. It is the external, functional part of being a person in society. I have lobbied for a Social Transition section, but we don’t have one yet. The difference is that the Emotional Transition is essentially internal. The Social and the Emotional often occur simultaneously, but to me they are very different entities.

      When we transition, we have to remember that are (in theory, hopefully) no longer perceived as male. It is a different set of unwritten rules concerning socialization. It is like closing one book and opening another one. Often a problem occurs around the degree to which we embrace this shift. Sometimes we want to hold onto the old rules, but all that does is create a lot of unnecessary difficulty. Effectively we can wind up in No Woman’s Land as we’re not fitting into either set of constructs. Intellectually, we know we should leave the Old, but we may not be ready to sign up for the New.

      Unless we are going to be a bit radical and consciously oppose the more sexist aspects of the situations we encounter, adjustments will need to be made.

      • #126366

        I think you are right on. When I decided to transition I was ready to leave if I needed too because the old way of switching back and forth was too much. There was an advantage to it I obviously took for granted and some assumptions that because I am the same person, that work would go back to normal as people adjusted, but it is more complicated than I imagined.

        I am definitely happier on the other side. I still feel immense pride when I get to sign my name on company documents. I enjoy work more than I ever have, but it is an adjustment on emotional, political and social fronts. Whole new scripts are being expected and I’d learning how to adjust on the fly.

        I have been lucky to have some female mentors that have taken me under their wing as I work out new coping strategies for emotional days that I didn’t anticipate having. All in all I have been fortunate.

    • #126182

      Thank you for sharing your experience Kaiya, I honestly cant imagine myself being able to do what you have. Maybe if I had a ‘career’ rather than just a job, and had been employed by the same company for a long as you have, it would be worth considering.
      My doctor knows of some progressive companies locally that he has dealt with in the past, so that could be an option too.
      Your transition at work sounds like it has gone very well, I’m so happy for you. The whole female social dynamic is quite different, so I doubt that the comments about how you are dressed are anything other than normal, but I imagine it would seem a little disconcerting when you aren’t used to it. I cant remember the last time a male friend ever did that!

    • #125088
      DeeAnn Hopings
      AMBASSADOR

      Kaiya:

      I started my transition just a few months before I retired, so there were never any adjustments in terms of my work life. For me, externally, it was business as usual. So, while I do understand the issues, I don’t have any direct experience.

      However, I suggest that you do some research on Dr. Margaret Stumpp and Stephanie Battaglino. They both transitioned in place while working for large insurance companies. When Dr. Stumpp transitioned at Prudential, she was the first person to do so. At the time there were various articles written about her and interviews with her. Ms. Battaglino transitioned while working at New York Life. She has since retired and relocated to 2 towns over from me. I met her at a presentation she did about her experiences. I confess that I had not heard of her before that meeting. I bought a copy of her book (https://transnewyork.org/stephanie-battaglino-how-reflections-from-both-sides-of-the-glass-ceiling-inspires-people-finding-their-place-in-corporate-america) and found it interesting and well done. She chronicles her life from childhood until recent times and it provides a lot of insight into the things that trans people go through. She doesn’t hold back or gloss over difficult times in her life.

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