I was asked, I’m sure along with thousands of others, to chronicle my experiences of being discriminated against in the workplace. For me, this only skimmed the surface of my day-to-day discrimination’s and miss gendering that I have had to put up with. To put it in a visual sense, this is like an iceberg, very little shows on the surface but runs deep into the company. This is what I wrote and uploaded to the National Center of transgender equality.
After many years of consideration and soul-searching, on July 15, 2016, I started my journey and embraced my authentic self. After months of therapy and hormone replacement therapy, I was finally able to change my name and select the correct gender that I felt that I should’ve always been. After a ten day vacation in July 2018, of being my authentic self, I had to go back to work and pretend I was my old gender. This incongruity of my soul was causing me a great amount of anxiety. I made an appointment with our HR department and explained to them that I was transgender and that I needed to be my authentic self at work. The head of HR explained to me that they hadn’t ever had a person transition while at work and this was going to be an all new experience for the company. She went on to say that they were going to be learning as we went. I was led to believe that things would be adjusted for me to feel comfortable in my new gender at work. At this time I had worked for the company for a little over six years and was considered an asset to the department that I was working in. I had always had great and above average yearly peer reviews. I was under the impression that my transition and becoming my authentic self would only enhance my abilities at the company and did not realize that there was a dark underside that I was getting ready to step in to.
SeptemberSeptember 19, 2018 after being overjoyed about my transitioning at work, I found out from an official source that in fact there was not going to be any changes made in the corporate insurance policies to help me in my transition. One line in policy, anything to do with “gender dysphoria will not be covered.“ This meant that anything that I needed to help me in my transition would not be covered PERIOD. Transitional surgery, not covered, therapy, not covered, medications, not covered. When I started asking questions about what I was led to believe, I was told that nothing had been implicitly promised to me and that my impressions of the company working with me on getting my transitional issues taken care of were impressions of my own. They would not be held responsible for anything that I might’ve perceived during my initial conversation with the head of HR. When I spoke to one of the people that was officially part of the group that decided what would be covered or not covered on the insurance policy, I was told, “we will never cover anything that has to do with transitional people, we will have to be forced by local or federal law to make any changes to cover that type of stuff.“ When I tried to push the issue, the blowback was that I was told that I had better stop asking questions, because my job would be in jeopardy. Needless to say I shut up about it. But this is a company that three months before I was considered an asset and now I was being told to shut up about inconsistencies in the insurance policies.
Little over five months after I had come out at work, the newness of my transition had worn off and the “old boys” attitude was starting to bubble to the surface. People were starting to mis-gender me. During conversations and informal meetings, I was being miss gendered. I was getting tired of correcting my boss, and the other senior person that I had to work with on a daily basis. This was starting to be an issue and I needed to put a stop to it. I went to the head of HR and explain the situation and told them that this was becoming a toxic and hostile work environment for me. The word “hostile“ was their trigger to bring the people in and talk to them. After about a week of not knowing what’s going on, I was called back into HR and that my feelings of being in a toxic work environment was unfounded. The people that I had accused of constantly mis gendering me was brought in in front of me to explain why these types of actions were continuing. Out of three people, only one took me aside and privately apologized. To this date of me writing this the other two have never come out and told me that they were sorry. One of the people has not even approached the subject. So here I am in my seventh year with this company and I am still having to work in this toxic and hostile environment with no foreseeable way out other than quitting my job and finding something else.