It was the last stage of outing myself. I sent the email to my colleagues about name and gender. It was bound to happen and it’s the final stage of letting those around me know. It’s interesting to be so public about transitioning. It makes me wonder how well it would have been received if I wasn’t so open about me and my life path. I feel pretty lucky about who my colleagues are and the company I work for. I know I could be in a place that’s not so accepting and could make my life miserable but I’m not. I’m lucky in that my work environment is mostly home but I do venture out into the rest of the world at times as well. One of the nice effects of being open is that I have less to lose if someone “outs” me, so to speak.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I would still prefer to out myself, if it is necessary, and do it on my own terms. This is especially important when I get to the stage of life that I’m stealth or just read entirely as a guy and the former tomboy of past is forgotten. But even if someone did out me, deliberately or accidentally, it’s not as impacting as someone who doesn’t want the world to know, especially if the transitioned prior to their identity being established in the greater world. This is one of the things I vacillate over: would it have been better if I had transition prior to starting life (say, while in university) or is it better to have done it when I’ve lived almost half my life? It probably would have been easier and cheaper to have done this when I was in university. I would have less IDs to change and fewer people to inform. On the flip side, doing this in the late 80s/early 90s in heavily conservative Ottawa wouldn’t have been fun — especially since I was a member of the Progressive Conservative party (yes, I was — scary, huh?). There was even less understanding and tolerance than today so my transition would have faced a lot more push-back. And I certainly wouldn’t have the protections that I have today (thanks to those brave souls who took that to task).
Doing it now means I have far more of an established life that will have to be adjusted both by those that know me and even myself. We have habits that become ingrained and are sometimes hard to separate from. Because of that, it’s hard to not be public about my transition. Certainly some parts will always remain private just for me and my partner but a lot will be out on display. I will also have a long road ahead of me to get all the legal necessities of name and such changed. For now, name will be the priority. Surgery may be close or farther off, not sure yet. And while I may yet still face intolerance but I’m far more protected now than I would have been if I had done this 20 years ago and knowing that makes it somewhat easier to transition on the job.
In the end, I’m glad I’m doing it now. My life experiences, thus far, have helped to make me the person I am and appreciate the things that I’m not and do not want to be. It also helps me to recognize when certain things are a bit over the top and I can voice why. One of the nice pluses to finally outing myself (how apropos that I do this in June, Pride month although it might have been more fitting to do it in October on National Coming Out Day) is that I no longer have to worry about what others think about me. It’s all out there. Either you’ll be ok with it or won’t. It won’t change the person I am — I’m still the self-absorbed, lazy, geeky vegan, cigar-smokin’ twit as I was before. 😉 And if someone isn’t happy about it, there is nothing I can do. That is that’s person choice/issue to address. They can ask me all sorts of questions as to why but in the end the choice to do or not do was for me and no one else.