Working while transgender

I thought I’d share some of my experiences in my most recent adventure in working while openly transgender. As most of you probably have gathered, my husband and I work for an agency in the Department of Defense, and this year’s politics have not gone unfelt at my workplace.

I had to file a harassment claim against one of my supervisors, which those up the command chain decided did not rise to the level of harassment. This was in spite of overwhelming management support of me at the office level where it happened.

This is why I started looking for a job right after I got out of surgery in December. I will be leaving the highest paying job I have ever had. I am going to a similar job that over the long run will top out at less money overall.

I had entertained the idea of staying, but the supervisor I had made the harassment claim against is being promoted. I am the second person to file against her, the other being race based in nature. I don’t want to stay at a place that protects people that use their positions of power to harass others.

I knew I had made the right decision when today I was told a certain email had been a part of that harassment claim as evidence where my bottom surgery had been brought up in a stupid way by the supervisor I had filed the claim against.

This is all a part of working while transgender. I can accept all that because I have a good degree, and a resume that gets me in the door of many other places with little problem. This will not be the last time in my life this is going to come up. I don’t choose to hide that I am transgender. It’s going to come up again.

What I can’t accept is worrying that my husband will face backlash from my speaking out about being treated poorly. This terrible supervisor argued to get my husband on her team, and we’ve both been walking on eggshells in case she acts against him. That’s not a way to live. It’s overshadowed both our work lives for months now.

I really love working alongside my husband, but it’s relieving not to. I don’t ever have to worry about my being transgender being used against him in the work place if we don’t work in the same job.

This is really the crux of being openly trans in our culture. Sometimes the best paying job isn’t the one you keep, because the less paying job is more accepting. That’s not something you should have to deal with, but it’s a reality in 2018.

I am very grateful that I have the opportunity to just hop to a different job. Not all transgender folks have those kinds of resources or options.

This is probably one of the larger reasons there been few posts recently. It’s a lot of energy to deal with all that, and it eats into everything else. I am confident over the next few months things will be getting back on track.


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Evidently its not a same-sex marriage.

Evidently I am not really in a same-sex marriage according to some of my coworkers.

Last week I flew down to Atlanta for training. Once again for those who don’t know, I work for the Department of Defense auditing Defense Contractors. This means many of my coworkers are very conservative, and a surprisingly (and sadly) large amount voted for Trump, especially people not from my office in the liberal Pacific Northwest.

It should be noted while I say that, it is usually men that are super conservative and weird. I have been very fortunate that most women have been great, no matter where they are from. In addition my office is even more supportive overall compared to the DoD in general.

We went through the initial introductions and some of the students have been in classes with me. When they asked me what was going on, if we had any hobbies, relationships, etc. I always start out with the upcoming book. This allows me to get out there I am in a same sex marriage and that I won’t put up with any transgender discrimination bullshit. People know immediately if they want to avoid me or get to know me.

I am ok with the usual shunning that occurs from a large chunk of the people (especially men). It prevents awkward situations later. I also am fully out there because I think it changes things. When people actually have to interact with LGBTQ in person, it sometimes changes their view.

As usual most men sort of ignored or avoided me during this conversation and most of the women were intrigued, asked me about the book, about how long we had been together, etc. There are always several women that want to know when the book is going to be published and what the name is so they can get a copy. I suspect this is because women are socialized to listen more, and also they always seem to get that “omg that is so great” that I stayed with Wolsey, whereas most guys roll their eyes and say I should have just moved on.

After all that things mellowed out in the class. However, I noticed that there is a table in the back where the men are just giving me the “the look”. It was a lot more obvious than normal. I can’t tell if this is because of the Trump election since my last training like this was right as Trump was elected and before the nation became even more cruel to marginalized groups.

This happened for most of the first day. They wouldn’t look at me even during conversations that the lecture made us go through.

What I did notice is there was a very quiet woman who sat at their table who would look at me. She smiled and had that kind face that said “I am sorry my table mates are assholes”.

The trip back to the hotel we all stayed at had the same thing. The men at that table wouldn’t look at me. They even avoided climbing on the elevator with me and one other person and waited for the next one.

Weirdly enough though, the next day at lunch the nice lady from their table came over and sat with me and asked me about Wolsey and about my life. She shared about herself too, how she was an immigrant as a child and came over, but now she considered herself fully American.

She asked some polite questions about the transition, about how long we were married, etc. She was surprised when I explained that Wolsey was my wife for 21 years, and then transitioned to being my husband. I don’t think she ever considered there were FTMs out there.

She relayed that everyone at her table seemed to think that I was married to a guy for 21 years and he transitioned to being a woman. I joked how that couldn’t be possible because for the first 20 years of my marriage, same sex marriage wasn’t even legal.

After lunch she went back to her table and I could see her talking with the rest of them. They all kept looking at me and a change in their demeanor happened. All of a sudden they didn’t give me that look and on our way, back to the hotel they even chatted with me for a short bit. Don’t get me wrong, there wasn’t any approval in their tone, but it was a lot friendlier.

Evidently they don’t consider Wolsey a boy, and that I am not actually gay.

I definitely got the impression they don’t agree with the whole situation, but this is the first time someone has treated me like I am not in same sex marriage purely based on the fact that Wolsey was born with a female body.

The rest of the week they would talk to me politely in class (huge switch from obviously ignoring me the first day and a half), but that was all. Strangely enough, that made me a lot angrier about the situation then when I was just getting the stink eye from them.

I am still processing this now that I am home, but I wanted to get that out there on what happened. Evidently some coworkers think I am not gay (or bisexual as the case actually is) and I am not in a same-sex marriage. That just pisses me off more, touche Trump voters you scored a small victory on me this time

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Unexpected Increased Anxiety

I have noticed something since Wolsey’s transition, my anxiety over how I look has gotten worse, and I assume it is because of the media and how they portray gay couples. Hot looking guys with other hot looking guys. While Wolsey is a hot guy, I definitely don’t feel in that category.

Don’t get me wrong, I have always been uncomfortable with myself, even when I was skinny. I always thought Wolsey was way too hot for me. When he presented as a woman I always felt I had married “up” compared to myself, and this continues with him in his true form, he is still very hot.

However, conventional heterosexual standards are sexist in the way that was beneficial to me then, that it isn’t too unexpected to find a hot woman with a guy that shall we say… isn’t on her level. That was how things were from my point of view and society seemed to feel similarly. I can admit even I thought that when I saw other couples with conventionally attractive women were with men we wouldn’t consider conventionally attractive.

I have noticed though since Wolsey’s transition that I get more anxious now. The fact that he is now actually a gay guy instead of appearing as a woman seems to have deepened my anxiety. He has always been reassuring since we got together and I know logically he would never leave me. My weird self-esteem issues have been problematic for me, but he has never given me reason to think they were real. That being said, I have picked up on this anxiety of not being hard bodied enough to deserve him, more so than when we appeared as a heterosexual couple.

I assume its because both media and what appears to be the LGBTQ culture shows the most attractive men are hard bodied gym guys, or masculine bears (I don’t quite measure up to that as well). Of course this doesn’t even address how racists our views of attractive gays since media usually portrays them white men almost exclusively. 

The funny part is that when we did appear as heterosexuals, we had guys actively moving on him trying to get in between us. We haven’t ever had that happen yet with us in his post transition, although now that he is post-surgery and in recovery our social lives should pick up and we will be around a lot more people, so who knows maybe it will happen.

This post doesn’t really have a wrap up, I just wanted to state how I was feeling and maybe in future posts more will become evident and having this here will help. I also wanted to reassure some of the people who have contacted me that yes, even now I have worries and fears. It is definitely normal (although maybe I get a little more anxious then some).

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Life Update

I figured I would at least get a life update in here and round up a bunch of small things.

The first thing is that Trump and the intolerant GOP was not able to change the healthcare enough this year. Most changes for transgender people are being fought (and actually being fought by elements of the DoD even) so it will not be finalized until next year, and if things work right for me we will be gone by then.

The new gaming group I posted for asking for LGBTQ+ friendly people had a remarkably small number of respondants… however the three players we picked up seem to be working out great, and have no problem. So it was worth it (and that experience will probably get its own post or posts later). We are having a blast.

I was interviewed by the Advocate, that should be out in March. That was interesting and I will post what I can when it comes out.

The Norwegian Queer culture journal called MELK asked me to write an article on Wolsey and I and what I have gone through for their Spring edition. This was a total new set of writing and that has been a big thing I was working on as well over the last month. This also comes out in March.

It was actually a really great opportunity. With the help of Wolsey and his editing guru’ness I was able to condense our story into four pages. Of course not nearly as detailed and I was sad to not get to talk about everything, but I think it went well. 

We submitted it and MELK editors have already edited and are working on the artwork for it. I am going to ask them if I can repost it here after whatever time they think is appropriate.

Oh, and our book is supposed to be published in March, but they haven’t finished all the edits so I am sure we will have to work on that as well. 

Now that work should be working itself out (HAHA) and my commitments for writing are done I want to post more. I know I don’t have to worry about having enough things to talk about with Trump, Pence, and the alt-right up and about. So I have that going for me.

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Prosecutor: Parents’ refusal of transgender treatment made teen suicidal

I wrote this up for my other blog, and I think it is very topical here. Transgender children are so vulnerable, and it’s heart breaking when they are rejected by their parents. I can’t help the sheer rage I feel when parents do this to their children.

Second Hand Outrage

From the article:

According to Clancy, the teen’s parents spent the entire case “trying to show that their child is not transgender.”“A reasonable parent,” he said, “would never tell their own child to kill themselves because they were going to hell, anyway.”

Source: Prosecutor: Parents’ refusal of transgender treatment made teen suicidal

From the article:

The parents refused to accept their son, forcing him to spend six hours a day in a room listening to Bible verses. They did not allow him to change “appearance to a male look” or seek hormone replacement therapy.

I mean, this was used in abu ghraib, where prisoners were forced to listen to bible verses continuously like this. Here is a whole article discussing how the bible was used in this way as a force for torture.

No wonder a 17 year old boy was suicidal. His parents were torturing him, in addition to…

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LGBTQ and Female Friendly Gaming

The hubby and I are gamers. Meaning we play lots of video games, table top roleplaying games, LARPs, etc. However, other than private games between each other we haven’t been very active since his transition and especially since the surgeries.

Now that his surgeries are over we are up for making an attempt and get back to our hobbies. However, it has been a rough time period for gamers that we know, people have faded out, working jobs that don’t give them the schedule to play or have just went on to do other things.

This isn’t a big deal, we have dealt with having to arrange a new gaming group before. Normally we just announce it to the local groups, and we will have to sift through dozens of people being interested. This time however there isn’t a large group of Seattle gamers in any LJ communities (and I haven’t been on LJ in a long time anyways). Instead we find a Meetup group for Seattle that also has a Facebook page.

We checked the page, 300+ gamers with a lot of posts with people looking for a D&D game. I figure D&D seems to be the most popular right now, so I will run a D&D game. If the campaign works, that is great, if not maybe we can collect some of those players into what is left of our group as new permanent members. It shouldn’t be hard, there are dozens of people looking for groups.

The one thing I realize though is we are an older group with very heavy woman and LGBTQ group. I do not want to deal with any anti-trans, anti-queer or anti-women shit so I post a very specific request.

If people are interested, they would have to be ok with women and LGBTQ in games. I figured this wasn’t a big request, after all I live in the Pacific Northwest, land of the liberal progressives.

We only got two responses.

It caught me off guard, I wasn’t sure if maybe I said something inflammatory so I had others read the post and no, it was pretty straight forward, with a link to our campaign website and was very friendly. The only thing that was specific was the heavy women and LGBTQ members in the group.

The positive is that I got two players who did respond, and they responded specifically because I made it clear it was a woman/LGBTQ friendly group. Maybe that means while I cut out a lot of players, the ones that do want to play will work a lot better with the group.

However, I am still surprised though at the lack of reaction, and disappointed that so many people were put off by it being a female/LGBTQ friendly group. I don’t really have any other reason other than that for the ad.

I know I shouldn’t be surprised, I had a prior post that had a similar response and is what prevented me from really getting into Warhammer and Blood Bowl. I guess it has been over a year and like a goldfish I forgot. I thought maybe a RPG would get a better response.


I did get two people interested, we will see how this works. I figure worst case scenario I will use Roll20 and find people online. Maybe end up with a group that is exclusively women and LGBTQ members if this doesn’t work out.

Whatever happens, I am glad I posted like I did. I would rather people self-select themselves away from me then having to deal with any outbursts that are offensive.

Either way, I get to run me some old school D&D and that is a positive!


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Healing is going well

It has been a month since Wolsey’s surgery and I just wanted to let everyone know he is doing great. The recovery has been a lot better this time then last time, he is perky just like normal.

I also wanted to thank everyone for their support, messages, etc. It has been better than expected experience, except for the drain issue.

I couldn’t ask for a better Christmas present then seeing him happy with who he is and how things are turning out.

I do have more posts coming, but with the holidays this is all you get.

Oh and Happy Holidays to everyone!!!

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