I was so scared to let the owners of the company I work for know that I had decided to transition. They are husband and wife and have always seemed very nice. True to form, they were very supportive and made me feel I had worried about nothing. In the last two months, since I have fully transitioned my dress, I have felt totally safe at work. Of the two owners, I work more closely with the wife. She has shared makeup, clothes and great tips with me. Her husband has seemed accepting, but has had the occasional pronoun slip. Our grand opening is this week and the owners of the parent franchise have flown in from Singapore. Today, the husband owner of our company introduced me to the top person of the parent company as “he.”
I am almost certain the intent was not bad, but I wanted to share how it made me feel for anyone who has ever done this or thinks there is no harm in it.
In that one instance, work changed from a place where I felt safe, to somewhere I need to be on my guard. Being careless in front of such an important stranger made me feel dissrespected. It made me feel the owners of the company I work for place no value on me as a person. It made me feel like he does not accept my gender as valid.
I retreated into my office showing no signs that anything was wrong. I wouldn’t show him the same dissrespect he showed me in front of any guest, let alone one this important. When I was in my office alone I allowed myself a few tears though.
For his part, the guest was kind and did not acknowledge the slip. He was a perfect gentleman.
I won’t minimize this by saying anything like “I am strong and I can take it.” No person should have to take it. I just hope that by reading this you can see that a harmless slip is anything but harmless to the person it is directed at.