I work for a state agency for the past twenty years and recently another agency close by asked my manager if they could borrow me for a week. The request was urgent so after my manager received I was on my way to the other agency. When I arrived the CEO, a former employee of my agency greeted me, thanked me for coming right over. Within an hour I was assisting them with the problem that brought me in for and finished the day out.
Day two, in the afternoon the woman who greeted me the first day brought a manager over to meet me. This other manager had also worked at my agency and unlike the CEO who knew me in my male identity did not know of my transition. So in the introduction the manager asked how long I had been working at my agency. In return I said twenty years, mostly in one division. The manager in turn said she had worked in this division at the same time and does not remember me.
So she ask me question after question trying to remember me but can’t. The entire time I am waiting for her to say something like “Hey you were a male before” or something like that. I could see she is not going to give up and now know she is not going to put two and two together. The image below is before (me on the left teaching) and after.
So I finally said “wait a minute”, grab some paper, write my former name down and hand it to her. She looks at the name, looks up, looks down and then finally looks up and says WOW I would not had guessed. She puts the paper down and hugs me. We chat for a few minutes and then she was off to a meeting.
Two days later and several days after that we talk more but never once bring up my past again and treated me like a friend/co-worker.
So with that there is something to be said about those either starting in some place into a journey of transitioning that it gets better as time goes by. What I mean by it gets better is (for those who are cisgender) when a person either male or female begins thinking of transitioning are usually very fearful of a) being discovered b) thinking they will never be accepted by friends, family and co-workers. Sure the ugly truth is there are backwards thinking people who will never accept a transgender person but the majority will. More times than not the rejection comes from the person transitioning by words, actions and attire which causes cisgender people to feel uncomfortable with them.
It’s easy for me to say “I have been there done that” and say nothing else but the truth is, I was frighten to step out my front door in fear of being made but learned from others before me that it does not have to be that way. Also, when I told my neighbors about transitioning two of them said, “what took you so long?” I responded with “What do you mean”, they said yeah we have seen you sneaking out dressed and thought that I should had just came out then.
I said I was fearful of doing this especially before obtaining a letter to allow me to have surgery. Wish I knew that then but I am now telling other transgender people the truth, you may believe you are sneaking out but there are always eyes watching.
Take it from someone who has been there, like with the manager I mentioned above and she was not the first this happened with me, at least 10 people in my past could not recognize me. Hormones and confidence in oneself goes a long way to blending in as the gender you were suppose to be.