I have been struggling a lot lately with the issue of ‘passing’ and ‘being stealth’ at work.
I know not every trans guy out there is in the same place as me in their life — but I bet that some of you can feel me on this one. I recently moved, recently started ‘passing’ almost 100% of the time. I started a new job, and this is the first environment I’ve been in where nobody knows anything about my past that I don’t share. This might have sounded like a dream come true to me about 2 years ago. But, living it right now is spinning my head around.
I like people not doing a double-take at me. I like people just judging me on the quality of my work. On my personality. On my interests. I like feeling that people are not discussing me behind my back. I like not having to educate people impromptu about being trans and being queer. I like not having to worry about people’s judgements of me jeopardizing the way my life is.
When I started my job, I made a decision that I’ve been struggling with quite a bit. I told myself that I had to draw a hard line when it came to sharing at work the fact that I’m trans. And, I made the hard decision to not tell anyone at work unless directly asked if I’m trans.
Now, I’m not sure how to live with the anxiety of maintaining my stealthness, not really wanting to maintain my stealthness, the guilt over not being true to myself and my community, the prospect of coming out at work, and the stress of defending gender-variant people when I hear hateful things being said..without revealing myself.
I’ve had the idea lately that I want to work for myself.
I decided I wanted to start a micro-business. This decision came coupled with imaginations of being able to work from home in my pajamas. I flew into a frenzy of business planning.
I spent a couple weeks musing. Did I even have a unique set of skills? A unique set of knowledge? What sort of work could I do that would keep me motivated enough to wake up to every morning and to propel myself through the day? What kind of business could I return to after my day-job with the excitement to work all night? What kind of work wouldn’t even feel like work at all?
Then, I asked myself the most important question: What kind of work have I done in the past that I couldn’t tear myself away from?
And, that’s when the idea for Tips for Transmen came to me.