Thursday, July 7, 2011

Meeting with Management

Today I had a meeting with the chief management officer at Embassy Bucharest.  The subject was the draft plan for my workplace transition.  The official process has begun.

I am myself amazed at how smoothly everything has gone to date.  When I first began to come out to a few people at work last autumn, it was with trepidation.  Downright fear might be a better description.  Not so long ago one could easily be fired for stating openly that one is transgender.  It was only one year ago that gender identity was added to the State Department's EEO and anti-discrimination statements.  Prior to that an admission such as mine probably would have led to a finding of "unsuitability," curtailment, and an early return to the U.S.

For the longest time the only person who knew at Embassy Bucharest was my good friend and neighbor K**a.  If there was ever a person placed on my life path for a purpose, she is that person.  When I had first tried to talk about being transgender in 1990, it landed me in a psychiatric ward for a week and then back in the closet for another 20 years.  I feared the same thing when I first talked openly with K**a, but her response was a hug and then in the weeks to follow lots and lots of information and encouragement.  She gave me the confidence to begin appearing publicly as Robyn, something I could only have dreamed of before that.  (She was even a bit "naughty" about it, putting me up to a theater date with others and then at the last minute pleading illness and sending me on my way solo in a taxi.)  With her careful prodding, I started to tell others such that by June about two dozen close friends, work colleagues, and my direct managers were in the know.  A few of them have already become comfortable with me as Robyn for weekend socializing.

Today was the beginning of the next phase, the official planning that will have to go into my coming out to the entire Embassy community.  The actual workplace transition date is still almost six months off, most likely in January of next year, but that will give me time in which to do as much electrolysis as I possibly can while still in "guy mode."  It will also allow time to plan on how the news will be communicated.  That most likely will happen in October, after we have moved physically from our current location to a new Embassy facility on the outskirts of Bucharest.

In the words of Alan Shepard, "Roger, liftoff, and the clock has started."

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