Today is my first day returning to government work, and my first day of doing so openly as a trans woman—albeit only to my friends and family so far; I got this job under the pretense that I was a man.
I’m not sure when, or if, I will come out at work. My current contract is for only 4 months, with no indication whether or not there will be room for extension. I’m not worried about finding work; as an internal applicant I’ll have several options open to me when my contract runs out. But the question of coming out as trans remains.
I am writing this in a cute café on the corner opposite my new office building. I want to say the café reminds me of Luke’s Diner from Gilmore Girls, but in reality, beyond the chestnut floors and mammoth cast iron radiators—not hooked up, judging from the supplemental baseboard heaters—there is far too much colour and artwork and unabashed cheer for it to compare.
My new office building is six storeys tall, with plain grey stone walls interspersed with blue green-tinted windows. I have no idea when it was built, but its familiar government-buildingish interior (carpeted wall to wall to wall), in addition to the zero relevant results that come up when I google its address in conjunction with “heritage,” lead me to believe it was built no earlier than the mid-80s.
But I’m digressing. For my first day of work I’ve worn a merlot-shaded dress shirt from Guess and black women’s slacks from H&M. When I worked for government before, I repeatedly wore the same pair of grey men’s slacks every day with a limited roster of sweaters and cardigans, partly out of laziness, but mostly out of a self-destructive feedback loop of depression. While I didn’t realize I was transgender until after I finished that contract, I did know something was off (see again feedback loop of depression). I didn’t get a good sense of the dress code at my new office during my sole interview there, but I have a suspicion that “cross dressing,” as they might term my preferred style of dress, is discouraged. I have been known to be wrong though.
One heartening detail I haven’t mentioned yet is that during my previous stint of work, I did come across a positive discussion of transitioning in the workplace on the government-wife forums. Though no actual transgender people contributed to the discussion, several of the cisgender contributors mentioned people they knew had successfully transitioned in government, to their knowledge without discrimination or harassment.
Maybe this won’t be so bad.
Stay tuned for my update tonight after I’ve finished my first day of work!