Blog,  Transitioning to the Workplace

Transitioning to the Workplace #5

The first government co-op job I applied for was the third co-op I got.

Huh?

I first interviewed for my position with the B.C. Ministry of Energy and Mines in November 2014, but I wasn’t offered the job until the following summer, after I had tried and failed at working at a small-town newspaper in the depths of the wild Saskatchewan winter, and tried and succeeded at working as a legal assistant at a hip non-profit downtown (back on the West Coast). I didn’t even have to interview a second time for the job; they hired me solely based on how well I had done the first time.

When it came to interviewing for this current position, I had the added element of my new-found transgender identity thrown into the mix. Though I wasn’t openly out of the closet in my interview, I did dress a tad more feminine than I had for previous jobs—a phrase which here means I wore a silver metallic sweater and ombré jeans. I approached this position with the consideration that I might come out as transgender in it, but only once I had secured regular, full-time status with the government.

While there are benefits to delaying my coming-out, I do worry that treating my gender identity as something that must be kept hidden creates a negative discourse, one in which I could visualize myself ‘weaseling my way’ into a job and then jumping out of the metaphorical bushes at my supervisor to yell “Guess what? I’m trans!” while blowing a kazoo. While there is some humour to that scenario, I’d much rather come out at work in a way that makes fewer waves. I could envision myself landing a regular, full-time position with another ministry and coming out in the first month or so on the job. Or, I could see myself coming out gradually over the course of this position, adopting Serena as a full time name. In my conversations with my one supervisor who I’m out to, I’ve mentioned that I’m comfortable using the men’s washroom for now, but that will change as I continue to move toward a more feminine presentation.

Stay tuned – I’ll talk more about the actual government job search process tomorrow.