Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Transgender Day of Remembrance - Q&A

The other article I wrote for work is being published on our news hub as part of something being put together for November's Transgender Day of Remembrance. It took the form of some questions. Here's my responses. Feel free to add you're own in the comments or even use them for a post of your own.

What does TDOR mean to you?
To me Transgender Day of Remembrance is a time when I can remember all of those who aren’t as lucky as me. Those people that live in parts of the world where being transgendered means the possibility of being taunted, abused, raped, beaten and even killed.
It means being able to think about those people that live in the UK that suffer abuse or violence for simply trying to be themselves. It’s also a time for remembering those who have finally reached the point where they can’t go on any more, whether that be due to the pressure of trying to live as the person that they should have been from birth while struggling to make ends meet or having to deal with other forms of pressure. A time to reflect on the struggles we are all going through to finally be ourselves and to think about how we can help and support each other.

What being Transgendered / Trans, means to you?
Being transgendered is a bit like a journey. Mine began when I first realised that I was different to the boys I grew up with and felt more of an affinity with the girls I knew in school.
As my journey progressed and I began to understand more about both myself and my trans state I moved through different ways of seeing myself until I reached the point where I accepted that I was transsexual and decided to do something about it.

I’ll continue to see myself as transgendered until physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually I’m finally the female I’ve always been deep down. On that day I feel I will be complete and I’ll no longer be transgendered but simply the woman I always have been deep down inside.
Being transgendered has opened up my world and inadvertently introduced me to others that are going through similar to me, which has in turn enabled me to share my experiences and offer support. Through blogs I follow I’ve become acquainted with others not only in this country but in the USA and Canada.

What experience with Trans / Transgender issues you have had?
My transition has been fairly uneventful. I’ve had a few issues with family but nothing serious.
I’m aware of the issues that transgender people face in society. Loss of friends, loss of income, having people see you as the gender you were born and not the one that you are, loss of home, feeling suicidal and acting on it.
Being transgender and doing something about it is, despite what a lot of uninformed people think, not something that we do lightly or on a whim. It’s something we do in order to be at peace with ourselves and in some cases the only way that we can go on living.
I have friends who are transgender that I’ve made through online forums, the GIC I attend, through other friends and blogs I follow. Each of us have our own issues that we are dealing with, each of us is at different places in our journey but we can draw on our experiences to help each other to get through the tough times and celebrate the good times.

What does it feels like to be Transgendered / Trans in the work place?
I work in a great office and I know a lot of brilliant people. When I returned to work after beginning my transition I was a bit nervous but within hours it was like nothing had changed.
I’ve experienced a couple of occasions when I’ve been mis-gendered and for the most part people have corrected themselves when they realise. On several occasions it’s occurred and the person involved had not realised. Such occasions are not done in an offensive way nor are they to frequent so I tend to ignore them.

Day to day, work is fine and I’ve not had any troubles. I’m more confident about myself than I was when I started my transition and I would happily act as front runner on a project or activity now. Admittedly I would probably feel a bit self-conscious about my voice but I’d manage. My voice is something I still have to work on, especially when I’m using the phone. I’ve had one occasion so far when someone rung me up about something non-work related and wanted to speak to the old me because that’s how I was down on their system. When they asked to speak to me I said “yes” at which point the phone went quiet and after a few seconds I realised that they were waiting to speak to someone that sounded a lot more masculine. Having someone hear you speak on the phone and not take you for a male, which is what they must have done, was a really good moment.
At the end of the day being transgendered in the workplace means that I don’t have to pretend to be someone I wasn’t any more and can be more honest and less distracted than I used to be.

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