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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Further Along....... The Human Resources Meeting

Yesterday I met with the senior managers of Human Resources of my health care system along with my immediate supervisor. I was very surprised that two of the senior executives were present and both assured me that I was a valued employee and that they would unconditionally support my transition at work. I am so pleased that the fear that I had that asking to transition would be the kiss of death of my career there was misplaced. I have been working at my health care system for 11 years and my worst fear, as many of us have, is that I would suddenly become an expendable.

Instead I was told that the organization would do everything possible to make my transition easier and addressed the issue that my health care has not been covered. They will address that with our insurance company so that my health care needs are covered and will look into the coverage of any surgeries that I need to become whole.

Initially, I was to meet with my supervisor and one of the senior management team but both the Director and Assistant Director were both present to convey their support for me. We talked about other concerns and they assured me that they would do everything within their power to ensure that my transition would be smooth and they would make sure that I would be shielded from the small town media, particularly the two local newspapers. Of course, this could be a big story in a rural setting and being a quiet and introverted person, any attention of this kind is something I am keen to avoid.

Two weeks from today, my coworkers will learn of my decision to transition at our January staff meeting. I will not be there, but my supervisor will discuss this with the staff, pass out a letter that I have provided to my coworkers and some pictures to assure them I will have a polished and professional image. I will invite them to come talk with me if they would like and do every thing in my control to make this as easy for them as possible.

I have decided to transfer out all my adolescent patients. I do not wish to complicate their already troubled lives with having to cope with my transition. Some people may criticize my decision and that they should deal with my transition as a normal part of life. I counter that position with the idea that adolescence is hard enough in the best of our lives. Troubled young people should not have to deal with my transition adding to their distress as they cope with their problems and form their own emerging identities.

I anticipate some of my patients leaving my care because they are unable to deal with my transition. I think most of them will be male and most of the women I work with will be able to weather the transition more easily and be accepting, even welcoming. Some men seem to have an innate fear of the feminine and some will not be able to cope with the idea that I have given up male privelege and become a woman.

I think I may lose between 15 to 20 % of my caseload, but with the flood of new referrals we are experiencing, I should be able to make up the deficit in about two to three months, if even that long.

I feel very blessed to have such a supportive employer. Some people who know me will no doubt say "told you so!!" and they are right. Just as importantly, I have the support of Patty, which is my number one concern and I have assured that I can continue to provide the things for her that I bring to our marriage without undue or unnecessary distress to her more than what a gender transition already brings.

Tonight I am a happy woman!


  1. I don't think I "told you so" but I am going to say how happy I am for you Sherri!

    Happy Holidays!

  2. Thank you so much Cyrsti! If you haven't, you may tell me that and it will be well received!
    hugs, Sherri

  3. I too tried to warn you it might go better than expected! Congratulations!

  4. Not a bad way to end the year. Isn't it lovely when people give such unqualified support.


  5. This is one of those times I'm so happy to be wrong!!!!

  6. I have just transitioned at work also. Our flow was very similar to yours. I worked with my management and HR team and I was extremely touched with their diligent research into transition issues. There was a presentation to my organization (112 people). Then a one week period for people to process the situation and then I started work as Dianne. They showed everyone a short video from PFLAG in Boulder Co. called "Faces and Facets" as an introduction to trans people and it was an EXCELLENT tool. I got such positive support and comments from my co-workers and the ownership! I had expected people to range from forced acceptance to neutrality and have instead seen a range from genuine acceptance to overt stated pride in my actions. I have been beyond stunned!

    I do feel the need to say, "Your mileage may vary." I am also fortunate to be in an environment full of very professional and well (over?) educated people. I have been there for 13 years working with largely the same group of people and I have always worked toward the respect of my co-workers. And like you, I have the support of my spouse. Taking any one or two of these away would make things MUCH harder. Take my word for that, I tried to transition years ago with almost none of these factors in place and did not succeed. (I didn't fail, just didn't manage to "succeed")

    Huge best wishes to you and Patty!!! And "head up, chin out and smile big!"