Being Validated in the Workplace
I count myself pretty lucky when it comes to my job... I enjoy what I do, I get along great with my team, and most importantly, my company is extremely supportive of the LGBT community.
I've always known that my company was very vocal in their support of LGBT, they are a major sponsor of several pride events and this past June, when the Transgender Resource Center of Long Island, (a group with whom I'm very active in) started a new pride event, they were quick to approve funding with a nice grant.
Internally, they remain active keeping employees informed on what's going on in the world. Our company maintains their own social media site for employees across the country to interact with each other. We have pages of all sorts and I frequently participate in pages about topics ranging from the WWE to the Walking Dead and several pages regarding Transgender life.
With the recent midterm elections, my employers took a major stand and did something they don't usually do, they got involved in politics when they spoke up in support of Massachusetts Proposition 3, which upheld an Anti-Discrimination law against transgender residents.
> "THE FIRST LINE ASKED FOR MY GENDER, AND I WAS SHOCKED WHEN I SAW MORE THAN TWO OPTIONS."
Then just last week, another major change came. Our human resources site recently underwent a major remodel and when I logged on to the new site for the first time, I was brought to a page to confirm my personal information. The first line asked for my gender, and I was shocked when I saw more than two options. I had the choice between the "standard" male or female, but then also had the options of transman, transwoman, two-spirit, non-binary and even the option to not disclose.
Next, the option was given to provide a preferred name. I was excited to enter my preference, the single letter C. I submitted my profile updates and went about my day. I had almost forgotten about it all until a few days later when I had to place a call to one of our back office departments.
Every such phone call always starts the same way, I introduce myself with my given name and location, the support agent logs into a people finder site and asks for my location, user ID and manager’s name. This time however, something new happened as my identity was confirmed, the Agent saw my profile and confirmed that my preferred name was C and throughout our call, I was consistently referred to by my initial. It was one of the coolest experiences I've had in 2 years with my company.
I've been C to my friends for almost 5 months, but to have a colleague, especially one I didn't know personally, so easily address me by this chosen moniker made me feel like I really mattered. And ultimately, is there any better of a feeling to get while at work?