It’s a rather grim way to start a blog post, but I make no apologies for it. You see, I’m a trans woman and I consider myself lucky to be alive. Actually, ‘lucky’ doesn’t even come close. I have fantastic friends, a wonderful family, I live in a country where the rights of people like me are enshrined in law and I live in a liberal democracy where openness and tolerance are an integral part of our society.
All that being true, on a day-to-day basis, there is one thing that makes the biggest difference to my freedom to be myself and that is that I have an employer and colleagues who respect me for my talents, not my gender identity. I can’t overstate how important this is. For many older trans people like myself, who grew up in the 1970 and 1980s, or earlier, deligitimisation of our identities is a major issue. To feel that every hour of every working day, while everyone else is going about the business of being who they are and doing what they do, I too have a place in a working environment where my expression of my gender identity is taken without question as a projection of my true self. I can just be me. Just like everyone else. Amazing. No, really, it is. Ten years ago, that would just not have happened except in exceptional circumstances. So hooray for ‘so what’! Hooray for ‘meh...’! At work, I am entirely unremarkable, and for non-cis passing trans women like me, ordinariness literally saves lives.