Been awhile, I know. I have a moment to just settle and work out the last two months.
So. First of all, I quit my job from hell. Well, the job wasn’t hell…but the management sure as hell was. I thought my doctor and my Old White Dude were going to legit squeal in happiness. Actually, my doctor kind of did. So I quit that after getting word that I had gotten the job I was really hoping for. I have two weeks so far in at my job and I really like it. I’m basically a caseworker for people who have intellectual developmental disabilities.
New job. Pays better. Better hours. Most importantly, and it wasn’t something I was fully realizing until I started, way better environment. I went in my first day, spent it mainly with HR. Got to hang out with the two supervisors a little (we went out to lunch) and then was back in with HR. So, I spent most of the day feeling out the whole thing and I felt okay, I felt comfortable. At the end of the day, I mentioned to HR that, well I go by male pronouns. I kind of held my breath, cause I never know the reaction, and HR smiled and said that’s perfectly fine. Then told me they had discussed that as a possibility with my supervisor after my interview when they were deciding to hire me. Was able to let that breath I was holding out.
Next day I have training and I’ve got to go down to one of the other sites. So, I get down there and I get with my supervisor who wanted to introduce me to everyone from down there… and never once did she use a female pronoun when introducing me. I honestly wanted to cry because it was so natural. Everyone just accepted that and I went about my training that day. Now, my supervisor does fuck it up every once in awhile (we actually share a first name which fries her brain a little) but she always recognizes this fact and instantly fixes it. Hilariously, she only ever fucks up in front of me. And I don’t feel upset, because how she reacts makes me giggle. All the people I am going to be working with, I have been introduced as a he, and that is just how it is.
So, I had more training this week with someone else from within the company down at the other site again. I was running a little late, so my super called me and I explained I would be there in about 10 minutes cause nobody could drive. I get there, I get in with the trainer and another new hire who is going to work up at my site in a different department and we start. The guy is basically a professional asshole and I think just wants to make people terrified. I can handle that shit. He starts calling me a she though. Now, I am shit at calling people out because once again, the area I am in… isn’t always safe. So I hold it in. It was kind of upsetting because for two weeks I had gotten used to just being a he and I was starting to not think it was special treatment to be me. Thank you old job. However, toward the end of training we were asked to give examples of stigma… and with this country in a trash fire and the lovely comments about people like me I flat out told the trainer, “Well, my whole existence is wrapped up with a lot of stigma.” Of course, he is a little taken back and asks me to explain.. So I did. I flat out told him I go by male pronouns and he mentioned my super told him this. I pointed out he had referred to me as female at least five times. His eyes got -huge- and he started apologizing everywhere. He then asked why it listed me as my full name on the one sheet and I was like, “Because that’s my legal name?” I then pointed out that if he checks our directory, I am listed by the name I answer to…because HR made the IT guy change it. I honestly do not think that he was trying to be an asshole in that regard, he’s just really fucking oblivious.
Now, I have been fucking with my super telling her that I dunno if I can handle all of this. She responds that I am not allowed to quit and she’ll chain me to my desk. Apparently this trainer has scared people off before so I told him he could fuck with my super a little. I started it off and then he came in and was like “Oh I dunno, she did seem pretty shaken.” He kept talking and used she about three more times.. And I am watching my super’s face freak out. So I’m like “Oh and that too” while gesturing back towards him. I turned to him and asked, “What the hell did you just call me?” He then realized, apologized again, did it again, noticed again and decided he should shut up and just leave.
So my supervisor and I were talking then and she’s legit freaking out. She’s going up and down about how she made sure to tell him that morning… cause he came and asked her where I was and used my legal name. Super said she stopped him right there, explained I go by the shortened form of my name and that I go with male pronouns. She then said he was like, “Oh, okay. That’s cool.”
….and then he spent the day fucking it up. She was so upset that he might have made me uncomfortable. She kept going on and on that she could talk with him or she could send off an email because she never wanted me to feel uncomfortable there. She said she wanted me to be able to come to her if ANYONE made me feel uncomfortable be it our staff or any providers we work with. She kept saying this over and over and looked so freaked out. She wanted me to know that they never want me to have to hold all of that in if it bothers me and they want to make me feel safe and comfortable.
I wanted to cry because she wanted to make sure I was okay and that I wasn’t uncomfortable. I have never felt that before. I tried to make jokes of it, because I am shit at confrontation when it comes to my gender…because where I live isn’t always safe and I have told them all that. I told my super she could go and fuck around with him a little since he fucks with her all the time and tries to scare people off. I am not sure what she was gonna do to him, but she probably did chew him the fuck out.
Did it hurt to hear that all day after I started getting used to work being a place where I was me and that’s how it was? Yes, it really did. Do I think he meant to do it? No. Did I appreciate my super’s reaction? Oh my God yes. It was so genuine and she was so pissed too because she made sure to tell him that morning before I got there.
I never thought I would feel this way in a work environment. Before, I was made to feel if they got it right that it was a special treatment and they deserved a cookie. They never wanted to tell new hires and if my coworkers called me a he to clients, they were made to feel bad because they did that. I felt so ashamed of myself there. It certainly didn’t help my declining mental health while I was there. Right now I keep needing to remind myself that was then, this is now. I am in a whole new ballgame of employment and I am doing pretty alright. I caught up with a former coworker and they were just so damned shocked at how relaxed I looked. I look calm, I look good. I feel good is the biggest thing. I legit feel good.