Under wraps

Someone wrote…

My significant other wants to keep me and my gender differences under wraps around their co-workers that we hang out with socially. They don’t want others to know about my changes, including my preferred name, because they might discriminate, and not give them promotions. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know if they understand how much it hurts me to know that they are ashamed of me and refuse to let me transition around their co-workers.

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?

Posted by on July 24th, 2012 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 5 comments »

5 Responses to “Under wraps”

  1. Aurora

    My heart goes out to you.


  2. Anonymous

    Do you know that they’re ashamed of you? Or is that just the conclusion you’re drawing from the fact that they want to keep your transition a secret? The way you wrote this makes it sound like it could be the latter.

    The job market does suck right now, so it makes sense that your partner wouldn’t want to take any risks. Ideally we would all work in non-transphobic workplaces (and non-homophobic, non-racist, non-sexist, etcetera), but in practice that’s just not possible, and we all have to eat. Please don’t blame your partner for the attitudes of their co-workers!

    Transgender identity isn’t protected against discrimination in a lot of areas, so their concerns may be real and have nothing to do with shame. Try doing some research to find out what the status in your state/country/region is. If it turns out there are strong protections, you may be able to reassure your partner.

    Other questions that make a difference in this situation: Are you living together? Are you splitting expenses? What are your relative incomes? If your partner did get fired, would you be willing and able to support them singlehandedly while they looked for a more accepting job? If you can offer them some security via your income, that might make them more willing to risk getting fired for your sake.

    Good luck!


  3. Clare

    It seems that we are talking about employers here, not coworkers, and yes they may well discriminate against you – do they have an Equal Opportunities Policy? Does it work, and is it supported by a union?
    Sorry this is the deep end, but sometimes being different means a fight…


  4. Micha

    Communication and compromise. Sort out priorities, talk to your SO and if necessary, compromise for em – if it’s worth it to you.

    I am compromising for my family every day. When I ask myself what’s more important, integrity or family, my love and my kids win every time. It’s painful, but it’s not personal. They’re not disrespecting me, I’m the one making the choice.


  5. Brett Blatchley

    I’m sorry things are so difficult, and know what it is to not be able to be real.

    Have you tried “desensitization?” Try adjusting your appearance and manner gradually in small steps. If my spouse saw me as I am today, a year ago, I’m pretty sure she would not have handled it well. Ditto with the prior year and the year before that. At this point, I’m passing as a woman without really trying. A little at a time and it becomes the new normal. It’s certainly helped me and my reward is that I can live MUCH more congruently.


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