Today, at 9am Central Time, my co-workers are being informed of my transition. Immediately afterward my supervisor will read them the following letter I wrote for the occasion…
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
By now you have heard about the transition I am undertaking. When you next see me I will no longer be [my old name], but Diana. I apologize for keeping this a secret for as long as I have. Changes like the one I am undergoing are frequently misunderstood, so I wanted to take the time to inform you thoroughly and professionally.
I want to assure you all that the main theme surrounding this announcement is really, “Not much is changing.” That is surely the way I intend to approach it. I can still perform my job as well as before. But more than that… I’m still the same person you have come to know. I have the same personality, same interests, same habits (mostly the good kind, I hope).
Obviously some things will be changing. I will be going by a different name. The style of my clothing will be different. Different pronouns will apply to me. I fully understand it will take some time to make the appropriate mental adjustments. But I think you’ll find that once you do, the changes will amount to very little within the big picture of our working relationship.
I want to share something which I hope will illustrate my belief in our future together.
I first came to [the Company] as a consultant to work on a six week contract. At the time the idea of moving from one contract to the next had strong appeal for me for one big reason – when I transitioned my gender I would be able to leave one company behind and start fresh in a new one where they would not have known me before. All my old working relationships would be washed away and I would start building fresh new ones in my new gender.
But, after a couple of contract extensions, when it finally came time to leave I realized I didn’t want to go. Maybe, I thought, I had found a place where I might be accepted even after my intended transition. And if that was so, why would I ever choose to leave [the Company]? I have never worked for a company I more strongly believed in. I believe in the mission. I believe in the vision. And most importantly I believe in the people.
Those who have sat with me during interviews can attest, whenever a prospective candidate asks what I like most about working for [the Company] the first words I respond with are: “the people.” And it’s true. I worked as a consultant for eight years. During that time I worked for a lot of different companies. But none of those companies ever impressed me as much as [the Company] in terms of the quality of the people I get to work with day in and day out. A company like ours is a special place to come to work every day. I want to do my best to keep it that way no matter what changes may arise in any of our lives.
Friends and colleagues, I’m asking for your understanding and support during this transition period. Some awkwardness is unavoidable at first, even with the best of intentions. I hope we can make our way through this period with mutual respect and a sense of humor. If so we should see little interruption to that extraordinary state of working collaboration we call “normal” at [the Company].