My post today may be short but to me it is incredibly powerful. Over the last few days a few events have happened both to the Army and to me which hold special significance. Bear with me as I share in my typical willy nilly fashion.
On Friday March 6th an ALARACT or all Army action message was signed which elevated the discharge authority for transgender individuals to the assistant secretary of the Army for personnel. Prior to this local level commanders could start inquiries and had discharge authority. Now all discharges go all the way to the top and fall on the desk of one woman. This is reminiscent of what happened in the months prior to the repeal of Don't Ask Don't tell. There is much speculation about why this happened and what it means. What is universally accepted is that it is a good thing for transgender service members and a step in the right direction.
It is important to note that the policy itself didn't change, only the level of authority it takes to discharge. Also of note is that the sister services have no such policy in place yet.
For some time now I have been contemplating the idea of coming out at work. In my heart I have felt that I was supposed too but I wasn't quite sure yet. The signing of this ALARACT was one more sign to me that I was supposed to come out. On Sunday my children and I attended church. The service was wonderful and in some ways felt like it was just for me. Once again I was affirmed in my feelings that I should come out.
On Monday, 9 March I shared with my supervisor that I am transgender. I informed him of my intent to continue with my career and that who I am would have no bearing on that. I explained that I didn't want special treatment and I acknowledged that at this time where there is a gender bias in standards I would be required to adhere to the male standards. I'm not entirely certain that my supervisor grasped the full weight of what I was telling him. In my experience many in the military see transgender women as only fetishists or cross dressers. They don't understand the mental anguish or what transition entails. For my part I am content to have him aware. At work my life is affected little by my gender identity. I am SSG not Trish. We wear a unisex uniform and cosmetics are scarcely allowed for any woman.
This morning I shared with much of the rest of my office that I am transgender. It was met with less response than my outing to my supervisor. In all the event was pleasantly anti climactic. I wanted to come out on my terms and in my way. I didn't want the rumor mill or grape vine in charge of this. I have major life events coming up and I wanted to come out before they happened.
This is my disclaimer statement. My decision was mine and I made it fully aware of the weight of the consequences. I was also comfortable enough with my superiors and coworkers to make such a choice. I do not advise anyone to follow in my footsteps based on my experience. As I said this decision was made after much prayer and reflection. Please make your own decisions based on your feelings and with your own understanding of the consequences involved.
Well folks that's it. While the audience is limited at this point I am out at work. I don't know what the future holds, but I know that this girl will face it head on and that I am not alone. Thank you for reading and supporting.
"Nothing is too girly and nothing is too masculine. But I do love color, and maybe that's a little girly - especially pink." Stacy London