Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What's in a name, quite a lot actually . . . .

On Friday, May 20th, 2016 I shared this communication with my GHY family . . .

By now there might be some information circulating around the office about me and if not, well, this should be an interesting read for you.  I am about to share some personal information with you and although I do want to be up front with everybody that I work with, some of you might think that this information is a joke.  I assure you it is not.  Comprehending this information, in fact, may take considerable patience, understanding and compassion.  I expect that some of you will require a longer time to fully process this as it is not a minor issue like a haircut or a bit of nail polish.

I am transgender.  Specifically, I am male-to-female transsexual. I have been aware of being different most of my life, but only came to a realization in the last few years that it had a name and the extent to which I felt like this. This has caused me an almost inexpressible degree of personal grief and confusion.

After many decades of struggling with my gender identity, I have finally come to grips with who I am.  I have been in therapy since the beginning of this year and it has become very clear to me that I cannot continue with the status quo in regards to my life without creating a union between my body and my spirit (for lack of a better analogy, my mind, heart and soul do not coincide with the physical body that I was born with).

Fortunately, transsexuality can be treated.  Most of those who have embarked upon their journey of “transition” do go on to live fulfilling and joyful lives.  I have support from my wife, family and close friends and for that I am very lucky.  This is not always the case for some.  There is a well-established protocol for treating those with the condition of “Gender Dysphoria” (pretty fancy words!) that has been adopted by the Canadian Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, as well as many other mental health care associations.  This protocol is known as the “Benjamin Standards of Care,” and it constitutes a rigorous set of procedures, ensuring that the patient is an appropriate candidate for gender affirmation.

If you have read this far, it’s quite possible you feel the top of your head is about to blow off.  Most of us have no personal experience with transsexuality, and lack even a basic language for talking about it.  If you find this strange, embarrassing, or even wonderful, you should know that your reaction is not atypical.

GHY executives have all expressed their respect and understanding for the journey that I will be embarking on, and have pledged their support.  To some degree, all of you will be embarking on this journey with me and I will apologize now for the potential chaos that the hormone treatments will put me through.

I am confident that my transition at work will be relatively smooth once the initial surprise wears off.  I expect the first day that I present as female will cause some disruption, but I will give everybody sufficient warning so said disruption can be minimized.  That being said, even though I will definitely look and sound different I am still the same person I have always been.  You will however notice a few different mannerisms.

You might be wondering what you can or should do next:

First, if you wish to learn more, check out the Frequently asked questions attachment I have posted seperately for you.

Secondly, please ask questions.  Knowledge is power and the key to understanding and compassion.  Ignorance and hiding yourself is the path to hate and mis-communication.  I am completely open to answering any questions you may have in regards to the process, or whatever else you may be curious about.  I also want to be very clear, I am still the same person you have known up to this point, and will remain relatively unchanged, well, with a few distinct changes of course.

I realize that jokes may be made and while humour can be a therapeutic tool, I do not want to be the object of malicious intent.  My adventure (and yours too) in the coming months will require honesty and courage.  I am hoping that with your understanding and acceptance, I will be able to complete it.

It has been a pleasure to work with you all over the last 28 years, and I look forward to continuing to work with you as your colleague for many years to come.

As I noted, I will give plenty of notice to everybody prior to the new me showing up for the first time.  When that day comes I will be going by my new chosen name Cynthia.

1 comment:

  1. Bless you for the courage to do this, and to share with us. Best thoughts and wishes as you (and as you said, we) embark on this journey. And hey, one of these days let's do a corporate product video again! The last one was a blast!


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