I was out sick on Monday. I had gotten a cold and needed some time to get over it, but I had to come in to work Tuesday because I had contractors coming in to do some work that I needed to oversee and to help set up the services on our server. While I am the IT manager, I also oversee the Logistics side of the operations, really just keeping up with the personnel hours and making upper level decisions.
I tell you this so that you will understand that I am pretty crucial to the company. And I need you to understand that once I come out, once they know who I am, it won’t matter one single bit and I will be fired or they will find grounds to fire me or they will make me quit by making it unbearable to be here. I was reminded of this fact by one of the logistics crew who told me a story on Tuesday.
It’s not a long story, but it is one of those times I wish I had been at work, sick or not. This person who works for me, I will call him Albert, was excited to see me and to relate what had happened on Monday. Apparently, as he puts it, one of the truck drivers was a lady/man. It was a guy dressed as a woman, as he continued to explain. The story wasn’t about how he had to reload the truck because the driver knew exactly how it should be arranged and Albert had done it wrong. It wasn’t about how this driver was really good at her job and that she was doing it in a male-dominated industry.
The fact that the truck driver was transgender was the story. He told me how he told others in the office so they could come into the warehouse and see the “guy dressed like a lady”. I was mad as hell. I couldn’t say what I wanted to say. However, I let him know that I support transgender, that I have family members who are transgender. I let him know that “SHE” is the correct pronoun. I let him know that if I had witnessed this, he would have been written up. I let him know that if he ever sees a transgender person he better treat them with respect. That they (we) are people just like anyone else, deserving of the same respect you give to a fellow human being. He quickly saw that his exciting story wasn’t going the way he had planned. I found out that he never said a cross word to her, that he did what she asked and only was rude behind her back. I wanted him to understand that I don’t want him being rude or tell the office people or anything else behind her or anyone else’s backs.
I had to play ally, instead of what I wanted to be right then. I wanted to tell him that I was also transgender and if you disrespect her, I can expect you will disrespect me as well. I know what I face in my company; I know that currently in NC I can expect to not be treated equally in public. I know we all face uphill battles. I wish I had been there so I could have stood beside her at the very least as an ally.
The fact that she was transgender overshadowed everything else. This keeps running through my mind.