As I've approached transition I've found myself doing something I'm not happy about. I didn't realize exactly what I was doing at first, and even after I did realize it, I didn't fully appreciate its significance at first... and why I shouldn't be doing it.
I've caught myself trying to store up good karma, particularly at work... I've been asking myself if I've done people enough favors, if I've solved a tough problem for everyone recently enough to get some extra points to tide me through this transition. That's right - I've been thinking that maybe I can earn enough extra credit to balance out the process of transition so that people will still accept me.
At first this seems reasonable, prudent even. Why not be sure that everyone is favorably disposed towards me before laying something like a transgender coworker on them? Reasonable enough, eh?
But then it also hit me that this whole way of thinking about it is wrong - so very, very wrong.
First of all, solving problems for people at work isn't doing them a favor, it's my doing my job. If the problems are hard ones that no one else can handle, that's the reason they hired me. Besides that, I like solving hard problems and I like helping people out - I'd do it anyway if I could. And I like to do what I can to have a postive balance of karma, but more for the satisfaction it gives me looking back, not as something to cash in. So as I think about it, there's precious little "extra" or "credit" in just doing my job well and in doing what I can to help people out.
But the real thing that makes this thinking wrong it is its underlying assumption. It assumes that I will need to get people to accept me, support me, and like me in spite of being trans, and that I'll need a fairly large inducement to achieve that, as if I'm trying to outweigh a huge flaw.
And as I think of it, that's just wrong. Being trans is not some huge flaw that needs to be outweighed.
It's part of me... and people liked me before, were willing to support me before, accepted me before.
Not everyone will agree, but I need to hold fast to this. I've chosen to be more honest with the world and myself, but nothing inside me has changed. I haven't done anything wrong, and I haven't let anyone down. Those who see that will remain my friends.
And those who won't try to understand that were never my friends - they never even knew me.