Working with a Transsexual:
A Guide for Coworkers
By Janis Walworth
Working with a Transsexual: A Guide for Coworkers is aimed at a transsexual's coworkers and is shorter and less expensive than Transsexual Workers: An Employer's Guide, allowing an employer to purchase multiple copies to distribute to employees. This book contains much of the same information as the employer's guide regarding transsexualism and the process of transition, but here this information is imbedded in the story of a transsexual woman who decides to transition on her job. Female-to-male issues are addressed by a transsexual man who speaks to her coworkers.
There are two chapters of questions frequently asked by coworkers, with answers. Also included are photographs of transsexual professionals to show readers that transsexuals in the workplace look pretty much like anyone else. Resources are offered for readers who want to access more in-depth information on this subject. This book has also been used in college classes and for general educational purposes.
||Questions and Answers
This is from Chapter 2 of Working with a Transsexual: A Guide for Coworkers. The speaker is Howard, a female-to-male transsexual who is helping to educate the coworkers of a transsexual woman who plans to transition on her job.
I'm a female-to-male transsexual. I started out life as a girl but never felt much like one. Life was confusing for me as I grew up, although I heard about male-to-female transsexuals like Christine Jorgenson and Renee Richards and wondered if it was possible for me to become a man. When I was in high school, I joined a gay and lesbian youth group because I was attracted to girls and women. I soon realized, however, that my feelings about myself were quite different from those of most lesbians -- they seemed content to be women, while this bothered me a lot.
I went to college in a city that had a good transgender support group, so I had access to a lot of information about transsexualism, and it became clear that I was a transsexual. I went to a psychotherapist so I could get approval for taking testosterone, and I've been taking it for five years now. I had my breasts removed, which made it much easier to appear as a man, especially in the summer. Before that I had to bind my breasts and wear a loose shirt. Later I had a hysterectomy, mainly because I had painful fibroids. I haven't had any other surgery, and I'm not sure if I ever will. I'm quite happy with my body the way it is now.
I transitioned on my job as a child psychologist five years ago. Much of my work is in the school system, so I made the change in my appearance during summer vacation. Many of the kids I saw the next fall didn't recognize me. For the clients I saw throughout the summer, I talked to the children and their parents about my impending transition and offered them a choice of switching to another therapist at the agency where I work or continuing to see me. Some left and some stayed. There were a few students and parents who objected to my counseling in the schools, but the school administration handled that on a case-by-case basis, and I don't think it has interfered with my effectiveness.
My family has been great. My mother was devastated at first. She was still hoping I would grow out of my "tomboy phase," and she finally had to admit that it wasn't going to happen. Now she thinks I'm handsome and shows me off as her son. I always had a close relationship with my dad and still do -- he's been very supportive. My two sisters are okay with my transition, although I don't see them much -- they both live far away. For two years I've been dating a wonderful woman, and we're planning to get married next year.