A pronoun win at work
Something unexpected happened at work recently…
I rarely meet the people I work for, which in many ways has eased the whole transition process. At the same time, I have some clients who have known me for close to 10 years… as female. To some of them, I’m “reverse stealth,” meaning they aren’t aware of my transition and continue to perceive me (I assume) as female. While I changed the pronouns on my business website over a year ago, my existing clients have no reason to visit my website, so I don’t expect them to notice this change.
I have told some of my clients about my transition, but not all. Because I don’t meet them in person, it’s sometimes difficult to gauge what they’d think about me after coming out to them as trans. Plus, it has no bearing on what I do for them, and because the work is done mostly on a one-to-one basis, pronouns very rarely come up.
The one place where pronouns do raise their head is when I engage in conference calls. In recent months, I’ve had a few clients ask me if I have a cold, noting my changed voice. I simply answer, no, and move on with the meeting agenda. Last week though I did a call with one of my favorite clients, speaking with both the president and marketing director. To my utter shock and pleasure, they were both all of the sudden using male pronouns with me. It caught me a bit off-guard and I had to steady myself to keep my train of thought.
Did they notice the male pronouns on my website, or just take cues from my lower voice? Did they assume they’d pegged me wrong all these years as female, or come to the realization that I’m now male via transition? I’ll probably never know the answers to these questions.
I have a call coming up with an old associate who’s interested in talking about bringing me on for some new work. He’s a great guy, and we always shared our common love of music. He’ll certainly ask about if I’m singing these days. That’s usually an opener for me to talk about my changed voice, and thus my transition. I think he could take the news OK, especially since he wouldn’t necessarily have to reveal to the people he now works for about my female past. Regardless, I have no doubt that it will be the most interesting thing he’ll talk about at the office today.