This year has been a very turbulent one. From coming to college, having a bad room mate for half of my first semester, to coming out as bi-sexual, and finally admitting to myself that I don’t have a gender. It’s a hell of a lot to be dealing with. In light of all this discovery, I have been watching many, many videos and going to several talks on what it is like to come out as a part of the LGBTQ+ community. All of these stories have been different and unique to whichever person happens to be telling it; however one of the similarities I have found among them, especially in the stories of adults, is coming out in your profession or workplace.
I didn’t really think much of it at first, being as I don’t have a job. I had listened to the stories of several people from the LGBTQ+ community and they always marked this as one of the hardest parts of coming out. Generally, unless a workplace is privately owned (and even then this is true), there are a verity of different people working there who all come form different backgrounds. Unfortunately, they all come with their own degrees of not understanding parts of life. For the LGBTQ+ community, this can be especially difficult.
Most people tend to fall back on the hetero-normative ideas when they first start working with others. For instance, when you meet your employer you go in, shake their hand, and the first thing they ask is your name, date of birth..ect. What they do not usually ask is a preferred pronoun. This does not mean our coworkers, or employers are first rate assholes. I had no clue what a preferred pronoun was until very recently and now, I realize that that isn’t really a good name for it either. Society is the first rate asshole here. Society has taught us to identify people by whatever their chest looks like, or what is between their legs. So, generally what happens is your employer and coworkers already have a presumed idea of what your gender is, and if they are have enough gal to think it, who you are. This is where the difficulty of coming out comes in.
So, I recently got a volunteer job as an actor for the Virginia Renaissance Fair. I had my first rehearsal yesterday and it is probably the most fun I have had in quite a long time. Everyone is very nice, accepting and helpful. It’s great. The only catch for me is, everyone refers to me as she/her. I will be playing a male character, so eventually everyone will, when I am in character call me he, him, sir, whatever. That is just a character though, not me. I do plan on coming out during our next rehearsal. It is not easy though. Because no matter what happens, I am going to have to explain it to someone. I will explain, if they want to understand, but it really gets old.
My gender is just as much a part of me as anything else and I don’t feel the need to explain myself to someone. What I would like to happen is for gender to be a commonly accepted as the hair on your head, or the color of your skin. I would also like pronouns to be asked for as often as names are. It is very important to be refereed to as your should be. I think that if we do this, we are going to make a lot of people feel more comfortable where they are whether that is in school, at home, or in the workplace.