Monday, March 8, 2021

Toxicity

 Connie (below) responded to the Cyrsti's Condo recent post concerning me connecting with one of my previous employees, or more precisely...she contacted me. 

Here is the comment:

"Even in this very left-leaning city of Seattle, there are pockets of toxicity. One needs only to drive a few miles out of town to find it, as well. I've had my share of "Dude Looks Like a Lady" and "Lola" experiences, myself. Nobody needed to tell me that my business would have suffered, had I come out, as I depended on the patronage of building contractors (not always the most liberal-thinking people). My own dysphoria ended up sabotaging my business, so that (I thought) I could move forward with my transition. Ironically, this caused a great hindrance for me to have the finances with which to do so.

 Securing any kind of employment as a woman became more difficult, not only because I was trans, but I couldn't even provide references without outing myself to past, present and future business associates in the process. There exists a passive toxicity, in that most employers will consider the possibility of drama that could accompany the hiring of a trans woman - especially for a management position. Basically, I've only been able to find low-paying jobs with no opportunity for advancement. In fact, the only thing advanced about me is my age, and that just makes the whole thing worse.

 I changed my name and gender, legally, in 2015, when I was 63-years-old. I had thought about delaying the changes in order to secure employment, as my male self, with a company that I knew would have accommodated my transition later. I know people who have done this successfully, yet I just felt it to be wrong for me. It felt, to me, like going through the back door, rather than being the honest and straightforward person (woman) I wanted to be. After all, I had been living a lie for so many years, and I was just plain tired playing that game of deception. The game itself is toxic - and of my own creation. Just as transphobia can be internalized, so can the toxicity. Sometimes, I think, moving away from toxicity involves more than finding a new location. It can also mean that we have to let go of those internal demons that keep us from moving forward - not only with transitioning, but with life."

Thanks for the comment! To be sure, you are right, the transgender journey we have pursued is by nature full of toxicity. 

I was fortunate in that when I decided to do my MTF gender transition, I had the resources (barely) to just retire and go on to change my life. Then again, along the way, I considered the feasibility of joining a new company and then transitioning. But at that time the restaurant business I was part of was a very conservative patriarchal industry. So, starting over in a new profession as I transitioned was even more daunting. 

The toxicity levels I was about to face were tremendous. I took the easy way out and didn't face them at all.
 

 

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