I started my new job this week and I am already fed up with hiding my gender transition. Doing so at this stage in my transition has proven to be both physically uncomfortable and emotionally taxing. Wearing a compression sports bra for 8 hours straight is painful and leaves me feeling sore by the end of the day. Similarly, I am emotionally worn out because I am constantly worrying about hiding my transition. I had planned to stay closeted at work for the first couple of months but now I am thinking that doing so might not be worth the hassle.
My plan for dealing with my gender transition at my new job was simple. I would continue to present as a man for the first couple of months, both to get a feel for how safe the place is and to get through the probation period. At the same time, I wasn’t going to go to extremes to hide my transition or gender identity. I would wear a sports bra and button-up shirt to flatten my chest but that was the extent I was willing to go.
I thought that hiding my transition in this manner would be alright, but only a few days in it is already bothersome. The sports bra is painful by the end of the day and I am concerned about having that much compression while my breasts are still developing. Emotionally, the situation is even worse. I am constantly worrying if something is amiss or that somebody will notice that I am trans. This has made me hyper-vigilant to the point of absurdity. Every interaction with a coworker results in a mental analysis of the conversation. “Did they notice? Why did he say X, was it because they suspect? She was looking at me funny, is my chest showing?”. All of these unnecessary thoughts run through my mind all day and it is just so taxing. This simple method of hiding my transition is far more troublesome than I expected.
There is another problem with continuing to hide my transition. My new job provides insurance (Yay!) and that insurance will cover Facial Feminization Surgery (FFS) and Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS). This is great, but there is a catch. The insurance will only cover them after one year of lived, out, experience as a woman including at work. I am still on the fence about SRS, but I do want FFS. Ideally, I would be able to get FFS before coming out at work, but that does not seem to be an option. Paying for FFS out of pocket is unrealistic so the only option is to get my insurance to cover it. However, that means coming out sooner than I intended just to start the clock until insurance will cover FFS.
In light of these issues, I am reconsidering my plan to stay closeted at work for the foreseeable future. Actually doing so is uncomfortable and I am worried about wearing a compression sports bra for extended periods of time. The emotional drain is also significant and I am mentally exhausted every day. Coming out sooner also makes FFS more feasible, as it will allow me to get surgery covered by insurance sooner. Yet all of this is still weighed against safety concerns. I still don’t have a good sense of how accepting my workplace would be and this makes me afraid of coming out yet. I want to have a sense of security before coming out, but that might never come. I don’t know how long I should wait or when the right time to come out is.