I attended a conference this weekend. Three years ago, this was the first conference I attended specifically for trans people. Revisiting this moment for me each year is blissful. I connect with folks that have become good friends and understand the process many of us have or are going through in transition.
This year was different for many reasons. The conference has expanded their programming to be more inclusive of trans youth and transmasculine individuals and moved to a new location. For me though it was different because my work world and personal world crossed paths.
In my previous post, I discussed my level of being out vs not out in my role as an elementary teacher. I knew that someday in some way these two parts of my world would cross. In the past, this would have sent me through several panic attacks, sleepless nights, disgusting amounts of analyzing, etc…. Maybe it was the preparation or knowing that it was a possibility, but I think that had very little to do with it.
I’m chalking it up to being comfortable in my own skin and having a strong sense of self. My experience was full of short bursts of meaningful interactions with my colleagues being very respectful and appropriate while considering seeking answers of specific best practices. I’m so honored that I work for an employer who wants to educate themselves to be inclusive to all individuals in their community. As I headed home full of life and feeling connected to community and touched to see people living and working towards becoming their authentic selves, I remembered what I feared in the past of having to leave K-12 education having some really bad interactions with colleagues (in previous jobs), and wondering if I could find the right balance of out and advocacy for me. It’s never perfect, but what once was a high rock wall that seemed impossible to climb is now one that is manageable, but a project to become more efficient with your movements.