I am writing to inform you of a life-changing event that your colleague, Matt, will be undergoing. Over the next several months, Matt will be undergoing a series of surgeries to change his sex . The first of these surgeries will take place in June, and when he comes back to work in July, he will be rejoining us under his new identity, Madeleine. Matt has attached his own letter to you with better explanations than I could give. I would ask for your cooperation in the following areas:
1) When Matt come back to the office as Madeleine, he will do so as a female co-worker. That means that "he" will become "she". It may be hard to remember at first , but please make every effort to use the right pronoun when you are talking to or about Madeleine. Our co-workers will take their cue from us.
2) If you have questions or concerns about this transition, please address them either to Madeleine or to me. Please don't talk about them to friends or co-workers who may or may not know her. This transition may be difficult for some to deal with, but I can assure you that the difficulties will be minimized if we are all able to talk to each other in a professional manner about the aspects that concern us. Please keep in mind our company's commitment to provide a workplace for all employees that is free of discrimination and harassment.
3) If people you know have questions about this transition, and they will, answer them simply and directly, as you feel comfortable. Do not encourage jokes or anecdotes about transgender people or experiences. If they have questions that you can't answer or don't feel comfortable answering, that's OK, refer them to me or to Angie in HR.
An important point to remember is that as Matt transitions to his new gender, the talents and skills which make him a valuable employee remain unchanged. Your teammate needs your help and your understanding. I know you would hope for the same from your teammates if you were in a similar position. Please take the time to read Matt's letter that I have attached below and feel free to come to either one of us if you want to talk further.
For most of my life I have struggled with what has been medically diagnosed as "Gender Dysphoria". I am what is termed a transsexual woman. My clinical condition is different from that of a male transvestite, male cross-dresser, gay male, drag queen or female impersonator. One important difference is that those in the previous sentence have basically a male gender identity. As a transsexual woman mine has always been female; and therein lies my dilemma. Masking my female gender identity and disposition at work has become impossibly difficult and now produces high levels of stress and at times depression. Ultimately, I will only be able to resolve my gender conflict and achieve gender congruity via sexual reassignment surgery (SRS).
Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) is the final event in the sex-reassignment procedure. The final result is cosmetically and functionally indistinguishable from that of genetic females, although transsexuals have no reproductive organs. Some decide not to have this surgery, but I currently plan to have it. The SRS prerequisites are rigorous and include medically supervised female hormone therapy, which I have been undergoing for the past sixteen months; gender counseling, for the past two years; and living 100% of the time in a medically supervised "Real Life Experience (RLE)", female role for a period of at least one year and in some cases two or more. This is to help transsexuals determine if sex-reassignment surgery is right for him or her. Most psychiatric professionals require a minimum of one year RLE before giving their approval for sex-reassignment surgery. That's the stage I'm at now, and that's why I came out at work now.
I have been living part-time as a female over the past 2 years and have now reached the point physically, mentally and emotionally where, after extensive consultation with my healthcare providers, I need to start a medically supervised RLE as soon as possible to complete that SRS prerequisite.
In preparation for RLE, in the next few weeks, I will have my name changed to Madeleine, Texas driver's license re-issued to Madeleine with a new picture, changed my Social Security records and even plan to have a new AMC MovieWatcher card issued. I plan to begin a four-week leave on June 12th, and upon my return on July 10th, I will be working as a woman.
As I move into the RLE please know that it is not my intent to cause anyone discomfort or embarrassment within the company or within our accounts. At the same time I am realistic enough to know that some may have difficulty accepting me and I will respect their rights and hope they will respect mine. I am very flexible and open to suggestions that minimize difficulties and awkward situations so we all can work together. For example, I don't want people to feel uncomfortable about this, so, in coordination with Human Resources, I have agreed to restrict my restroom usage during my transition to the first floor women's bathroom in 1605.
For people who knew me as Matt there will be an adjustment period where you will unconsciously use he, him or Matt instead of she, her or Madeleine. I know that's going to happen. It took my family and friends a while to switch, too. Don't worry about it. You'll use the other name, other pronouns etc., even if you're trying hard. I'm not touchy, and I try to have a very good sense of humor about the whole thing.
If you have any questions, feel free to talk to me, by email or in person. To help out, Iíve placed a page on my website (at http://www.cinematter.com/madeleine2.html) which answers some common questions. In addition, you may contact Angie, who is coordinating things from HR, or you may talk to my manager, Jennifer.
I feel like a huge boulder has been lifted from my shoulders. I am ecstatic to finally be able to live openly and honestly the female I have always felt I was and am on the inside; and the female that now shows more and more on the outside. I hope empathy will be possible for most of you and I look forward to a smooth transition for all of us.