There are a couple of good trans-related things that have happened to me in the past month. They both relate to my business; in case you don’t know, I’m a computer consultant. I’ve been hesitant about being out to my customers for a number of reasons. The main reason is that it’s just not relevant to most of my business. But sometimes things come up, and it makes sense to mention something trans-related. The second problem is that I’ve built a lot of my business in my local neighborhood, and it’s a bit more conservative than Manhattan. Even in Manhattan, though, I worry that transness (especially transvestism) may not be as accepted as homosexuality.
There are signs that being out isn’t as difficult as I thought, however. I know that one of my biggest customers was aware of my cross-dressing before she hired me, and I’ve come out to some of my other cutomers (who I knew were either some flavor of queer, or at least open-minded) with no adverse consequences. And now, recently, two more things.
The first is that I’ve recently become involved in LGBT business networking. In June I joined the organization Out Professionals, and I was a little apprehensive at first, because all their materials just say “lesbian and gay.” But I asked if it was okay to join because I was trans, and the seminar organizer said, “you could even be straight, and you’d be welcome.”
A few weeks later I got an announcement from Out Professionals that one of their members is organizing a breakfast networking group here in Queens. I went to the first meeting last month, and it was a really nice experience. The other attendees were very friendly, and I got some promising business leads. The next meeting is going to be on Wednesday, September 13 in Jackson Heights. It’s still at an informal stage, so if anyone reading this is interested in attending, send me an email and I’ll send you the organizer’s email address.
The other positive development recently is that I met another computer consultant who’s trans. This woman is transsexual, around fifteen years post-transition, and has built a successful computer consulting business with several employees. She tells me she doesn’t pass with everyone and she’s out to anyone who wants to know, but if any of her customers know she’s trans, it doesn’t seem to faze them. They seem much more interested in getting their computers working.
It’s reassuring to see this, as a counterpoint to all those studies that use questionable methods and claim to show that almost all transpeople are drug-addicted prostitutes or underpaid social workers. It shows that there’s a middle way between the closet and poverty.