The meetings with my advisors today went as well as I could have hoped. In addition to being really glad they weren’t in trouble (that call for an HR meeting is apparently scary no matter how nice they ask), they were both warmly supportive, and weren’t all that surprised. Or rather, they were a little surprised, but then thought about it for a second, and weren’t.
Both volunteered that I’ve seemed happier and more relaxed over the last 6 months to a year (Note, “more relaxed,” as opposed to “relaxed,” which I will likely never be). My main advisor also noted how great my work has been lately, that I seem to have hit a good intellectual groove. They seemed to think transition is all-in-all a good idea, and offered their congratulations. Neither were put-out that it was a whole big HR production, and I think my main advisor in particular is glad that someone else will come and take care of informing lab. His read was that the lab should be totally fine.
My main advisor spontaneously thanked me for waiting until we were through these recent deadlines, so even though waiting was hard, I’m glad I made that call. He also found the one typo in my letter (which I found last night, and knew he would catch, and debated whether to send a revision to HR…).
There are still about a million people to tell, and I won’t be all the way out at work until next week. Then there will be another wave of coming out to slightly more distant colleagues, many of whom I will see in a couple weeks. But I feel like I’m on the downhill now. If I have support from these two advisors, then everything else should fall into place.
Even though working with HR to structure all of this sometimes felt like overkill, I’m actually really glad for the direct institutional support, and for people calmer than I am who have seen this all before to take the first hit of talking to people.
Now I get to be one of those guys who tells those who come behind me that it really will work out. I can’t even count the number of people, trans and otherwise, who reassured me it would be OK and really would get better. I mostly didn’t believe them, but I still needed to hear it.