Well here we are. I did it. I made a plan, stuck to it (quite proud of that) and now I’m living full-time as Amber.
It’s certainly been a tough journey, but with the help and support of friends and family I’ve made it here reasonably quickly and reasonably unscathed.
Stage 1 – coming out to boss(es)
This was a very difficult step to take, and probably the part which brought the most stress in the build up to it. Having only just started at this new job I took the opportunity to schedule a 1 month review where we could go over how I’m getting on and either side could raise any concerns. Easy enough to arrange as it makes sense to do so. I was, however, worried that I may not be able to bring myself to tell them that I am transgender. I have had trouble telling people in the past. With my family, for example, I had to write a letter as the words were just too hard to say.
I spoke to my awesome mum and she gave me a great bit of advice. She said to write out an email that you can send to your bosses after the meeting. Along the lines of ‘I wasn’t able to say it in the meeting as it can be hard to say, but I am transgender…etc’.
What fantastic advice! A gold nugget of advice if ever there was one! It worked on so many levels, I was less anxious about not being able to tell them in the meeting as I had a backup, I was also more prepared for what I wanted to say to them as writing the email helped to gather my thoughts.
In the end I managed to tell them in the meeting and they took it extremely well. They were aware that I was going to bring something up other than just the first month of work and when I told them I was transgender my director said ‘oh that’s fine, we were worried it would be something difficult’ … love it!
Stage 2 – Email to colleagues
I had arranged with my bosses to help them draft an email to the team telling them about my being transgender. It meant they didn’t have to worry about saying anything wrong unintentionally and that I was happy with what went out. This is especially important as it is the first impression they have about me being trans so it needs to be a good one.
Stage 3 – Letters to grandparents
Nerve factor – 8
Chance of tears during writing – 100%
I don’t see my grandparents as much as I would like, but I love them dearly. I had no idea how they would react to this news, but I knew it was now or never.
Traditional posted letters was the best way I felt would connect with them, plus I don’t think my Nan even has email!
The wonderful news is that both my Nan on my dad’s side and my grandparents on my mum’s side are supportive of me and still love me. Yay! I feel blessed and very lucky.
My Nan on my dads side even sent a hand-written letter in reply. She is super supportive and would like to see a photo of my new look so that she can picture ‘Amber’ to help her process the new me. So cute! She’s wonderful.
Stage 4 – Halloween! / full time party!
With work being the only place that I was not living as Amber it meant that when I left work at 5pm on Friday 28th October I was then officially full-time! I had two amazing nights out planned, one in Plymouth with the RockFit girls and one in Cornwall at the Batcave with my awesome trans support-group of besties.
Both Halloween parties and for both I had an amazing Harley Quinn costume! I loved both nights, they were amazing (my feet are still recovering though!). Thank you to everyone who made the weekend so special.
Stage 5 – Coming out on my ‘old’ Facebook account
Until this point there were a lot of my friends who had no idea of me being transgender. I grew up in Somerset, lived in London for 6 years and only moved to Plymouth a year ago. So until I wrote a status saying I was transgender many of my friends were blissfully unaware. (A massive thank you to my big sister for helping my with this).
My friends sent many lovely messages and comments with loads of support and I’ve added most of them on my Amber profile now. Thank you to every one of you who messaged, it means an awful lot to me.
Stage 6 – First day at work as Amber
The final stage! I was apprehensive, maybe a little worried. But I had no need to worry. Everyone in the office was brilliant, they named and gendered me correctly and made my return to work as female easy and showed me a wonderful acceptance. Thank you all.
I have to admit the evening of Monday 31st was an entertaining one! My friends and RockFit girls were asking how my day went, my old Facebook was lighting up with messages, new Facebook was getting requests and messages too. I was jumping between 2 internet browsers and numerous apps on my phone repeatedly, every minute there was a new notification from somewhere. It was like some kind of social media roulette!
So my plan went smoothly and I am ticking along now living, working and enjoying being the woman that is Amber Hope Evans. It makes me a little emotional still to actually say that. I’m happy. Really happy.