Friday, October 11, 2013

Moni's Coming Out Story

Been reading a lot of people's coming out stories today, so thought I would have you TransGriot readers jump into the DeLorean Time machine and take a trip back in time to my own coming out story.  

I not only came out as trans in April 1994, but the initial stages of it happened in the middle of Houston Intercontinental Airport's Terminals C and D.

It was like transitioning in the middle of a fishbowl.  At the time we had 30,000 people per day transiting that IAH hub airport, I worked the gates and I was the topic du jour on CNN (Continental News Network, Monispeak for the company gossip mill)

I handled it the only way I could by basically busting my butt at work getting my flights out on time, delivering outstanding customer service and treating people with the same dignity and respect I expected to be reciprocally treated with.. 

In between those flights, for the next three months I had Trans 101 conversations with my coworkers in my department, Maintenance, Inflight, Flight Ops, the Houston Airport Police officers I was in contact with, the support personnel who worked there and anyone else who wanted to know stuff about trans issues except the 'who am I sleeping with' question.

Some of the conversations I had with my co-workers led to some interesting revelations and insights. I had two emotional meetings during that early coming out period with Jessica Starnes, our trans pilot who was based in EWR at the time.  The other emotional one was with Gloria Villar, one of my fellow employees I worked on the gates with.  She later transferred to IAH Inflight and came out as part of the lesbian community.  I let her know at the time she came out I had her back, and now she let me know she had mine.

I  had the support of some caring coworkers and friends in the Houston community. I was challenged by Maxine Farrington, Deborah Murray-Hill, Karen Miles, several other female co-workers and my mentors to become the best person I could be. They role modeled in their own lives what they expected of me and I hope I more than exceeded their expectations. I also had many people that I looked to at IAH and elsewhere in my life for inspiration, wisdom and guidance as I embarked on this new chapter in my life.
There were also some bumps along the way and some humorous moments as I got adjusted to living life in a Black female body and all the other stuff good and bad that goes with it.

I made it through the initial nerve wracking day and eventually the week. Then I made it through the month. Then the next month.   Before I knew it an amazing year had passed and I haven't looked back.
So if I can come out as trans and transition in the middle of an international airline terminal, what's holding you back?
Many of you know the rest of the story.  I eventually became an activist in 1998, helped start a trans rights organization in 1999 called NTAC and was its first political director. 

In 2001 I became a Texan in Exile in Louisville for almost nine years, sat on the Fairness Campaign and C-FAIR boards while I was there, was the keynote speaker for the inaugural 2202 TDOR in Louisville and the 2003 edition of Louisville TDOR among other things.  I won the IFGE Trinity Award in 2006 and started some little award winning blog called TransGriot.  I was a member of the first ever all trans panels in 2012 at Netroots Nation and OUT on the Hill and was honored by BTMI in March with an advocacy award named after me. . 

I am one very happy for the most part camper who is comfortable in her skin and is enjoying her evolutionary feminine journey.  And yes, I'm still a huge sports fan. 

Now if I could just stop wandering the dating Sinai, everything would be gravy.

No comments: