Celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility as an Out and Proud Trans Man.
Transgender Day of Visibility is a day dedicated to recognizing the resilience and accomplishments of the transgender community. This day means showing up and being visible, especially for those who cannot.
I am an out and proud Trans man, and I am visible because I know many cannot for fear of their physical security, work status or other considerations. I’m writing this post to help people understand what my transition process looked like with CrowdStrike and to share my story.
But first, let me say this is not a story of sadness, or one of triumph, or a tale that is in any way dramatic. This is my love letter to all of the people who took part in my growth at CrowdStrike and supported me as I became the out and proud Trans man I am. These words don’t begin to explain the impact you have all made in my heart.
Beginning the Journey
I started at CrowdStrike six months into my physical transition. While each person’s transition looks different, my journey included taking testosterone, which deepened my voice and changed my face shape. I was also still getting used to being referred to as “he” and “him” by other people.
All this is to say that when I started working at CrowdStrike, I was in the most insecure phase of my transition. I thought starting a new job would create even more stress, but much to my surprise I was welcomed with open arms by my team — the CrowdStrike Support team — from my first day. When we were on a call, and a customer or member from another team misgendered me, a team member would immediately step in and say:
”We’ll get you in touch with Ren, HE will help you.”
“HE can help.”
Being misgendered is a common and unpleasant occurrence for many trans and nonbinary people, and having someone else take the initative to correct someone takes so much pressure and stress off the misgendered person. The best part of how my team handled the situation is that I never felt spotlighted or singled out. I just felt like part of the team, a support guy solving problems and helping customers.
Being young in my transition, that kind of support really boosted my self confidence. It took a level of added stress off of me so I could get work done with less fear and anxiety.
The Big Shift
After working with the Support Team for over a year, I shifted to a role on the CrowdStrike Windows Sensor team. I was feeling more confident in my body on hormones (which was covered by CrowdStrike insurance, for those curious) but knew there were more surgeries ahead on my transition journey.
The first surgery planned (of what we thought at the time was going to be three) required three months of recovery, which created some anxiety about my job security and insurance coverage. Before even scheduling a surgery for a trans person, there can be considerable amounts of therapy involved and, in many cases, it’s necessary to “prove” to medical professionals and others that this is what is right for you before they sign off on your ability to transition medically.
Insurance is confusing, and working through the system alone is very daunting, and I am incredibly grateful for the invaluable help of CrowdStrike’s Employee Experience team. Lindsey gave me access to the right points of contact, documents and other resources that led to a successful experience with insurance and disability coverage. With her help, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that CrowdStrike insurance covered all of my surgeries.
That meant it was time to tell my manager about my plans. I was pretty nervous because I wasn’t sure how much I should disclose, how to justify three months off, or if my job would still be here after my surgeries. I was met with nothing but love and support and was told my job would be waiting for me when I was ready to return. I had three surgeries and continued to feel that support throughout.
On to the Next: UX
That brings me to the team I’m on today: the UX side of the CrowdStrike house. Between my incredible team and where I am in my transition, I have never felt so validated, seen and loved by any work family like I do at CrowdStrike.
Going through a transition, even when extremely necessary and rewarding, can be stressful and exhausting. Having a team and co-workers who supported me and never made me feel singled out has made going through the whole process and experience priceless.
That’s why I felt the need to write my love letter on Trangender Day of Visibility. I am the out and proud Trans man I am today, in part, because of the support I received from others who made my transition more manageable. I hope other managers and CrowdStrike employees see this as an example of “what to do” when you have a co-worker transitioning. For those who don’t feel seen today, I hope my story reaches you — because I know we still have a long road to go before everyone is able to be visible both at work and at home.
Got something to add? We’d like to hear about how you’re helping foster a positive and inclusive workplace environment for members of the transgender community. Sound off with tips, advice and your experiences to @CrowdStrike.