A little over a year ago, I came out as non-binary. It was a big day. I remember calling all of my friends and preparing them. I think I used coming out like a deadline. I had to put a little pressure on so I would just say it. I could say the words that made me so scared. You can read that here. It’s all my coming out stories in one.
I am trans and today I have been on testosterone for 1 year. *deep exhale*
No, I’m still here. It’s just that usually I try to tell some story to illustrate a point. Not this week. I can’t build up the moment for you because you have no idea how this has been building up for me. The fear. The panic.
I didn’t want to tell anyone. In fact, I’ve had this conversation about coming out with a few friends recently. They know that as of yesterday, I had 0 interest in telling any of you. Why? Well, most people misunderstand what trans means, for one thing. Trans doesn’t just mean moving to another binary, it means lack of alignment with the one assigned at birth. It’s personal. It’s a constant discovery. Not something I necessarily wanted to write about in a blog and send to a couple thousand people.
Then, I had an experience last week that reminded me I can’t just sit here and wait for things to get better. Change doesn’t happen without energy like I wrote about in last week’s letter.
I recently switched my insurance and primary care doctor. My new doctor is the trans healthcare advocate for my region. Amazing, I thought. I even tweeted about how cool it was to have someone actually ask my pronouns in a medical setting. Then I asked him to fill my prescription.
I’ve been to the pharmacy 4 times now and I still don’t have my testosterone prescription. First, because he didn’t order it correctly. I just had a pile of testosterone with no way to administer my medication. Then, when he did give me the needles, he didn’t give me the right size. If I had used these needles, I could have hurt myself. Badly. We exchanged emails. Every single time I went to the pharmacy, there was a mistake I waited hours to have corrected – each time to leave empty handed because he never called back.
Remember, my doctor is THE trans advocate. Who else am I supposed to contact for more affirming care?
After this last visit, my anger evolved into sadness. Healthcare should be a standard of humanity. It’s a precursor to a world of work where people can exist out loud as trans. If trans people can’t be treated like humans at a doctor’s office with people who took an oath to treat people well, what hope does some corporation even have where we sign some contract that means nothing to most people? Every week, I stand in front of people and talk about this better world of work, but is it improving? Are the benefits changing? Did we stop deadnaming people in the HRIS? Do parents go home more understanding? I don’t know.
Then I woke the fuck up. Stopped wallowing in my privilege. I am insanely privileged. I work for myself. I have money. I have time to wait. I can take risks. That is not the condition most trans people, especially trans people of color, are living. Every 45 seconds an LGBT+ kid attempts suicide. It’s caused by the conditions in which they are not treated as human. The conditions in which they are not given equal access to opportunity (or healthcare). The world in which they are not appreciated and celebrated.
As I got back home and opened this document to write this letter, I just kept thinking that if I don’t speak up, it conditions the world to believe it’s all fair. It allows people to see headlines about trans kids and believe it doesn’t impact anyone they know so they shouldn’t care.
Well now you know someone. You know me. I need you to care.
I am doing this not because I want you to know, even. This isn’t really about you at all. This is about the kids who might have a chance at believing they can be anything and that they deserve more. This is about the parents who might need a reminder. This is about workplaces that care for everyone. This is about all of us using our privilege to open the door for someone else.
We’re going to start the work with a big ass coming out party.
You. Me. A bunch of friends cheers-ing and talking in the chat about what we want to do to change in our corner of the world. I’ll figure out Zoom rooms, topics, and all that shit later but we will party – queers and allies alike. It’s going down for real. You can sign up for that at the bottom of this post. I am not waiting for Pride month.
Here’s how you can celebrate with me today. Share this post with 1 person you know and invite them to happy hour. A parent. An HR leader. A queer kid. We can all learn how to be better to each other together.
As far as the nosy details I know some handful of you are wondering about – will they change their name? Will they transition into a man? Will their pronouns change?
My pronouns are still they/them and the rest of that is none of your fucking business. You do not need to know the personal details of my life to care and if you do, stop. I care about you and I don’t know anything about your life. I will not be taking (or asking) any questions about genitalia at this, or any other, time on this blog. This blog is about recruiting, not sex.
Thanks for reading.
Katrina (Kat) Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive, unbiased job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.
Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster, Care.com, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.
Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.