Trans HR: My Story

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* 

Homer Simpson Reaction GIF by reactionseditor

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. 

LGBT and Diversity Weekly Letters

Katrina Kibben View All →

Katrina Kibben is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Three Ears Media. For most of Katrina’s career, she has been a marketer living in a recruiter’s world – listening to both sides of the talent equation to understand the real issues and find solutions for engaging and hiring better people. Today, she uses her technical marketing know-how and way with words to help both established and emerging brands develop and deliver content that fuels smart recruitment marketing that makes the right people apply.

Katrina has written for Monster.com, HR.com, RecruitingDaily and many other digital publications. She is a recognized leader in recruiting and employer branding who speaks regularly at conferences around the world.

14 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Thanks for sharing and I hope your advocate gets his act together soon for others who may not be as strong as you.

  2. Kudos to you for your courage, bravery and insight to hopefully keep moving the chains of change! As a mom to a non-binary, trans child, I carry fear for my child every day. While small changes are happening, there are way more stumbling block and obstacles, as you pointed out with your access to healthcare. I’ve only seen you speak once, but I was instantly hooked. I appreciate your honesty and candor. Keep doing amazing human being work and know that you have an ally right here! <3

  3. LOVE this so much! I’m an HR Leader in the Healthcare industry, I need to do my part and ask better questions. EVERYONE deserves quality care.

  4. Thank you for sharing, KK. Sorry for the utterly shitty experience, AND thanks for using that experience as a means for the rest of us to learn. That is truly generous.

  5. Katrina, What I love most about your posts, other than the fact that you are unapologetically authentic…and I like who you are, is that I learn things. You know me. I’m a fan of expanded consciousness, and part of that I believe is simply being aware. Thank you for sharing. You are setting a great example to others.

  6. YOU ARE SO STRONG AND AMAZING!! Thank you for sharing your journey and helping all of understand that this is deeply and intensely personal. I

  7. Congratulations and you said so many things that resonate with me! Thank you deciding to share what you want about your life. I hope that you reach the hearts of people and not at the expense of your own peace of mind. Pleading with others to see the humanity in you is depleting and traumatic so I see you and thank you!

%d bloggers like this: