Genny

Spotsylvania, VA

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My name is Genny and I am 60 years old. I’ve been married for 40 years. I have four kids and thirteen grandchildren. I’m a veteran of the Marines and I have worked as an army contractor for the last 21 years. I am also a transgender woman.

 

I’ve known I was trans ever since I was a child, although in those days I didn’t have a name for it. I did what I could to suppress my feelings and do what was expected of me. I joined the Marines, got married, had kids, and kept myself busy. Still, I couldn’t shake this feeling. Finally in 2010, after years of internal battles, I contacted a support group and started going out as myself. It was mostly for short periods of time and it never felt like enough. Then in 2017, a friend convinced me to go to the Keystone Conference in Pennsylvania, which is a four day conference that brings together hundreds of transgender people. I was told that, afterward, I’d be glad to come home and put on some jeans, like living as a man would be a little easier because I had four intense days of being myself. That didn’t happen for me at all; I cried as I left because I didn’t want to have to stop being me.

 

I knew I had to be myself. I found myself meeting with a psychologist who helped me work through the feelings I had around coming out and transitioning. I came out to my wife and children and, although every step in this journey hasn’t been easy, they love and support me. I haven’t fully come out at work, but I have found some other trans people who work around me and made friends with them. I’ve also recently had to renew my security clearance and I submitted “Genny” as my name. I’m in communication with HR for the next steps.

 

I want to see nondiscrimination protections in housing, employment, and public accommodations for transgender people. I don’t want to have to think twice about going out in public with my wife and being denied service just because I’m trans. After 21 years as an expert in my field, I don’t want to have to worry that being myself is going to change someone’s willingness to work with me. Although my job has been welcoming thus far, I’m always concerned about a contract finding out I’m trans because I know they can terminate me because they don’t want to work with a transgender person. Ultimately, I believe that God doesn’t make mistakes and that I am who I am meant to be. I just want to be treated equally under the law, just like everyone else.