January 9, 2008
Jet Blue 498 to Boston
Work proceeds pretty much as normal. Interestingly, it’s normal seemingly not just for me, but for the people who I work with. I had two interesting interchanges today at work that really pointed this out to me. I went over for a meeting with one of the senior tech leaders in the company, and after the meeting, I was talking to his technical assistant (TA in MS-Speak), and she was asking me how it was going since I was back. I told her it was going really well, but sometimes people weren’t sure what they should call me (I was thinking that they wouldn’t know because even though they had “heard” they may not have remembered what my new name is – I don’t think that EVERYONE at Microsoft plows through my blog blather on a regular basis). She gave me this look like “DUH!” and said “Uh, Megan?!” I took this as a super sweet comment, in that for her, it was clear that I am in fact, “Megan” and to think otherwise is non-sensical.
Later in the day, I had a meeting with the human relations person who supports my team in Redmond (there’s someone else who supports the team in Boston (technically Cambridge… just for clarity – there is a difference!) and she was talking to someone else who was an avid reader of this space who said:
“Wow, you are supporting Meg [Ed. Not a nickname I expected, but hey, whatever works] Wallent? That must be exciting!”
Her reaction: “No, not really. It’s just like supporting any other GM here.”
Again, I took this as a really clear sign of how normalized and accepted my transition has become at Microsoft. I’ve talked to a few co-workers and friends about that, and the reaction is pretty universal – both that the culture here is much more open than you would expect, and in general the public reaction to me (Crappy Look Counter at 6 still) restores faith about the overall state of the general public and acceptance. Maybe I was overly cynical, but I did expect if I was “read as male dressed female” that I would have issues. I haven’t.
On the topic of “Things Might Be Getting Better”, we were having a conversation with the big kiddos tonight about the New Hampshire primaries. When we picked them up from school, there weren’t any results yet, but Peri was VERY interested to see how Hillary Clinton was doing. Finally, when we heard to results that Clinton won, and Obama was a close second, Peri was thrilled. I don’t think she gets the overall primary system and was it means, but she gets that it has something to do with being President, and its important. She’s super interested to know when she can vote for real. After learning about the results, Peri said: “Well, a girl should get to be president FOR ONCE at least. All the other presidents have been boys you know.” (She had to learn all the US Presidents by heart last year in school).
Anh said to her: “That’s true; she would be the first female President if she got elected. But, might be even more historic if Obama was elected, since he’s African-American.”
Peri says: “Why does that matter?”
Us: “Well, No African American has even come close to getting elected as President before.”
Peri (incredulous) “That’s CRAZY. Why would that matter? Who would care about THAT?”
I said: “Well Peri, up until just before I was born, there weren’t laws in the whole country that guaranteed the same rights for all people, no matter what color their skin was, or where they came from.”
This dialog continued for a few more minutes, with Peri being JUST FLABBERGASTED that anyone would care about something as irrelevant as skin color.
Peri then said a couple of funny things. First “Well, I would NOT want to be President because I would NOT want to be famous. I wouldn’t want anyone who I don’t know to know me.”
I kind of smiled, there was a pause, and Anh said to Peri and John both “Well, in a way, you both are known by people who don’t really know you because Daddy [Ed. They still call me Daddy as documented previously, and we support that 100%] writes about stuff that we do as a family, and people read about it.”
Peri thought about this for a second, and said “Oh, like you posting a picture of Sculpey Samwich, and people thinking that was cool?” Answering her own question: “Well, that is pretty cool, I like that! Maybe that would be ok then…”
(As a note, Peri and John are not yet allowed to read this blog, but I do tell them about stories that I post about them. I did get a few nice comments about Peri’s Sculpey Samwich, and I let her read those. I’m sure someday when they are older and ready, I’ll give them the whole archive if they are so inclined.)
Peri then added: “Well, I wouldn’t want to be President because the White House is just too Big. It would take me four years just to find out where all the rooms were!” Always interesting to see a kid’s perspective on the world….
Right now, Anh, Samwich and I are currently on our way to Boston where part of my team is. This is our second (and a half) trip since my transition, and again, our ventures through the airport with TSA have been total non-events.
Anh made an interesting observation/question as we were getting on the plane tonight – “Does the fact that we travel as a family make it less likely that anyone would give you [Megan] a hard time?”
This is an interesting question. I haven’t yet flown solo, but I’m sure I will over the upcoming weeks. Boston will be our fourth city visited post transition (San Francisco, Seattle, Las Vegas were the others). I’m very interested to see if there’s a difference in the reaction to me and us as a family (more out and about than at work) once we get there and I’m working there for a few days.