If only all stories of transition turned out this way...
An article in Massachusetts's Worcester Telegram tells the story of Brianna Bonin, a 54 year-old transwoman who is a night custodian at Clara Barton Elementary School. The article is about the acceptance and support Brianna is finding at work from both the school administration and coworkers as she begins her transition. Parents of the students at the school will be receiving a letter from both Ernest L. Boss, superintendent of schools, and Principal Norman P. Yvon, explaining Brianna's transition. Said Boss:
We alerted parents to make it easier on them. It's her life. We won't tolerate prejudice. We teach our kids understanding and tolerance.
The letter to parents will read:
Our night custodian has informed us of his decision to change his gender and, as we begin the school year, he will begin living and working as a woman. He has been a valued employee of the Oxford Public Schools for many years, and we expect his exemplary performance to continue as he changes gender roles.
Brianna said she was terrified that by transitioning she would lose her job, but has instead found support from the community and the school administration. She already had difficulties with her family when she began her transition. Her wife is divorcing her and her son has had issues with her transition. Her daughter, however, has been supportive. The difficulties with her family make the support of her coworkers even more important. As one of her fellow custodians, Stephen S. Anderson said,
I think it's fantastic. Whatever makes her happy makes me happy...
It is a wonderful story of workplace support that is too often not the case for transgender workers, who have little or no protection from firing or employment discrimination. Perhaps Brianna speaks about the weight lifted off of her shoulders best as she encourages other transpeople to be themselves:
It can be scary, but be yourself. You don't have to suffer. I suffered -- so did people around me. I was frustrated. Now, I'm so happy. I feel fantastic. I'm happier than I've ever been.