by Melanie Brown
Copyright © 2016 Melanie Brown
Andy thought he found an easy way to save his job.
Sonny slapped my leg as he stepped into my cubicle and said, “Better not let the boss see you will your legs up on the desk! He’s on the warpath again.”
I put my feet down and sighed. I said, “He’s always on the warpath. What bug is up his butt this time?”
Sonny laughed without humor and said, “He thinks we’re over staffed again. We’re barely hitting our numbers now. If he trims the staff again, I don’t know what we’re going to do.”
I shrugged and said, “I say miss the month. As long as we keep making the numbers, he’s never going to know, you know?”
Nodding, Sonny said, “That’s true.”
Frowning, I said, “But what irks me, is that people like Lonnie down in Design don’t do shit and they’re never cut. I’ve been close to being let go twice so far this year.”
Sonny smirked and said, “That’s because Lonnie’s gay.”
Frowning again, I said, “What’s that got to do with anything? The problem is that he doesn’t know his job, not who he dates.”
Sonny smiled and as he leaned against my cubicle wall, he said, “But that’s where you’re wrong, buddy boy. The problem is that Lonnie isn’t really gay. Have you not heard of that new law that went into effect last month?”
“What law is that?” I asked.
Sonny looked like he was thinking as he waved his hand around in a circle and said, “It’s a minority protection act or something. Except for extreme circumstances, it’s next to impossible for a member of the protected classes to get canned. You go to H.R. and declare you’re a protected minority and voila! The result is gold bricks like Lonnie who take advantage of the law. What’s funny is that some groups representing these protected classes are opposed to the law because it suggests that if you’re gay or a woman you’re somehow less capable, instead of just a stronger anti-discrimination law, which is what they wanted. It’s backfired in so many ways. Companies are now hesitant to hire anyone with a declared protection because people are applying for jobs they know they can’t do because they know they now can’t be fired when they don’t do them. It’s a mess and will probably go to the Supreme Court.”
“But that’s it, right?” I asked. “You just say you’re gay and you’re protected? Just like that?”
Nodding, Sonny said, “Just like that. For some things I think they require some kind of proof. I don’t think gay has one. I mean, how do you prove you’re gay? I know several straight friends who registered with their companies as gay just for the added protection. But they don’t act gay or anything.”
I laughed and said, “Neither does Lonnie! You’re serious that he registered as gay with H.R. just to be in a protected class?”
Sonny laughed and said, “Yep. It seems to be working for him. Yeah, it’s cheating, but in a way that law is encouraging people to lie. Jobs are extremely hard to come by these days as you are very aware. So. Ready to come out of the closet?”
I said, “Are you going to do this? I’d feel funny doing that. Saying I was gay when I’m not. Even if it does save my job, stuff like that tends to stick.”
Sonny laughed again and said, “Dork. You don’t have to tell anyone! Only management will see it and they’re not allowed to repeat it. Just don’t act suspicious and hit on women at work. As for me, I’m pretty secure in my position. They can’t easily replace me.”
“So you’re saying I should register as being gay?” I asked, not really liking the idea.
“That’s up to you. The job market really sucks right now. And not just in this city,” said Sonny. “You’ve said yourself that you don’t have warm fuzzies about your job. Right now, I’d say all’s fair in trying to keep your job.”
“If you register, it’s just with this company, right?” I asked. I must be crazy for even thinking of doing this.
Sonny shook his head and said, “No. You register at H.R. They file it with the Feds. That’s the bad part. It follows you where ever you go.”
Sonny looked over his shoulder for a moment. He said, “Hey, check this out.”
I stood up and looked over the sea of cubicle walls. I saw two of the security guys walk into Bill’s cubicle. They talked low, but I could still hear one of them say, “Get your personal items. You have to leave the premises immediately.”
With a cry in his voice, Bill said, “I’m being fired? Why? What am I going to do?”
One of the security guys said, “We’re just here to escort you out of the building.”
Sonny looked over at me and shrugged.
I said, “I’m going over to H.R.”
“Hey Sandra,” I said as I approached the reception desk in H.R. I’ve known Sandra for a while. Even before I worked here. She sometimes gives me information that she probably shouldn’t.
Sandra looked up from the magazine she was perusing and said, “Oh, hey Andy. Haven’t seen you in a while. What’s up?”
Looking sheepish and feeling like a jerk, I said, “Do you have any of those Federal forms to register as a minority?”
Sandra gave me an odd look and said, “You’re gay? I mean, you tried to date me back in high school.”
With an embarrassed smile, I said, “No. I’m not gay. I can trust you, right?”
Shrugging, Sandra said, “Sure Andy. I guess so.” Her eyes narrowed at me as she said, “So why do you want a registration form?”
I stepped closer to her desk and lowered my voice. I said, “I think I’m going to get caught in the next round of lay-offs. I’m just trying to boost my chances of keeping my job.”
Tsk, tsking and shaking her head, Sandra said, “You know lying on these forms is a federal offense, right? And this registration isn’t just for us. It’s nation-wide. The government will have you on file as being gay for the rest of your life.”
“I know. I know,” I said. “This is just temporary. I can de-register, right?”
Nodding, Sandra said, “Yes. Once. And you can’t register again after renouncing it.”
I dismissed the comment with a wave of my hand and said, “That’s not a problem. Once I’m no longer in danger, I won’t want to be listed as gay anyway. And what does it matter anyway? They’re not going to check on my personal life.”
Sandra said, “Well, there are different benefits, different insurance options, different tax plans. It’ll be a red flag if you married and your partner wasn’t male. That kind of stuff.”
Getting nervous standing there, I said, “It’ll never be a problem. Like I said, I’ll just de-register later. It’s not like I’m getting married any time soon. Just hand me the gay form, okay?”
Frowning, Sandra said, “I shouldn’t do this since I know you’re not gay and there are already cases of fraud being found. But okay. Let me get you the form. It’s the same form. You just check the appropriate box and if you want to be called by a new name. Crap like that.”
Sandra disappeared back in the bowels of H.R. for a few minutes. She returned with the requested form and held it out to me.
“Fill this out and bring it back here for me to send to the government,” said Sandra. She then added, “Oh. Something to consider. I overheard the H.R. director telling another manager that they have gone over the one hundred percent of the federal quota for gay employees. Being registered as gay won’t necessarily protect you from being laid off now.”
Shocked, I said, “Well shit. What other choices are there?”
Looking at the form, Sandra said, “There are several others, but I don’t think you could pull them off.”
“Try me,” I said getting frustrated.
Sandra looked at me and then down at the list. She said, “Are you female?”
“Are you African American?”
“Are you Native American, including Eskimo?”
“No… hey wait,” I said. “That’s the same as gay, right? I mean it’s not like I have to wear a dress or date guys, right?”
Sandra wrinkled her nose and said, “You want to claim to be a woman trapped in a man’s body?”
I said, “Is the quota for that category full?”
Sandra looked at her computer for a moment and said, “We have three so far. So no. It’s not full.”
I grinned and reached for the form. I said, “I’ll take that one then. Any port in a storm, right?”
As she handed me the form, Sandra said, “That category comes with a rider though. The government requires members of this group to have counseling.”
I hesitated taking the form and said with a frown, “Why just that one?”
Sandra shrugged and said, “Since the insurance will pay for your transition, the government wants you to be sure this is what you want before you have body altering surgery.”
“Fuck that,” I said. “I don’t have time for a counselor and in any event, I’m not going to change anything. Hopefully in six months, the economy will have turned around and I can de-register. Maybe I’ll go with claiming to be black instead.”
Sandra laughed and said, “Even if you lived in a tanning booth, Andy, no one will ever believe you’re African American.”
Frowning, I said, “That’s racist. And you don’t have to be black to claim it. Hand me the form.”
Sandra checked her computer and said, “Well. That category is full as well. Oh wow. They’re all full except for the transgendered category. It looks like most of the people working here are members of some political minority. Or at least claiming to be.”
Scowling, I said, “Those rat-bastards! They all had the same idea!”
Sandra said, “You can choose any of the categories, but only one will actually protect you from being canned. At least for now.”
I said, “How often do you have to see a counselor?”
Sandra bit her lower lip and said, “It says here, at least once per month. Other times at the counselor’s discretion.”
More pissed than anything else, I gestured to Sandra to hand me the form. I said, “Fine. Just give me the damned form.”
Laughing, Sonny said, “You did what?”
Frowning, I said, “You heard me. I’m now legally transgendered.”
Leaning on my cubicle wall, Sonny grinned and said, “So when do you start wearing dresses?”
“I don’t,” I said. “I can just play the game until things turn around. This was the only way I get to stay employed until that happens. It was the only category left.” I thought a moment about how quickly the field had narrowed. I said, “How long have you known about this registration thing?”
Shrugging, Sonny said, “I heard about it a week ago. Why?”
I threw a paperclip at Sonny and said, “You asshole. I could have gotten gay or Eskimo or something other than transgendered!”
Tossing the paperclip back, Sonny said, “What? I did you a favor, man. If you’d signed up as gay, you’d be right back where you were… about to get canned.”
“That’s true, I guess,” I said. I leaned back in my chair, putting my hands behind my head. I said, “Still. How hard can it be to cheat at this whole tranny business?”
“A tranny, huh?”
I looked up from my computer monitor to see my supervisor, Bob, standing in the entrance of my cubicle. I grinned at him as I leaned back in my chair. I said, “That’s right, Chief. I’m now protected. Cool, huh?”
Shaking his head, Bob said, “It won’t protect you forever. So when do we start to see those cute legs of yours, eh?”
“That’s sexist,” I said. “Besides. I don’t remember seeing on the form any mandates that one must start wearing the accoutrements of your chosen category.”
Bob grinned broadly and said, “Accoutrements? That’s more than two syllables. I’m impressed. But about your clothes. Are you sure? Did you read the small print on the back?”
I leaned forward in my chair and said, “There was a back to the form?”
Bob nodded smugly. He said, “It says that all reasonable efforts must be made to display the affectations of your registered category.”
I stood up to stare straight at Bob and said, “That’s not fair! None of those other categories have a special way to dress for work!”
Bob leaned on the cubicle wall and said, “Well, registering as female does. Same as you trannies. Phil down in Marketing thought it’d be funny to register as female. He came to work wearing a jacket and tie along with a miniskirt and gym socks. The women in Marketing threw a fit, charged him with gender appropriation and made his life hell until he quit. You might be in for the same treatment.”
I shook my head and as I sat back down said, “I don’t think so. Sounds like Phil was making it a joke and not taking his new gender seriously.”
“Are you kidding?” chuckled Bob. “Of course he wasn’t taking it seriously. He’s bald and been sporting a beard since he retired from the Navy ten years ago. He was like you. Selecting a minority category to try to save his job.”
I stood up again and said, “I resent that! I’m finally getting in touch with my feminine side.”
Bob covered his mouth as if he was sneezing and sneezed, “Bullshit!” He looked seriously at me and said, “Resent all you want. You and I both know why you’re doing this. I know a twink when I see one and you ain’t one.” He laughed and started to walk away.
Bob stopped, turned back to my cubicle and said, “Oh. And per company policy, come Monday, you will no longer be allowed to use the men’s room. Have fun with that.”
I frowned and said, “You’re kidding.” Bob shook his head and I said, “Well, five floors down there are gender neutral restrooms.” He laughed and said, “Good luck!”
I plopped back into my seat. What a disaster. I’m actually going to be expected to dress and act like a woman?
Lost in thought, I jumped when the phone rang. Without much interest, I picked up the receiver and said, “Andy here.”
“Andy!” said a slightly mannish woman’s voice. “How are you today?”
I had no idea who I was talking to and I was miffed at the familiarity being used by a total stranger. Slightly irritated, I said, “I’m doing good. And who am I talking to?”
“Oh! Forgive my manners. My name is Carla Mason. I’m your new mentor. I’m affiliated with Dr. Bullock.”
“Dr. Bollocks?” I said, getting ready to hang up the phone. “I don’t know who he is or why I need a mentor.”
Carla laughed and said, “It’s Dr. BULLock and he’s a she. She’s the therapist your insurance has assigned to you to guide you on your journey to womanhood. I’m not a doctor, but I have completed my transition and I offer my assistance to her. Especially with new patients.”
“A therapist?” I said with surprise in my voice.
Carla said, “Of course! To help make your transition a success, having guidance is crucial. And you can’t get your documents changed to indicate your new gender unless you’re under the care of a licensed professional.”
Sounding more nervous than I wanted to, I said, “I’m not sure if I want to get anything cut off right away.”
Laughing, Carla said, “Plenty of transwomen elect to not get the surgery. And I’m sure you know they don’t actually cut anything off. Besides, you have to live as a woman for a full year before surgery can be recommended.”
Feeling relieved, I said, “That’s good to know. You certainly don’t want to rush into these kinds of things.”
“No you don’t,” said Carla seriously. “Which brings me to the reason I called. Every Friday evening, a bunch of Dr. Bullock’s patients have an informal group session and discuss any problems we may be facing, or any success stories. That kind of thing.”
“I have to go?” I said, wishing I had never listened to Sonny.
“Oh, you’re never required to come to our little get-togethers. But I highly recommend it. Your peers share their experiences. You can get tips on clothes and make-up. And just being with kindred spirits is invaluable,” said Carla as if she’d said this many times. I didn’t doubt her sincerity, but I could tell she’d said this same spiel a lot.
Several cubicles down from me, I heard coming over the walls, “What? Are you serious? I’ve been with this company twenty years! And you do this to me?”
I took a deep breath, sighed and said, “What time Friday and where are we meeting?”
I stepped inside the bar and grill where Carla said her group was meeting. I was a few minutes late. I wanted to get a good look at this group before making myself known. Carla had said I didn’t have to show up dressed as a woman the first few times, but she hoped I would later as I progressed.
The interior of the bar and grill was a bit dark and there was more than one noisy group of people. And then I spotted the noisiest group of all gathered around the front window. I had entered the building on the other side of the door from the window so I didn’t see them. I would have thought they’d hide or something, but they didn’t. I took a deep breath, squared my shoulders and quickly walked towards the noisy group.
As I neared them, several looked up at me and I could tell something was being said. I had no idea which one was Carla. Scanning their faces, I have to admit I was surprised. Several were what you’d definitely call pretty. If I didn’t know I was looking at just a bunch of guys dressed as girls, I would have sworn some were actual females. And one was, I’m sorry, just plain pathetic. The make-up he wore just emphasized his own maleness and it didn’t help that his wig was on crooked. God, I hoped it was a wig. Not really being a part of this group, I couldn’t imagine what would drive someone like him to believe he’s female.
An attractive thirty-something black woman stood up and with a cheery grin, turned to face me. She said, “You must be Andy! Welcome! Come sit down with us. Don’t be shy. As you may have guessed, I’m Carla.” She pulled a chair from the table that was next to her. Carla was one of the group that at first glance I would have taken as an actual woman.
As I took the offered seat, Carla started going around the table with introductions. She pointed to Miss Pathetic first and said, “This is Gwendolyn. She’s leaving town tomorrow morning to get her surgery! That’s right everyone. She’s made the big decision. After living for over a year as a woman, she’s decided it’s the right choice for her.” A chorus of congratulations went around the table.
Gwendolyn turned to me and smiled brightly and said, “It’s so nice to meet you, Andy! I’m glad you’re joining our group! Carla is wonderful and everyone here is so supportive of each other. I’m sure you’ll fit right in.”
I smiled weakly at Gwendolyn and said, “Thanks.” After greeting me so nicely, I felt a bit like a jerk for making fun of him… er her, even if I’m the only one who knew it. I’m going to have a tough time with these pronouns.
Carla smiled then pointed to the next person and said, “This is Helen. She joined our group just last week.” Helen looked exactly what he was. A man wearing too much make-up and a dress that didn’t fit well. If I had to guess, he wasn’t a tranny until he too, registered as one. My God. This is how pathetic I’m going to look in the next few weeks.
Pointing to the next person, Carla said, “This is Yvonne. She’s six months into her RLT.” Yvonne gave me a very sensual smile. I grinned back at her. I knew intellectually that Yvonne had a penis and was still technically male. But holy shit she was a knockout. If I didn’t know better, I’d try to hit on her. I might hit on her anyway…
Continuing with the introductions, Carla inclined her head to the next person (I just can’t bring myself to refer to these men as girls). She said, “This is Stacy. We’re trying to build her confidence. She’s unsure if she wants to actually become a woman or just enjoy dressing as one. That’s fine.”
Pointing at the last person, Carla said, “And last but not least, is Rhonda. She started her RLT just two weeks ago. She’s doing wonderful so far.”
Sitting down and turning towards me, Carla said, “Except for three others who couldn’t make it today, this is out little group. We’re all like sisters and we all count on each other for support and confidence building.”
I gave Carla a weak smile and said, “Nice group of folks.” I looked slowly around at the faces of these social outcasts and misfits. Now that I’ve seen these trannies up close and personal, I honestly can’t imagine how any man could voluntarily surrender his manhood and have his cock cut off. It has to be a mental illness. I mean, these people are batshit crazy.
“Do you have any questions?” asked Carla. “Feel free to ask anything. That’s why we’re here.”
“You’ve said, ‘RLT’ a couple of times,” I said, genuinely curious. “What does that mean?”
Carla smiled and said, “Dr. Bullock will cover this in greater detail, but basically it means Real Life Test. You must live as a woman, or a man if that’s how you identify, for a year before you can get the surgery. It’s so you know if you can actually handle it.”
Feeling confused, I said, “Living as a man?”
Smiling again, Carla said, “Women who are transitioning to being male. So, Andy. Tell us about yourself. You don’t have to give us your whole life’s history. We just want to know a little bit about who Andy is.”
Oh shit. I’m not really ready to talk about me. I was going to research how to convince a therapist I’m a trannie this weekend. The more I look at these people, the less I want to go through with this. What did I see on Maury Povich that one day?
I said, “Well, my name is Andy. I work in Central Planning at RawrTech just a few blocks from here. I’ve been there two years. My boss hates me, but then he hates everyone. I was born in McCamey, Texas and managed to escape there by going to Angelo State. I have a motorcycle and I like computer games and anime.”
Carla nodded and said, “And when did you realize you were transgendered?”
Ah, crap. About two days ago? I said, “Ever since I can remember. I didn’t know what it was at first. I just knew I was different.”
In her rather deep voice, Gwendolyn said, “Do you have a girls name?”
Think fast, boy. Andy…Andy…um…Andrea? That should work. I smiled and said, “Andrea.”
Carla smiled and said, “That’s a pretty name, Andrea! Say good-bye to Andy and hello to Andrea!”
There was a sudden chorus around the table of “Hi Andrea!”
I smiled weakly and gave a half-hearted wave. “Thanks.”
A waitress then came by and everyone ordered something to eat. I ordered wings and the rest of the evening just devolved into idle chatter and occasional fits of giggling. Not by me, mind you.
When the meal and the meeting was apparently over and we all stood up to go our separate ways, Carla extended her hand again and gave me a rather wimpy handshake. Smiling brightly, she said, “Thanks so much for coming tonight, Andrea. I know some people find being around other t-girls for the first time to be a bit uncomfortable. Others are excited to finally be around kindred spirits. I hope to see a bit more Andrea next time.” She then leaned in and hugged me. After a moment of hesitation, I hugged her back.
In my usual non-committal way I said, “Maybe.”
As she started to walk towards the exit, Carla said, “Dr. Bullock’s office will probably call next week with your appointment. Again, it was really great to meet you, Andrea. Take care.”
I just stood there and watched Carla leave. I heaved a heavy sigh and said aloud, “Oh my God. Just what the fuck have I gotten myself into?”
If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudos!
Click the Thumbs Up! button below to leave the author a kudos:
And please, remember to comment, too! Thanks.