This one goes out to all the Lindsays and Samanthas out there.
Imagine for a second you’re me, and you’re walking into the cafeteria of the new middle school in the new town that you just moved to mid-semester. In a larger school, you might have gone unnoticed, but this was a 2A school with no more than 300 students spread across 4 different grade levels. At that time, there was no such thing as going unnoticed. Nightmare fuel, right? Now add in a dash of teenage hormones, an awkward love for Keanu Reeves, and a sprinkling of effeminate behaviors. Who am I kidding? It wasn’t a sprinkle. It was a deluge.
Before you continue reading…
*It’s important for me to provide some context into my backstory. I was assigned male at birth (AMAB) & transitioned to female in my mid-twenties. Today I use the She/Her pronouns, but prior to transitioning, I Identified as a male and used He/Him pronouns. I may switch between pronoun usage to refer to myself in the context of the time in my life that I’m speaking about.*
As far as I can remember, social situations with other boys my age were awkward to say the least. It was hard for me to understand why the people I looked most like were the same ones who I felt most detached from, not to mention I hated sports and despised when we were split into the girls’ group and boys’ group in P.E. class. That’s why I hit the jackpot when two girls noticed my panicked face staring into the crowded lunchroom and called me over to sit at their table.
Even though I didn’t officially come out of the closet until high school, I had already heard the rumors about what other boys thought of me. Lindsay and Samantha never cared about those rumors, and they were the same people who fought in my corner when my sexuality & gender came into question. Those two girls didn’t know it at the time, but they were giving me the opportunity to have normal life experience. What could have been a disastrous middle school affair was instead filled with extracurricular activities, birthday sleepovers, and the dreaded 3-way phone call attack. If you’re not familiar with that last thing, look it up. The 90’s and early 2000’s were full of them.
Proud at Boundless
When I think about when I started my new job at Boundless, I remember feeling similarly to how I felt when I started middle school two decades earlier. On top of all the normal anxieties that come with joining a new company, I was now entering the workforce as a Transgender woman, which had its own set of concerns. Will I be judged for my low voice? Would I be taken seriously in my role as I learned to walk in heels that were too high for an office setting? Is Keanu Reeves going to sign on to do the third Bill and Ted movie? Spoiler alert: He did make the movie, and it was glorious. Honestly, all of those concerns melted away within minutes of meeting my coworkers and new management team.
I immediately learned that Boundless has a history of marching in Austin’s annual Pride Parade, where we hold vibrant rainbow flags high above our heads. Additionally, our DI&B Committee is an excellent example of Boundless doing its best to let every employee feel heard. It is really a grassroots organization started by employees for employees. We meet and learn about social issues, including the history of Pride and what LGBTQ+ people have been fighting for for decades.
"I couldn’t be more proud to work for a company that takes time to celebrate the differences and passions of its employees."
All of the parades and meetings are great, but what makes Boundless unique and an amazing place for LGBTQ+ employees is that it’s full of Lindsays and Samanthas. Hear me out: Though my coworkers may not be 11 year old girls, I feel the same spirit in all of them. Whether it’s processing orders, spearheading marketing campaigns, or having the opportunity to manage my own team, I am surrounded by people who make me feel like there is always someone in my corner. I have the chance to experience life the way that I deserve to experience it — without judgment and without fear.
Be Bold. Be Proud.
Boundless is paving the way when it comes to implementing new technologies and finding the best salespeople with courage to think outside the box. But the thing that makes me proud of Boundless most of all is the people that work within it. They have the courage and strength to treat me as their equal, and that’s all any outsider could hope for. Unfortunately, not all trans women get the same treatment as I did. I recognize how lucky I am for that.
For me, this is what Pride is. It’s not just about celebrating people like me. It’s also about celebrating those who stood by me while I was confused and trying to figure things out. Everyone has a different story with different characters, but the theme remains the same. If you’ve ever felt like an outcast and spent half of your life searching for your tribe, Pride Month is the time for you to shine regardless of sexual orientation or gender.
And what if you’ve never felt like an outcast? Then you might be the Lindsay or Samantha to someone else in your life. I celebrate you too because, if you weren’t around, my world would not be filled with all the vibrant and “sickening” colors of the rainbow.