Trans Man’s Supportive Workplace “Was Just Life-Changing For Me.”

by danny terrero

My name is Danny Terrero and I’m from Bronx, New York.

In 2012, I decided to begin my physical transition from female to male. I was very scared. I was in a very conservative school and that was already very difficult. So, to take this next step, I was asked, “Can’t you just wait till you graduate?” I was graduating in 6 months. But personally I don’t feel like I could wait. At that time, I felt very ready.

My school just never really took the steps to inform other people or even talk to me about it, like, “Hey, do you need support and talking to your professors?” So when I was going to class, a lot of people, you know, were just misgendering me.

I walked into my investment analysis class, and I remember I got dressed up, I was presenting as male. I felt really, really good. I was passing from people that really didn’t know me. When I entered the class, the professor greeted me and called me by my birth name and I just remembered feeling kinda defeated. I felt that, in that moment, I didn’t get the right support. My transition was never communicated forward, which kind of showed me that the school just didn’t really take it seriously or they didn’t want to deal with it because it was too difficult.

One thing I wanted to do was change my name, so when I graduated my new name would be said across the stage and all my friends were excited for that. I was advised not to change my name because it would affect my financial aid. I actually have friends that have changed their names and it didn’t while they were in school. Even after changing my name, I realize, I’m like, well it wouldn’t affect it at all. Once I learned about the process, I was just told not to do it because, I don’t know if they didn’t want to deal with that.

My senior year at all I had already a position with the Target corporation and I was starting that July. As soon as I graduated and I received my diploma or my degree was confirmed, I changed my name legally. I was starting Target sometime mid-July. I remember emailing the HR business partner at the time who was aware of my transition and told me that Target could accommodate my transition without a problem, she – I told her, “Hey, I legally changed my name,” and they rushed to get all of my paperwork done. So I had to refill W-2s, W-4s, I had a folder with updated documents. They changed my email address, they changed so much paperwork in a matter of days just so I can be comfortable when I get to work.

So, one thing, when I was at Target, I was suppose to be at one store but it was my intern store, and I wanted a fresh start. And the HR team was trying to give me some time to see if I felt comfortable, so I actually floated across different stores for awhile. I was in one store for a little bit and the manager actually miswrote my name on schedule. He put “Danielle” by mistake and I think it was just, it was an error, but I remember feeling really upset about it. One of my coworkers pointed out the issue and he came up to me the very next day.

He was very apologetic like, you know, “We’re really, really sorry. You know, we don’t really stand for making you uncomfortable.” He was just very apologetic and just kind of like, “This does not happen here and we apologize that I made you feel uncomfortable. You know, it was an honest mistake.” In the moment, it didn’t feel great but it actually, you know, afterwards, I appreciated his accountability and just apologizing and us being able to move forward.

I felt like my experience at school was a bit insulting. Like, I had given so much to the school, not only monetarily but just my own energy. I really feel like I put my heart in it, and then the last six months is what I mostly remember. My experience at Target just made – was just life-changing for me. It made me so I was able to just live. I was in the early stages of my transition, but no one made me feel like I was an outcast. I was just one of the managers, one of the guys, like “Hey, you want to order lunch today?” “Yeah, sure.” It’s no big deal.

Being in a supportive environment, I was just able to be myself. I gained confidence and I was just able to learn so much about myself in different aspects of my personal life, I feel like being around people and transitioning just made me feel comfortable and that was able to just be just life-changing for me.

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