We are building a workplace where our people can thrive, but they can only do so if they feel able to be their true selves. As we continue to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community during Pride Month 2021, we hear from Jill Wuyts who found the support she needed to become her real self.
Coming out as transgender woman at work was hard. I didn’t know how to act, how the people around me would react, or how it would affect relationships with my colleagues; there were so many questions and unknowns. During my transition, however, there was a moment when I couldn’t keep quiet any longer.
It was the first time the Sanofi team in Belgium had faced this situation. As soon as people knew, I immediately felt so much good will from everybody, especially my close colleagues and management; everyone was ready to help me become the person I wanted to be. Coming out in Sanofi ended up being so much easier than I had imagined. I haven’t received a single negative comment about being transgender.
I was so happy everyone finally knew, but I hadn’t realized how many practical issues we had to solve during my transition.
One of the main challenges was the use of my old name, also known as the death name. Everyone tried to use my new name, but still seeing it on every document was harder than I could have imagined. With some research and procedural changes, my old name slowly disappeared out of my life, and I even changed my initials.
There was also knowing which bathroom to use. After being on hormone treatment for a while, the male bathrooms became an increasingly weird place for me to be, so we made everyone aware of what was going on during a transition period, and in a few weeks I was able to use the female bathroom.
I am writing this story one week after my surgery. I’m back at work and happy to be in the place where I finally became the person I know I was always meant to be.