I asked the CEO of the company what if I came to work on Monday as Sonja

“As a software engineer, about five years ago, I joined a start-up here in Dublin with lots of young entrepreneurs. I really liked the place and the people working there. A few weeks in, there was a party where the whole company went out to a beer festival. I was already playing with the idea of starting in a company as a female, but I was never brave enough… I had created a strong relationship with one of my colleagues, I felt I could trust him, so I talked to him about the feminine part of me. We were at this beer festival and I asked him ‘if I go home now and I come back as Sonja will you introduce me?’ He said yes, so I went home and changed. On the way back in, so many thoughts were going through my head, it was crazy. My heart was pounding so hard. I was shaking and every part of my body wanted to turn back… I thought I’m already here! If I don’t do it now, I will never do it. That was the bravest decision I ever made in my whole life! They were surprised at first and thought it was some kind of a joke but when I told them about myself they were happy and they all gave me hugs. I asked the CEO of the company what if I came to work on Monday as Sonja. He said we can try to make it work, but like, we were at a beer festival so I wasn’t sure what he would think on Monday morning…”

“On Monday I was very nervous. I came to the office first, so I could greet people and introduce myself as Sonja one-by-one so they could digest it before the next colleague would come in. Everything was going surprisingly well. People from then on called me Sonja, without mistakes. I changed my email signature, my name and my photo in the system, and even HR managed to change my name on my payslip. For the first time in my life I was not wearing a mask. It was a wonderful and magical feeling. Before I came out to my girlfriend, I used to dress up secretly and spend hours in the room pretending that I had lots of work to do. She still doesn’t like me dressed up as a woman. We are together for over ten years now, we love each other but it’s not easy. At home, I’m still the ‘boyfriend’, for her, but we don’t go out together because as soon as I leave the house, I am me, Sonja!”