In the early 2010s, Tricia Russell transitioned to live everyday as the woman she has long known herself to be, after being born and raised male but expressing and feeling for years that that didn’t quite fit. Tricia transitioned while maintaining her job at Bank of America, which made her nervous, even though she understood that she worked for a supportive company. The company has a policy prohibiting anti-LGBTQ discrimination and has taken a stand for specifically transgender equality in the past few years. But even with a supportive company like hers, she knew she didn’t have city-level nondiscrimination protections, and she feared what would happen if she told her employer that she is transgender. Since then, the city of Jacksonville has passed an Equal Rights Ordinance, and Tricia’s employer has given her the support and understanding vital to living as her authentic self.
“In every way that I can think of, I am a better person for transitioning,” she said. “I’m happier, more self-confident, more effective, more authentic, more connected to the people around me. I am comfortable in my own skin today. After I transitioned I realized that I didn’t just forfeit a lot of living along the way – I also missed so many opportunities to help others, to be a resource for others like me as well as others NOT like me who could benefit from a deeper understanding of transgender people. Now, I want to work on that. Now, I’m making up for lost time.”