Supporting Diversity in our Profession

Alright, confession time. Part of the reason I vanished from the AO is that for the last 6 years or so, I’ve been struggling quite a bit with my identity, and exactly who I was meant to be. Everything fiber in my soul fought against 12 years of Catholic education and my parents/relations attitudes towards LGBTQ folks.

When the pandemic hit, it slowed life down for me so I could really think through some decisions and I finally made a decision in June that I was going to live the life I was meant to, and have publicly come out as transgender.

Part of the struggle was that if you google ‘transgender actuary’ — there is literally nothing out there. No stories of successfully transitioning while in this profession. No discussions of any pitfalls or issues, or even the process of making the changes needed with the societies. And I get that for many people, they try to go stealth and not call attention to themselves, especially in a traditional conservative industry like insurance. But part of my promise to myself that if I did this was that I’d try to be open about it, and that brings us to the point of this post.

If there is anyone reading this that has the same kind of internal struggles and fears that I did, or even if you just need someone to chat that has started down this journey – please feel free to private message me or post questions here. I’m happy to answer what I can, and if it makes one person feel more comfortable about being their authentic self, I’ll consider this a success.

For everyone else, if you have questions for me — please feel free too. I may not answer everything, but I’ll answer what I can.

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You are welcome here, and would be welcome on the AO if there were still one.

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Welcome back. It’s good to see you posting again.

In terms of your thread title, one of the explicit prereqs for my participating in a forum in this community again was that it be comfortable for LGBTQ actuaries. What that means specifically hasn’t been formalised, but Serena is aware of my thoughts on the matter.

I’m neither an activist nor particularly knowledgeable on these matters. However when we get back to doing the GoActuary conferences that we had planned, I hope to make them reasonably comfortable as well. Again, I don’t know what that means in terms of implementation, but at a minimum I was investigating gender-neutral bathrooms at the venues.

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Perhaps create an LGBTQ+ section where noncloseted folks and allies can post their own stories or supporting materials, and closeted folks can read and feel more comfortable about their own situations? I know there are webinars being hosted on being LGBT in an actuarial workplace too, this can be a platform for them to advertise as well.

This takes serious guts, so kudos to you. You’ve done the hardest part.

I’m still not out at work. It may seem trivial to the average straight person that one should just “come out”, especially in the current social climate where everyone seems so accepting, but coming out is still a tremendous hurdle for many. And the more you hide yourself, the more lies you start to create, like when everyone is sharing what they’ve done over the weekend, or what trips you went on and invariably with who, and you have to constantly just say “with a friend”. And then eventually it becomes impossible to come out, because it’s not even about coming out anymore, it’s about not getting embarrassed about having lied so much.
I know more about each of my colleagues than they know about me collectively, who their SOs are, if they live in a house or if they rent, dating or married, what trips they have planned, what colleges their kids are applying to…
I don’t think anyone even knows if I live in a house or apartment, because I never want the conversation to go down the path of “oh, you own a house? by yourself, or…?” and I don’t have an answer for it.

And I’ve been out to my family and friends for over 10 years now. But every time I have to do it again to new people, I get stuck, once again.

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Thanks. It hasn’t been easy — but it was a necessary step to being honest with myself, and I’m very glad I did it. We’ll see how it goes once we are all back in an office together.

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I’m happy for you. I don’t know you at all, but I am super proud of you. My oldest child is transgender.

As I don’t know you, do you have a preference on pronouns, wish to keep that to yourself for now, or other?

My son uses they, but just started HRT recently after living as they for a couple years, so thinks they may feel more comfortable with he once the outside starts to reflect his gender.

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I am using she/her – I probably should get used to telling people that, since it’s not at all obvious as I just started HRT as well. Thanks for asking!

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Welcome! It’s good to see you again!

I agree with glenn that our goal is to make sure this community remains a welcoming place for all.

If you would like a private group at some point, let me know. Check out the threads on how they work.

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Glad to finally find out why you left. I’ve missed my fellow Philly sports fan!

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Thanks! I’ll let you know if I get enough interest for that to make sense.

I totally regret not being on the AO for when the Birds won the Super Bowl. The plane ride from Minneapolis to Boston after that game was the BEST. PLANE. RIDE. EVER.

In my volunteer work, it is very common to include pronouns with your name for zoom calls (and the like). I have never seen it professionally. Now ideally, all, regardless of orientation should do as well to not bring attention to those who feel a need to make it clear.

How you handle things would depend on whether you have external clients or once those you work with are aware, there is no other communication needed.

I hope you have found some peace and good luck. There will be a lot of ignorant comments and questions, I hope you can be forgiving and educate. Of course there are also the truly prejudiced who are beneath you and not worth your concern or effort.

The large multinational company I work at a subsidiary of (let’s call it HF) just put pronouns in their standard email signature format. It’s still optional, but the adoption of it is pretty good.

This is why visibility and representation are so, so important. I think every LGBTQ person has the power to effect positive change by simply showing up and being seen. I’ve made an active choice to be out at work, not just for my own sanity and well-being, but also for the benefit of those who come after me.

Thank you for sharing your story. :slight_smile:

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First, congratulations and good luck. As a raised Catholic, I understand some of the pressures. At same time, I do not understand, but appreciate, your specific pressures since I have not experienced. I see Christians act with non-Christian behavior all the time and have found it’s best to stick with “love your neighbor as yourself” and “love one another as I have loved you”. Period.

Second, are you planning to run the World Cup qualifying or some condensed version of it? You created the most sophisticated game that expanded horizons for all players involved. PLEASE, I’m begging you!!!

Thanks! I’ve given up on Catholicism in general — I still believe in a creator, but the Catholic Church is just too fucked up for me to think they have any special relationship with an afterlife. My religious beliefs are much more personal now, and less focused on a group of people and more on just being a good person.

I believe 2022 qualifying has started in some regions. So I may just do a CONCACAF/UEFA/OFC 2022 World Cup Qualifying contests, with a Worldwide contest for the 2026 world cup. I’ll try to get a thread up in Sports in the next week or so to gauge interest and to open discussion on a proposed set of rules.

For what it’s worth, I missed your games on the AO (and you by extension :smiley:).

I recently moved from a small employer in a conservative state where the world would end if you came out to a much larger employer where people put pronouns in their signatures and meetings start with people introducing themselves and their pronouns. It’s been quite the adjustment, but it’s nice to see a more inclusive and caring attitude than my last employer.

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It’s not standard at my company, but I include pronouns and it’s prompted several good conversations over the years.
And while the primary reason is to show vocal support for transgender colleagues, especially those who are not out and might question whether they have an allies around them at all, it can go beyond that. Can’t think of how many conversations I’ve had with a co-worker when discussing an email from a vendor / consultant we’ve not met where the conversations hangs up on “and what do you think he…she?..[3 minute conversation on gender clues in prior emails]”. People have gender neutral names. Our profession has a heavy concentration of Asian colleagues, where us dumb Americans don’t know common foreign names so we don’t have the cultural background to know gender.

Asking ONLY those who fall into one of those categories to list their pronouns is just another way of making someone different for no good reason.

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iatp

FTR, I still think I was on track to win the Insurance Game. It’s possible a catastrophe might have come up that I couldn’t deal with, but I think I was in good enough shape. :slight_smile:

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