Karen E. Williams











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Karen E. Williams
karenew@clear.net
A Day at the Office
by Karen Williams

It was 15 years ago that I first came to the Emerald City. Gradually over time I have expanded where and what I do while crossdressed. I am committed to my marriage so have never considered living full time in my fem role but have always dreamed of at least going to work as Karen. Since Halloween is the crossdresser’s holiday, I chose that day  this year to make my dream come true. I received a company email on Thursday, October 30th announcing a costume contest for the next day. There were to be prizes with the grand prize of a $50 gift certificate to Bellevue Square. I work as an electrical engineer at a very conservative company and have been there for almost 25 years.  Recently, I have joined a team of people installing a new corporate wide computer program. I had been in another department in the same building so I knew many people from different parts of the building which has about 200-300 employees.

The night before Halloween I talked to several crossdressing friends (Lenae, Suzanne, Judi, and several others) about my plan. With a thumbs up especially from Lenae, who did the same thing several days earlier, I cemented the plan in place. I was scared and could not sleep well the night before, so I decided in the morning to "just do it" without further thought. I arrived at work at about 7:10am to an empty building. I wore a black skirt, white blouse, black vest, black 2" heels (very office) and the normal amount of makeup for my "Karen" persona. I sat at my desk and had been there for about 5 minutes when Jim came by. Jim has always been a very expressive person in the office and this was no exception. He quickly realized who it was and then gasped. He said something like, "oh my god, you look just like a woman!" Soon Barbara came by and had about the same reaction and asked me what my name was for the day. I told her Karen and she spread it to everyone in the group. My boss and my boss’s boss came by. They were all positive and visibly excited. The room exploded with emotions as more people arrived at work. It then occurred to Jim to try to fool Ted when he came in the office. There was a meeting scheduled which I do not normally attend. Jim had me in the meeting room before Ted arrived. When he arrived, I was introduced as a new employee. I shook hands with Ted and said "glad to meet you." That is when Ted recognized my voice and reeled back with amazement. He had not recognized me until that moment.

The day continued with people coming from far and wide to come and say hello because they had heard from others. A costume contest was at 11am on a different floor. I arrived about 10 minutes early. One woman asked me why I was entering the contest without a costume. I told her that I was a genetic male and she said, "no your not, your a woman." I had to convince her and her friend that, yes, I was a genetic male. Another woman, Pat, asked me, " can you eat with that makeup on?" Pat is a good employee, good mother and wears no makeup. I giggle every time that I think about that question. It made me wonder if I was wearing too much makeup.

The contest started with a group of three judges. The judges announced that five people had won prizes but that three different people would be in a final run off. I was not chosen in the first five so I wondered if they would just ignore me for obvious reasons (not wanting to deal with crossdressing issue). However, I was chosen for the final three. They used the "hand over the head and group applause meter" method of choosing the winner. Applause were thunderous when they came to me. I felt guilty at that point because I had developed my "costume" over a ten year period where everyone else had thrown it together over night. I was very excited with my award and went to lunch. I went to Westlake mall in downtown Seattle and had my ears pierced. I had planned this for weeks and felt that this was the perfect time since everyone at work would now know why I wanted two ears pierced.

The afternoon was a continuation of the morning with more and more people coming by to say hello. I felt like people were friendly, astounded and interested. This is much different from the normal work environment which is fairly business-like. What I did right was be myself. I felt that people loved the image and were very friendly. However, I did make one mistake. I showed one woman my visa card with my name "Karen E. Williams" embossed on the card. She said "that did me in." One mistake for eight hours is not a bad average. The next question is how will I be treated on Monday morning.

I arrived at work on Monday in my male role except that I now wearing earrings (a small gold stud on each ear). The first person said "ear shots." I have no idea why he said that. A couple of other people commented but most people said nothing. Jim came by and called me "Karen" with a smile on his face. A friend who knew about me before last Friday reported that she had talked to several people who had given just positive comments. At the end of the day I was talking to my ex-boss. He put his hand on my shoulder and smiled. I could see him searching for an appropriate thing to say. He finally said "congratulations."

I am sure that people will look at me with a different eye from now on. I have no intentions of transitioning, because of my marriage, but I do plan on talking to the diversity team. This team was set up a number of years ago to determine how the company could become more sensitive to diversity issues. They have developed a statement on diversity that says that the company will not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, sex etc. Last year they added sexual orientation. My purpose in talking to the committee will be to add "gender identity" to that list. I feel like I have realized a dream that I have had for the last 10 years, to go to work in my fem role. Yes, there may still be a price to pay further down the road but as each day goes by the possibility gets less and less.
 



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