Since Anna Lange came out as a transgender woman to her central Georgia community, “99 percent of interactions have been positive,” she said. That wasn’t what she expected: Anna has worked in law enforcement in the area for more than a decade, and she was nervous that her neighbors and coworkers, who are conservative, wouldn’t understand and accept her. Anna was born male but felt for a long time that that didn’t quite fit, and so she transitioned to live every day as the woman she has long known herself to be.
While Anna has felt fortunate at how community members have treated her, she did experience a negative interaction a few years ago. She was working for a church, directing traffic in and out of the parking lot during services, but after she came out as transgender, the church’s head of security started to question her appearance. Then, she was called into her superior’s office and informed of an accusation of impropriety from the church. An internal investigation completely cleared her, but when she asked about returning to work, they said they didn’t need her anymore.
“The first thing the head of security said was, ‘What name are we going to go with today?’” Anna explained. “He said they didn’t need any more traffic help, but then they hired a couple of other people anyway. But, largely, it’s been a real blessing. I came out to them, and nobody knew any trans people. But when they put a face to a name, and realize that oh, you’re still the same person, then it’s not a big issue. That surprised me.”