Hanah Eloise is a Blue Shirt in Birmingham, Alabama. Now in her early 30s, she was just 6 years old when she remembers first getting teased for the way she expressed herself and being told to “act more like a boy.”
But physical changes and emotions she didn’t understand or know how to articulate continued. And for the next two decades, Hanah tried to fulfill societal expectations. She sought counseling, took medication for depression and got really good at hiding her true feelings. She even settled down and got married to fulfill expectations.
While she smiled for her wedding photos, Hanah felt sad and uncomfortable in her own skin. As her feelings of unease and dissatisfaction intensified, she began doing research. She was surprised to find many transwomen she saw online and read about were near her age. That inspired her to make a commitment to herself: She would come out.
It was a difficult but lifechanging decision. And Hanah shares her story with the hope that it might help someone else.
“If you’re thinking about coming out, you should do so on your own terms, but don’t wait too long,” Hanah said. “It is so worth being able to feel the pure joy and happiness of being your authentic self – the self you always knew, deep down, you were meant to be.”
Finding a support system
Hanah first came out to someone she loved and felt safe with: her wife. Their marriage didn’t last, but their friendship did. Hanah also had allies in her Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) friends who stayed by her side throughout her transition.
Next, she came out to her general manager at Best Buy and, together, they created a plan for Hanah to come out to her co-workers in the way she felt most comfortable. After she did, one colleague surprised her with a new name badge and suggested she begin wearing it – when she was ready.
“Coming out is a very personal and emotional experience,” Hanah said. “If someone you know is contemplating coming out, please be supportive and know their needs may differ from day to day.”
While the company is longtime supporter of equality, demonstrated by a perfect rating of 100 on the annual Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index 14 times, we strive to find new ways to support all of our employees.
In recent years, the company has created a Workplace Transition and Gender Identity Toolkit with guidelines and resources for supporting an employee through a gender transition. A Pride Employee Resource Group creates a safe environment for members and allies to network, find resources and support one another. And there’s a broad collection of benefits, including specific health care coverage for transgender and gender non-conforming employees.
Adria Barnett contributed to this story.
To learn more about working at Best Buy, visit our careers page.