For several years, Ron Morgan had a secret. Though he worked two jobs, had a wife and two children, he knew something was off. Underneath the masculine exterior- his chiseled chin and Adam’s apple- he knew he was really a woman.
“Everyday, I’d have to put on this costume and be Ron,” said Ron, who now goes by Serra. “Everyday I’d have to pretend to be someone I wasn’t, and it sucked.”
Morgan, a 32-year-old technology help desk technician at the college, discussed what caused her to transition from male to female. The decision began two years ago when she attended the transgender awareness conference and heard Debi Jackson’s compelling story about her transgender 7-year-old.
“Just hearing the story and hearing her experiences, here it is as a grown person, I’m hiding all these feelings that I have because I’m afraid what society thinks and how people will treat me,” Morgan said, frowning slightly. “And, you have this seven year old who has the courage to be who she feels she is on the inside. After listening to her story, that’s when I began thinking if a seven year old can do it, why can’t I?”
Morgan is not alone in her fears and doubts to come out as transgender. According to the Institute’s newest survey, today there are about 1.4 million transgender people in America, or roughly 0.6 percent of the adult population. Transgender people suffer the highest percentage than any other demographic when it comes to suicide, sexual and physical harassment and homelessness.
Though Morgan experienced a lot of fear and anxiety in coming out as transgender, she did not experience suicidal thoughts. Morgan also chose not to disclose her new identity to her parents out of fear of them not approving her lifestyle choices.
“I didn’t have suicidal thoughts,” Morgan said. “I have too much to live for, so suicide wasn’t an option. I did have fears of losing my job and then becoming homeless and then being able to provide for my children, but suicide was simply not an answer for me.”
Another concern that Morgan faces of being transgender is how other people may perceive her when she used the restroom especially after President Donald Trump’s administration withdrew protections for transgender students in public schools issued under the Obama administration about two weeks ago.Morgan explained that she uses a locked bathroom in the library, which is the closest private bathroom to the Regnier Center, where she works.
“I can tell you now, I am not a pervert,” Morgan said. “I’m different. That’s what it is; I’m different! I have to go to a bathroom just like you. I have to eat, just like you. I have a family, just like you. I’m really no different than anyone else, but to be labeled a pervert, because some person is dressing as a woman to do things to kids and do things to women, there’s been no report of that. There’s been no report of any transgenders attacking anyone. If anything, it’s the other way around.”
Using a secure bathroom was one of the solutions Morgan found when coming out to her coworkers. She simply wanted everyone to feel comfortable with the transition. Two of her co-workers, Mike Fluke, senior client technology analyst and Felix Mercader, help desk team leader, became her support system during her transition process.
“She was really nervous about making such a big change,” Mercader said. “But it had been a secret for quite a while. It was something I was proud to help with.”
Both Mercader and Fluke spoke about their happiness that Serra was able to come out and express herself the way she felt inside. So far, Serra’s co-workers and managers have been very supportive of her transition from male to female and most of the people in Serra’s life call her by her preferred name and gender.
“I’ve had one person that was kind of like “well, I don’t accept this,” Morgan said. “I left it as well, you don’t have to be because it’s my life and they’re like ‘ok.’ We still have a conversation and talk and things like that. They may not agree and accept it, but they’re still going to associate with me.”