One 3Mer’s journey of coming out at work as trans and disabled
Jun 18, 2020

Bringing our full selves to work is easier said than done, but it can be a little easier when the company you work for supports all aspects of every individual. For Jaymie Wagner, a trans woman with severe rheumatoid arthritis and rainbow-colored hair, her journey has and continues to be positive in large part because of the deeply supportive culture she says she’s experienced at 3M.

A 3Mer of nine years with eight years of previous experience, and current IT Service Delivery Lead, Jaymie didn’t come out to her team until years into her career. When she did decide to come out, she said every single one of her team members extended their support. “I announced I’d be changing my name and my pronouns, and everyone was so conscientious of making sure they were addressing me correctly,” she added.

Jaymie’s team extended similar support when she shared her arthritis diagnosis. Her boss made sure to arrange accommodations for her, including new office furniture and a reserved parking space. “My bosses have never looked at me differently for my disability or my sexuality,” she said, which makes bringing her authentic self to work a smooth and truly rewarding experience.

Recently, Jaymie shared with Fairygodboss – an online community aiming to improve the lives and workplace for women – the extent of 3M’s support, as well as advice for trans women and differently-abled people seeking community at work. Here's an excerpt from Jaymie's interview.

Tell me a little about your experience coming out at work.

One of my first visits was to 3M’s Employee Assistance Program. I told them, “I don't know what to do.” From there, they helped me find counseling resources and local support, and put me in contact with 3M’s Pride Group. Someone from the group connected me with Alison Heebsh, who had also transitioned while at 3M. She was kind enough to take me out to lunch and offered me her advice and support. She also introduced me to a few other trans women who had transitioned at 3M.

How did 3M help you feel supported during this time?

3M’s Pride Employee Resource Network has been an amazing resource. It is a central organization that supports employees who identify as LGBTQ+. We have chapters in countries all over the world that are doing incredible work to advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, especially in countries who are still working towards progress.

My manager, Yvonne Houle, was the first person at 3M outside of the LGTBQ+ community or Employee Assistance Program who I went to share who I truly am. I was terrified. I am tall and have crazy colored hair. I am not subtle at all, but until that point, I had spent so much time trying not to get noticed. Going into her office was absolutely gut-wrenching.

All that being said, the first words out of her mouth were, “What can I do?” She gave me space to talk to everyone I needed to make sure we had the trust and relationship we needed to get the job done moving forward. Everyone was extremely supportive.

I received many emails from colleagues and had people coming by my office with encouragement. I even had a 3M parent come by who is raising a trans child and offered me their support. It felt amazing to know people still understood who I am.

Read Jaymie’s full interview with Fairygodboss to learn more about her career at 3M, how 3M supported her through her arthritis diagnosis and her No. 1 piece of career advice.


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