A transgender woman said she was “incredibly touched” by a kind gift she received from her colleagues to welcome her back to the workplace for the first time since her transition.
Irish woman Aoife Martin returned to her desk at Mastercard Dublin this week to find a bouquet of flowers and a touching note from her colleagues which read: “Acceptance matters to us”.
The tech worker told her HR representative that she was transgender in October 2016, and the pair decided that January would be the best time to return to the workplace as Aoife.
“I started this process in my personal life just over a year ago and it's an ongoing journey,” Aoife told Independent.ie.
“Then, just over two months ago I told my HR rep, Ann-Marie, that I was trans and that I wished to transition within the workplace.
“She was absolutely lovely about it and I really cannot stress strongly enough just how supportive and hard working behind the scenes she has been.
“We started to work out the details of coming out in the work place and decided that after the Christmas break would be an ideal time to work towards, culminating in Aoife's first appearance in the office yesterday.”
Aoife, who is in her forties, said she feels incredibly fortunate to work in such an accepting environment, and felt hugely supported during her first proper day as her true self in the office.
“We even have a hashtag on social media - #AcceptanceMatters. When I began the process of coming out I was worried that this may just have been lip service but my experience has been that this is definitely not the case. I was incredibly touched," said Aoife.
"MasterCard Dublin is a very supportive and inclusive environment. As far as I know I'm the first person to transition within the company and I hope that my positive experience might help and encourage other LGBT+ employees to come forward when they feel they are ready.”
Speaking about the company’s commitment to acceptance, Aoife’s HR Manager Ann-Marie Clyne said: “Throughout her journey I wanted to make sure that Aoife received as much support and time as she needed not just from me, but from all of her colleagues at Mastercard.
“It was important for me to take the lead from Aoife in terms of when and how she would come out as a female to her colleagues. For me, the support she’s received from them proves that our company is one where everyone can feel comfortable being open about their lives regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and that’s really something I am proud to be a part of.”