- by cnn
- 29 Nov 2023
Sandi Salas never had a formal coming out as a woman. She just simply began transitioning after college.
"I never said anything," Salas told CNN. "I just kept on with my transition because I was an adult, and I didn't feel that I had to explain it to anybody."
But Salas' transition period was not without difficulty. In the mid-1980s, she began working for New York City's Department of Social Services.
"When I first went there, I didn't have the money to legally change my name, so I had to work under a boy's name," Salas said. "My first month there, one of the managers called me up and he says, 'Let me tell you this, you need to cut your hair. You need to hide your breasts, become a male because you're not gonna get any promotions whatsoever.' "
Salas filed a complaint immediately and began working on becoming a caseworker. When her union benefits kicked in, she could finally afford to change her name legally.
Salas, now 71, went on to work as a social worker for 29 years before retiring in 2014. Today she puts her experience to use helping with a social group for transgender older women.
"We have become a little close-knit family," she said. "We exchanged personal phone numbers with each other. We check on each other."
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