A Transgender Transition Inside EA Sports: "Will Everyone Stare at Me?"

Illustration for article titled A Transgender Transition Inside EA Sports: Will Everyone Stare at Me?

Going from the person most co-workers know as a man to one they will know as a woman is a challenge most people won't ever have to face. Doing it in the sports division of a video game company probably adds a ridiculous degree of difficulty.


But when EA Sports producer John Worrall became Kelly Worrall, she says that company went to great lengths to prepare colleagues and support her decision.

EA and Worrall spent a year working to make sure that she'd have a safe and respectful workplace at the company's studio in Burnaby, British Columbia—where titles such as NHL, Fight Night and FIFA are made. But even though candid questions came up—like which bathroom Worrall would use—she says a presentation on her transition met with an amazing reaction.


"That time leading up to the actual transition was very important to me," Worrall told The Vancouver Courier. "It was a time where I felt reassured because I could see the steps that [the human resources department] was taking to build the environment where I would be protected, and that was my big concern.

"Am I going to be laughed out of every meeting?" Worrall wondered. "Is everyone going to be staring at me the whole time? The answer [to that] is yes, by the way. There's nothing you can do about that."

Worrall says that businesses that embrace transgendered people now will be able to claim they were on the right side of history. The thought resonates on a day when the President of the United States announced his support for gay marriage after voters in North Carolina passed a law proscribing it outright. Electronics Arts didn't passively endorse its employee's decision, either. The company straight up tweeted the news on its official Twitter account earlier today.


Worrall has a long tenure in the games industry, where issues around diversity representation are often met with derision and scorn. People may have voted EA the Worst Company in America but they can't be that bad if it helped an employee like Worrall through a transition like hers.


Event speaker enjoyed smooth ‘trans' transition at work [The Vancouver Courier]

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I wonder why people do this. If you're born a male/female, why do they decide they want to be the opposite gender? I want to say I understand but I really don't. Which doesn't mean I'll laugh at them or belittle them, or even stop them from doing what they want. But I don't think I'll ever understand it.