Elevating Voices: Transgender Awareness Month is a series of interviews, experiences, and stories from the transgender and gender non-conforming community. The series is beginning during Transgender Awareness Week – a crucial time to uplift the stories and voices of the trans/GNC community – and will continue in other facets of our work.
Alex Dropp is a Vice President, Equities Asset Management Services, BofA Securities, Inc.
During the 2019 Summit, you shared your story of belonging on stage in front of 6,000 people. What was the impact that sharing your story at Summit has had on your life? How did it impact your career, your life and what was your motivation for sharing your story?
It was my official coming out to all of my friends and colleagues. I’ve been out all my life as gay. I just didn’t have the language back in the 70s and 80s to really identify who I was because I had no one to look up to and say, “Hey, that’s me.” When Bank of America asked me to share my story at Summit, they had no idea what I was going to say until they asked me to write the speech. I knew that this was where I’m going to come out as trans. I’m going to be on stage in front of all of these people, so I might as well make it worth it. And, because of the power of Out & Equal, the video and stories of me from my speech flew around the internet. I hadn’t even gotten off the stage yet and people were already sharing my story.
One of the biggest things that drove me to come out on stage was because of what was and is happening in the community. Transgender people, especially transgender women, are getting killed. I felt like I’m strong enough to handle and carry this weight for people who can’t. I have broad shoulders. I can do this. I did it in the 80s coming out as gay, I can do this. I can carry this load.
How does it make you feel when you hear people like your colleague Victor and some of your other friends say that your story led them to coming out in the workplace or that you have helped shape their career trajectory?
It makes me feel proud. It’s exactly why I do what I do. That’s why I’m loud and that’s why I’m out. And, that’s why I will stand up and I will do this for others because there are people that should stand up and be role models. That’s who I try to be. I’m trying to be that person that Victor can look up to and lean on and I can help him and I can help others. I know this. Right now I lead a very charmed life. I am very lucky in my life. I had an opportunity handed to me to change my life forever. That was a gift. I’d want to use it wisely and to use it, to help others.
Why do you think that inclusion in the workplace is important for the trans and gender nonconforming community?
The world is changing. Folks are entering the workplace and they’re loud, proud, and know what they want and deserve. Workplaces need to adapt to that attitude to get the best talent in our organization.
On a personal level, you want to be able to trust the person who sits next to you and who you’re working with. Your business will fail if you do not change bottom line.
What does resiliency mean for the trans/ GNC community and why is it important that the community is resilient?
It goes back to what I was saying about being strong. You have to be strong and you have to not care what people believe. I think that the people in our community have a special gene that makes us be able to shield or protect ourselves from what can come at us. We persevere and we survive despite people and life trying to hold us back. I think that’s an incredible thing. Look at how far we’ve come. But also look at how far we have to go.