Tim Rutherford has written in with this burning issue:
Dear Jules, I recently had an excruciating meeting with my boss – one of those casual “drop-ins” where he is desperate for us to build a relationship and get all emotionally involved or something. Anyway, he said I should be a woman in order that the team have an appropriate balance of diversity. He feels I am the closest to being woman already so it won’t be as much of a stretch for me than others on the team.
I am okay with the basic premise, but I am unclear as to how far he wants me to go. I am fine with the high heels, pencil skirts and chiffon blouses but, I mean, I have to draw the line somewhere don’t I? I don’t feel I should reduce my income just to make the quotas work. Please help me navigate this thorny issue – diversity is a f**king minefield at the moment and I don’t want to cause offence.
Dear Tim, you have come to the right place. I was asked to become a woman a while ago by my wife. It was tricky at first, as like you I struggled to find the best way to have the conversations without causing offence or upset (and no-one wants that do they?). I found that the best way forward was to just make the transition, be the woman that they want you to be and once there your opinions and views will be ignored with a not so subtle smile of patronisation. What is most important is that the men don’t feel awkward around you and therefore you need to reassure them that you aren’t going to cause any problems.