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She showed up at the cafeteria where she'd often joined colleagues for meals to find no one there. They said they weren’t comfortable or needed more time. They said they weren’t comfortable or needed more time.

Social worker Josie Lynne Paul experienced a mix of reactions at work after transitioning. Social worker Josie Lynne Paul experienced a mix of reactions at work after transitioning. (Michael Tercha / Chicago Tribune)"Probably what hurt the most was that I had been left kind of alone," Paul said.

She appreciated the party because she could see everyone at once and get on with her workday.

A native of Texas, which doesn't have gender identity protections, Chloe said she had been "terrified my whole life" of coming out.

A bottle of Champagne waited on a table."It felt like completion, the last part of a long journey," said Chloe, 32, who asked that her last name not be published to protect her family.Three-quarters of Fortune 500 companies have gender identity protections, according to the Human Rights Campaign's latest Corporate Equality Index, released in November, compared with just 3 percent when it started the report in 2002.Forty percent of employers have at least one plan that covers hormone replacement therapy; in 2002, it was zero. It's another to have a plan to address the nuances of a delicate journey many people struggle to understand."Just because the laws have changed doesn't mean everybody has changed," said Barbra Mc Coy Getz, a licensed clinical social worker in Kane County who specializes in transgender clients.Employers are facing the challenge of guiding the transition not only of their transgender employees but also of co-workers and clients who must adapt.Josie Lynne Paul felt hopeful, and terrified, as she walked into an all-staff meeting to tell her co-workers what she'd known for years: that she was a transgender woman.

From the initial consultation to the day of the event, Jenna make sure your ideas and inspirations turn into reality.

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