- Matthew Thorsen
- Christine Hallquist
Dave Hallquist was leading a double life when Seven Days observed the 59-year-old chief executive officer of Vermont Electric Cooperative last month: Among friends and family, Hallquist was Christine. Among colleagues, employees and board members at the state's second-largest electric utility, the CEO was still operating as Dave.
Preparing to take the final step in her gender transition — going to work as Christine — Hallquist revealed her hopes and fears in a rare report about reconciling two worlds.
UPDATE: At 7 a.m. on December 2, Christine Hallquist arrived at VEC's Newport district office and met with line workers. "There were some initial deer-in-the-headlights looks," she said. But the transition at work has gone smoothly. "Everybody's met Christine, and they seem fine as can be."
The company website has updated with the CEO's new name, photo and email address.
Changing her name and gender on official documents has been more complicated. The Department of Motor Vehicles initially told Hallquist she needed to change her Social Security card first. The Social Security Administration told her she needed to change her driver's license first. Persistence paid off, and Hallquist received an enhanced driver's license on December 16.
While she was waiting, Hallquist persuaded the DMV to put her new photo — with a wig and makeup — on her old driver's license, the one with the name "David." Identified as such, she breezed through airport security on a recent trip to Washington, D.C.
"Everybody was very polite," she said.
In Washington, Hallquist spoke at a National Conference of State Legislatures about the benefits of well-placed solar projects. It was Christine's first appearance before a national group. Although only a few people in the audience had known her as Dave, Hallquist went in worried about how she would be perceived. "I didn't notice anything different," she said.
Hallquist said she's conscious that the transition has not gone as smoothly for other transgender people. "I hear lots of stories. People have to leave their jobs. I'm probably not having the same experience as others."