Transgender employees in tech: Why this “progressive” industry has more work to do to achieve true gender inclusivity (cover story PDF)
The tech industry is seen as being inclusive, but the reality for transgender workers is often very different.
This download provides the magazine version of the article as a free PDF for registered TechRepublic and ZDNet members. The online version of this story is available here.
From the story:
Delaney King created a successful career as a freelance digital artist working in video games in Australia—with more than 20 years of experience and several awards under her belt, she had been headhunted by large studios and offered salaries of over $100,000 AUD.
But that was before her gender transition.
King is intersex, which means she biologically falls somewhere between the definitions of male and female. About four years ago, she decided to transition from presenting as a man to presenting as a woman.
Despite her years of experience and accolades, suddenly studios were no longer eager to hire someone with the name “Delaney” on a resume. When presenting as a male, she had sent out about 10 applications, and received eight interviews and seven offers over the course of her career. As a female, she sent out about 10 applications, and received two interviews and two offers, one in a more junior position.
“It’s absolutely striking,” King said. “It is essentially the same CV. It’s simply that the rules are different as an apparent cisgender woman.” (Cisgender is a term for people who are not transgender, according to GLAAD.)
The tech industry represents itself as a champion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. But the experience of transgender individuals working in tech has not always been as positive, suggesting there is still plenty more work to do before the tech industry is as inclusive as it likes to think it is.
In reporting this story, TechRepublic found that in the workplace, transgender people often find their status shifts after transitioning, in opposite directions: Transgender men typically receive more respect on the job than when they were presenting as female, while transgender women often have to fight harder to get hired and be heard than when they were presenting as male—particularly in the male-dominated tech industry.
Transgender women who have experienced careers both presenting as a male and as a female can act as a real-life blind resume test to expose the gender bias that still exists in tech and other industries: The only variable that changes on their CV is their name.
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