Wednesday, July 17, 2019


What do you do when you transition and you are a professional with name recognition, do you lose your old identity and start over?

That is what they did in the old days, but what about now? What should you do?
Navigating Gender Identity and Expression During a Job Search
A job search is anxiety-producing enough without also having to deal with such issues, writes Lauren Easterling, who offers some insights and advice.
Inside Higher Education
By Lauren Easterling
June 24, 2019

For most of my life, I was constantly struggling with my own gender identity before I came out as transgender. But during all of my job searches, I never once had to question how others perceived my gender. I learned the rules and expectations that others taught me about how males were supposed to act, dress and present themselves in job interviews: smile, iron your shirts, wear a smart suit and tie, speak firmly, and shake hands with others just as firmly.

After coming out as a woman who is transgender, I told myself that once I learned the rules and expectations -- which seemed to be many, many more than those I'd learned before -- navigating a job search would be the same. But based on my own experience and that of other transgender and non-binary people, that has not been the case.

A job search is anxiety-producing on its own, without also having to navigate issues of gender, identity and expression. As a career-development specialist, educator and advocate on transgender issues, I will share some of my insights about navigating the different issues that may arise when our own sense of gender identity and expression doesn't match the perceptions of others during a job search.
So what do you do with your resume? What about a job application?

The Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) has these guidelines for employers.
Pre-Employment Questions: What Can't I Ask? And Why?

The following represents general guidelines you should follow when interviewing potential job candidates.
Category: Name
It’s Potentially Discriminatory to Ask (or Mention):
Have you ever changed your name?
Original name of applicant whose name has been legally changed
Examples of Acceptable Inquiries:
What is your name?
Have you ever been employed under another name?
Is there any additional information about nicknames or name change we need to know regarding your application for this position?

Category: Sex/Sexual Orientation:
It’s Potentially Discriminatory to Ask (or Mention):
Sex of applicant
Applicant’s sexual habits or orientation
Views on women’s liberation
Examples of Acceptable Inquiries:
No acceptable inquiries unless sex is a bona fide occupational qualification (valid, job-related inquiries in to an applicant’s personal life should be done in a background investigation).

Category: Criminal Record:
It’s Potentially Discriminatory to Ask (or Mention):
Arrest record
Examples of Acceptable Inquiries:
Number and kinds of convictions for felonies.
Note: Recent rulings have held that you cannot reject an applicant solely because he/she has been convicted of a felony, unless the crime is job-related to the position for which the person is applying.
I would also say asking someone about “employed under another name” would also be border line unless they had a legitimate reason to ask during a job interview.

The Connecticut Department of Labor has these tips…
If you are asked an illegal question, you may not want to immediately eliminate the company as a potential employer. Often the person who interviews you will not be your supervisor. If you are asked an illegal question, wait until later in the interview and then inquire who would be your supervisor and who would be responsible for performance evaluations. You have three options in answering an illegal question.

You can refuse to answer the question, but if the employer is unaware that the question is illegal, you may appear confrontational and difficult to work with.

You can directly answer the question with the knowledge that it may inhibit your employment opportunity.

Usually the best option is to look at the intent behind the question and answer appropriately.

The interviewer is unlikely to view the question as prejudiced; he or she may feel it is well intentioned or that the belief is justified. If you are interested in finding employment, it is very important to react calmly and answer the question with tact and a friendly tone.

For instance, if you are asked, "We have very few minorities working here. Will you feel comfortable in this environment?"

Answer A: "It is illegal for you to question me about my ethnicity; I will be contacting the NAACP."
Result: A legal battle and no employment opportunity. The employer will feel justified in viewing minorities as being overly defensive and difficult to work with and will probably continue to screen out minorities. You may feel defensive during future interviews which will portray you negatively.

Answer B: "I enjoy working with many people of various backgrounds. I believe you will find both my work skills and interpersonal skills very satisfactory; my previous employers can verify that I have never had an issue with my co-workers."
Result: You have redirected the conversation to focus on your work experience and skills. The employer is more inclined to give you a job offer, where your good work may help to overcome his or her prejudice. Even if you are not hired, the employer will view you as a professional and may refer you to other positions or companies.
You know how politicians never really answer the questions they are asked, well take a tip from them answer the question by twisting it to give the answer you want to give, change from a confrontational answer like in “A” to an answer that shows you strengths.

Also under a new Connecticut law they cannot ask wage history.

The Inside Higher Education goes on to write,
Caring for Yourself in a Job Search Process

While I often encourage the students and postdocs with whom I work to trust the job search process at each company, university or other organization to which they apply, this is easier said than done. It is more difficult to do so when you as an applicant are feeling anxious, isolated or without support. I strongly encourage job seekers to have a good network of mentors, colleagues, friends and others who can provide emotional and professional support and advice.
Being Out in a Job Search

A first step in navigating a job search is to decide whether or not you want to be out as transgender or non-binary during the job search and hiring process. Some people do not want to be out during this process, and that is okay. But if they decide not to be out, they should have a plan.

I was out during my most recent job search, but not my prior one. For my earlier search, in 2012, I was looking for universities where I knew I would be supported if I decided to come out and start living my life as me. But I was not socially supported and emotionally ready to both conduct a job search and be out as trans to potential employers. In contrast, for my most recent successful job search in 2015, I had been out and living my true life for over a year and a half, and I had a professional and social support network to help me apply and interview for positions.
Names Matter
Names are an important first point of contact in the job search. They can also be terrifying for some trans and non-binary people, because our true names -- those we use to describe who we really are -- don't always match our legal ones. Some individuals may never be able or want to change their legal names, and this creates room for possible pain and confusion in a hiring process. Others, like me, are able to change their names, and different questions arise. For example, I needed to address why I used two different names in my publications and presentations. My solution was to add an asterisk before each item with my previous name -- my deadname -- and include a footnote stating that these items were published or presented under a previous name.
Interviewing Well
The interview phase of a job search can bring a different set of challenges. I despise phone interviews and find my anxiety level spiking to exponential levels. Though others say that my voice is fine, I am not happy with it and don't feel it communicates that I'm a woman. I've invested time and money into voice training, but my voice remains affected by decades of testosterone in my body and is the part of me that I most wish I could change. As a result, I try, though not always successfully, to request video interviews to help keep me focused on the interview rather than on monitoring my own gender presentation.
Also keep in mind that each interview is different. Different companies, different employees, and different question… trust your gut. If you walk into an employer’s waiting room and there is a signed picture of Trump… the company may not be a good match for you. Also remember that there is no law banning political discrimination, the employer can discriminate against you if you are a Democrat or Republican,

In my research for job searching I came across this from my undergrad school RIT FAQ for Trans* Job Seekers
Should I out myself in my application, resume, or cover letter?
It depends. This is a very personal decision; there is no right or wrong answer. You will need to make a decision based on your own level of comfort and interest in sharing your gender identity with others weighed against the research you have done about the company.

Which name should I use on my resume?
Again it depends. A resume is not a legal document, so it is acceptable to use your preferred name. Some individuals prefer to list first initials followed by their preferred name (e.g. T Michelle Richards) or identify their preferred name in quotes (e.g. Taylor “Michelle” Richards).
Just remember that if you are a very out trans women and they Google your name what will they find? Suggestion; do a vanity search on Google.

Some sources suggest checking the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index but remember what they say on paper and what they do are two different things. I know of one trans woman whose employer had a 100 percent rating from the CEI and she had a very transphobic boss.

What do you do if you transition and you are well known in your profession?
How Should Professors Cite Their Transgender Colleagues’ Work Produced Under Past Identities? Academe Is Trying to Figure It Out.
The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Grace Elletson
July 12, 2019

When Grace Lavery published her first essay as a graduate student, she felt uneasy about putting her name on it. While she was proud of her work, part of her also wanted distance from the masculine first name that appeared on the author page.

“It already felt,” she said, “like I was putting on a costume of some kind.”

Back then Lavery was a man, under a different name. Today, Lavery is a transgender woman. She transitioned at the beginning of 2018, while an assistant professor of English at the University of California at Berkeley, where she is now an associate professor. Once she was on hormonal treatment, Lavery said, she immediately felt a new sense of belonging in her body and identity.
But, for Lavery and other transgender scholars, fulfilling professional duties — like publishing — can present obstacles. Having two different names and gender identities on published work can complicate issues like personal privacy, professional reputation, and the task of developing an academic profile. The tensions can be especially acute when a transition takes place in the middle or beginning of a scholar’s academic career.
Even for academics who are open with their transgender identity, like Beemyn and Lavery, being referred to by their old names in citations — a practice often referred to as “deadnaming” — isn’t something they’re comfortable with.
It is not only academics who have this problem but also all other professionals. I know one electrical engineer when she transitioned she was being compared to her “brother.” One time she heard someone at a conference say that she was a lot smarter than her “brother.”

To paraphrase Kermit, “It’s not easy being trans”

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