[personal profile] pyxy
Trying to get a job as a transgender person is one of the most difficult things one can do, so I feel like it's important to highlight the exceptions from my own life. These are a few of the places I applied to and the way I (and they) handled my gender identity.

Google: Did a fantastic job. I more or less explicitly outed myself to my Google recruiter partway through the hiring process, and they have been nothing but respectful and helpful. During the orientation process, one visits the mothership (Google Mountain View) for a week to become orientated; during this time, it is apparently traditional to share an apartment with other Google people for a while. The form I got about this was rather upfront about gender, asking me to identify myself as either male or female so I could be housed appropriately. I didn't know what to do, since I didn't want to live with men and didn't think women would be comfortable living with me, so I asked my recruiter for help, and he got approval for me to just have a hotel room during this part. I still haven't asked him what to do about bathrooms at the Google office; I'll wait and see what the situation is first, but I have my fingers crossed for genderless bathrooms.

Microsoft: Also awesome. I didn't out myself explicitly, but word worked its way somehow from the Microsoft employee hosting me during my interviews to a general manager (!) who transitioned in full view at Microsoft. This general manager contacted me personally to ask if I had any questions about being transgendered at Microsoft, which was an amazingly useful personal touch, and very thoughtful of them. From em I found out that their health plan covers the entire transition process, including some absurd amount of cover for cosmetic surgeries involved in transition like FFS, which is completely awesome. (I believe Google's cover is also really good, but not as amazing as Microsoft's.)

Apple: Huh. I showed up at their offices in Cupertino. While I was idling in the lobby, I noticed that their transgender nondiscrimination policy - specifically and only that particular policy - was posted on the wall of their lobby, which was very, very weird and not a little unsettling. At this point I was using resumes with my legal name on them, since my transcript from my university would have that name on them. I had not told HR explicitly that I was transgendered, but I had expressed that I preferred to be addressed as 'Elly' whenever possible. No luck here. I had eight interviews on my first day; every single interviewer decided that "Hey, I notice you introduced yourself as 'Elly', but your resume says '<my legal name>' on it. What's up with that?" would be a fantastic icebreaker, so I got to out myself to every person I interviewed with in succession, which made the ensuing interviews about as awkward as you'd think.

Factset: Outed myself explicitly to the director of HR after interviewing all day. He didn't seem surprised, but didn't know whether they had a nondiscrimination policy or not (!) or whether their health plan had any coverage for transition-related things. In general, they handled it like I'd expect a finance company to, not a software company. I shouldn't have even interviewed here; I was a terrible fit and wouldn't have worked there even if I'd had no other options.

In general, I consider myself phenomenally lucky to be a programmer. The software industry seems to be almost uniquely accepting of weirdness among its practitioners; I have never heard so much as an unkind word from a coworker or recruiter or anyone. When I was undergoing active therapy, one of the things I did was a 'group education' session, during which a bunch of people in or about to be in transition had a bunch of people who had transitioned come in and talk to us about the effect on their careers. I'll always remember, I think, hearing about a thirty-year partner of a law firm who was fired out of hand the day she came out, and I'll always be eternally grateful that I'm not in law or business because of that.

Date: 2010-06-21 06:02 am (UTC)
aredridel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] aredridel
Yow. Fired out of hand, makes me thankful I'm in the computer industry too. Also glad to work for myself, trials and tribulations that brings sometimes.

Date: 2010-06-21 03:44 pm (UTC)
picklish: (Default)
From: [personal profile] picklish
Thanks for sharing all of this. :)

Re: Apple. That really just seems unprofessional for anybody to ask that in an interview. Any answer to a question about name discrepancy isn't going to help them decide to hire you. And, I'm sure it has to feel like some sort of systematic failure on their part when every interviewer does it.

Re: Gender-free bathrooms in Mountain View. I saw a few and so they exist. However, they were by no means the norm. When is your orientation?

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