Trans 101

For Coders



Who Am I?

Maëlys

(mah-eh-liss)

Developer for 9 Years

advocacy work

Trans Equality Coalition

mentor

Regional Planning Table for Trans Health Care

...and I <3 corgis.

 

Two
Topics

Both about being trans-inclusive in your work

Trans-Inclusive:

Workplaces

Software Design



Workplace

Trans people are underemployed

44%

Of trans Ontarians have a post-secondary or graduate degree

$15,000

Median income of trans Ontarians

TransPulse Project (http://transpulseproject.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Trans-PULSE-Statistics-Relevant-for-Human-Rights-Policy-June-2015.pdf)

Source: 

I'm going to show you some data

And I want you to think about how these numbers could contribute to trans people being sidelined from jobs

24%

Of Canadian men are uncomfortable with a trans person moving next door

Angus Reid (http://angusreid.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/2016.08.02_TransIssuesReleaseTables.pdf)

Sources: 

26%

Of Canadians believe a trans person would be discriminated against in their workplace

42%

Of trans Ontarians found coworkers accepting half the time or less after transitioning at work

17%

Of trans Ontarians declined a job offer because of the lack of trans-positive and safe work environment

TransPulse Project (http://transpulseproject.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Trans-PULSE-Statistics-Relevant-for-Human-Rights-Policy-June-2015.pdf and http://transpulseproject.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/E3English.pdf)

Sources: 

28%

Of trans Ontarians can't get letters of reference with their current name or gender

Source: TransPulse Project (http://transpulseproject.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/E3English.pdf)

58%

Of trans Ontarians can't get academic transcripts with their current name or gender

57%

TransPulse Project (http://transpulseproject.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Trans-PULSE-E-Bulletin-8-English.pdf)
Angus Reid (http://angusreid.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/2016.08.02_TransIssuesReleaseTables.pdf)

42%

Of Canadians think washroom use by trans people should be restricted

Sources: 

Of trans Ontarians have avoided public washroom out of fear of being harassed or read as trans

73%

Of trans Ontarians have been ridiculed for being trans

96%

Of trans Ontarians have heard trans people are not normal

TransPulse Project (http://transpulseproject.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Trans-PULSE-Statistics-Relevant-for-Human-Rights-Policy-June-2015.pdf)

Source: 

It's not all doom and gloom

These days it's more and more likely you will work with a trans person

23%

Of Canadians have an acquaintance who is trans

Angus Reid (http://angusreid.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/2016.08.02_TransIssuesReleaseTables.pdf)

Sources: 

And there are things you can do to make workplaces more welcoming to trans people

As a colleague of a trans person...

Ask them how they want you to respond if someone misgenders them

For example if Bob comes over and refers to Alice by "him" instead of "her"

Alice might prefer if you don't correct Bob, but other trans people might have a different preference

There are other things you can do...

Ask a coworker for their permission before you out them

Being outed without consent feels awful and can compromise a sense of safety and privacy

73%

Of trans Ontarians have been ridiculed for being trans

96%

Of trans Ontarians have heard trans people are not normal

TransPulse Project (http://transpulseproject.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Trans-PULSE-Statistics-Relevant-for-Human-Rights-Policy-June-2015.pdf)

Source: 

Don't ask about
"the surgery"

It's just rude.

you're asking about their genitals

Use gender-neutral language when referring to groups of people

"Hey ladies, let's get started"

"Hey folks, let's get started"

For people involved in hiring...

I want to remind you of this statistic

28%

Of trans Ontarians can't get letters of reference with their current name or gender

Source: TransPulse Project (http://transpulseproject.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/E3English.pdf)

58%

Of trans Ontarians can't get academic transcripts with their current name or gender

Be open to de-emphasizing references and education

Consider evaluating their coding skills through real-world coding exercises

how many of you have heard...

"We don't hire women because no woman ever applies"

For a more diverse workforce, diversify where you advertise job openings

Interviewers hire people like them...

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0003122412463213

Source: 

...so employ hiring practices such as blind auditions and standardized interview questions to mitigate this bias

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/28/magazine/is-blind-hiring-the-best-hiring.html

See also: 

For C-Levels...

I want to remind you of this statistic

TransPulse Project (http://transpulseproject.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Trans-PULSE-E-Bulletin-8-English.pdf)
Angus Reid (http://angusreid.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/2016.08.02_TransIssuesReleaseTables.pdf)

Sources: 

57%

Of trans Ontarians have avoided public washroom out of fear of being harassed or read as trans

42%

Of Canadians think washroom use by trans people should be restricted

Have universal washrooms in your workplace

...that aren't also 5 buildings or floors away

Collect metrics on diversity

And make the data public

transparency brings accountability

accountability brings change

The more diverse your workforce, the more trans-friendly it's going to be

Hire a diversity consultant

one who has experienced systemic barriers to employment first-hand

experience here matters

Moving onto the second topic!


Software
Design

Developers make a lot of assumptions that are sometimes not the best...

"People's names are written in ASCII!"

"I'll use local time!"

So let's add a few more assumptions people make...

That can negatively impact trans people

Assumptions like...

names don't change

(They do)

gender doesn't change

(It does)

gender is binary

(It isn't)

gender needs to be collected

(Not always)

people want to be addressed by their legal name

(Moon Unit Zappa)

honorifics (Mr., Ms.) can be deduced from gender

(No.)

he/she are the only pronouns people use

(they/them)

What I want to do here is to get you to start thinking about these things

And encourage you to challenge design decisions that embed these assumptions

Any success you have will remove obstacles for trans people

There are examples of good design out there

Thank You!

See me if you have any questions!

These slides are available at:

goo.gl/qX1vKN

Maëlys McArdle
maelys.bio

Trans 101 for Coders

By Maëlys

Trans 101 for Coders

Put together for Random Hacks of Kindness 2017, this workshop gives an overview of how software developers can make a workplace more welcoming to trans people, and covers some incorrect assumptions around gender that are made when designing software.

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