Working Towards Trans Inclusion

To Our Community,

Registration for the 2015 Grace Hopper Celebration opened this past Tuesday. We have been floored by the positive response and excitement from our community members.

Unfortunately, the GHC Team also made a mistake in the registration form with one of our questions concerning gender identity.  While the goal of the form was to gather data on the diversity of our community in order to plan future events, the limiting nature of the “gender” question was a disservice to many. Some trans folks do, in fact, identify their gender as “MTF” or “FTM,” meaning that it’s important that we acknowledge that. The real mistake was not that those labels were used, but that they were intended to represent the trans community in its entirety.

We apologize for any hurt we caused our trans and/or gender-expansive community members.  We recognize that gender is multidimensional and nuanced, and that the options provided were insufficient for reflecting the scope of the trans and gender-expansive communities. In particular, we acknowledge the difficulty many members of our community experience in navigating amid institutions and organizations that are unsupportive of their gender identities, and sincerely apologize for our missteps. All members of our community deserve to feel included and welcomed, especially concerning gender identity.

After this mistake was brought to the attention of the Anita Borg Institute, we contracted a trans-identified advocate and diversity consultant.  We will also be working with trans (and gender non-conforming) people in tech to write articles about the challenges facing this community, and creating resources for them.

Our goal in asking for this information was to learn how many trans (and gender non-conforming folks) attend GHC, in order to better serve this community.  We are hoping this data will provide insights on trans-specific events, such as hackathons and meetups (both at GHC15, GHC, etc) as well as other research ABI conducts on diversity in technology.

The GHC Team has been working to come up with a prompt solution that more fully includes our trans and gender-expansive community members, while taking into account our existing resources. We recognize that a write-in box for gender identity that allows participants to simply mark their own gender identity is the optimal solution, but are currently unable to provide this service given our current resources. We hope that we can continue working toward more inclusivity, and meet the needs of our trans and gender-expansive community members as best we can.  (Edit:  Currently, the form lists “transgender” under the question about gender identity.  The word “transgender” is commonly used as a modifier, as in “transgender woman/man” but can also be used as a gender identity – as noted above.  Due to the structure of the form, how data analysis works for the form, and resources, the Anita Borg Institute is leaving it as a drop-down option on the menu).

Again, we apologize and look forward to seeing you at GHC15 this fall.

Resources for learning about trans and/or gender-expansive communities.  We will be adding to this resource list, so if you have a resource that should be on this list, please tweet @GHC.