June 10, 2024

Gender Identity, Leadership and Workplace Inequality

"Bring yourself to work" is all the rage in workplaces, but are we truly accepted for who we are?

In today's episode, I explore this question with my guest, Amethysta Herrick. She shares how she had to "squelch who I was because I had to."

We dive into the challenges of the transgender experience, the pressures of capitalism, and the importance of staying true to oneself. We chat about her personal journey in the tech industry, her experiences bouncing between societal expectations and her true self, and the profound impact of truly listening and valuing others' perspectives.

About Amethysta Herrick, Ph.D.: Amethysta is a writer, podcaster, and activist focusing on the origin and nature of identity, especially gender. With a background as a geneticist, chemist, software engineer, and manager, her greatest challenge has been addressing the misconception that identity and gender are concerns only for the LGBTQ community. Instead, she teaches that identity is an ongoing process every human engages in throughout life.

Connect with Amethysta:

Weekly newsletter | Ask Catherine | Work with me | LinkedIn | Instagram

Big shout out to my podcast magician, Marc at iRonickMedia for making this real.

Thanks for listening!


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If you accept all the defaults of your social environment, that doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be happy. It might, it really might. But if you feel this friction, if what we present to our social environment and that's not just physical that is physical, cognitive, behavioral, these are components of of identity. If the person you present to your social environment is different from the person, you know, you need to think about that. It's going to be difficult and you may, you will almost certainly face persecution, maybe people will be angry. Because you will find a lot of people don't do that.

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Do you bring your full self to work?

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Let's call it like it is you're just being just be fully you at the office is often a privilege reserved for white men, the rest of us are trying to fit into standards and norms that we didn't create. Welcome back to unset. At work, I'm your host, Catherine Stagg Macy and executive and team coach interested in the conversations we don't have. And in today's episode, I'm exploring this topic of identity and authenticity with amethyst, a Herrick, who, for years had to swell to she was to survive in the corporate landscape of America. And with history as a transgender woman, who's held senior leadership roles in the tech industry for over 25 years.

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And she had in her words are to choose between her success and the American Dream is a writer and a podcaster. And an activist, focusing on the origin and nature of identity, especially gender. Her background is as a geneticist, she started my father as a chemist, and then spent most of her work in corporate America as a software engineer and as a leader. And her greatest challenge has been addressing this misconception that identity and gender concerns only for the LGBTQ plus community, she teaches, and we get into this in our conversation, that that entity is really an ongoing process for every human for all of us, and that we have to engage with that through our lives. We talk about the tendrils of the transgender experience at work, we critique the capitalism, like why not the relentless pursuit of growth that is required and capitalism what that does to us as human beings, we look at masculine feminine traits in leadership and what does that mean? And how do we how do we lean into both of those, we challenge some conventional ideas of professionalism which often disadvantaged certain groups and look at the importance of really understanding and exploring one's own identity and and how it links to your to your well being it is with a great pleasure that I present to you this really important conversation with Amethyst to Herrick. I was just a welcome to the podcast. I'm glad we're hitting record yet together. And last.

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Thank you, Katherine, thank you for inviting me.

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So let's start with your mission, I think because I think the mission frames the entire conversation Share with us your mission in the world. All right.

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So we're gonna go with a very end mission here. I've developed a theory of identity and gender, that I think informs both there are two sides to this mission. The first is a very cerebral side of it, which, which is to say that our identity is ours alone. And that society can lay no claim to the person we know we are, because we know who we are, and nobody else can tell us who we are. So that's the cerebral side, sort of a theoretical side. On the practical side, what that means is that I believe, humanity's highest moral obligation is to discover and manifest who we are. And that doesn't mean someday down the road when you go, Okay, I've turned 50, I've retired now, I'm going to be the person I know I am. I mean, but to be that person every day, to look inside and say who am I, and be able to express that on a daily basis. There's a lot of research around how happy we become when we express the person we are. And interestingly, we also become more accepting of other people, when we accept ourselves and the person we are. And so that's where this mission comes from, when and where it's going.

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And you've you've spent 25 years as a as a leader in working in as a leader in the tech sector, part of where we land. What you learn today with this mission was an outcome of the of that experience. Share with us a bit more about that experience, and

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why education is actually analytical chemistry. I finished a PhD in analytical chemistry and then immediately went into software and was just sort of thrust into leadership. I never chose it exactly. But people would leave leaders with leave of groups that I went into I'm starting to wonder maybe it was me. Maybe that was the problem, I went into a team. And it was like the leaders when the hell out of here now, you never know, I'm leaving it open, you can just leave it open. But I would go into a team and a leader would leave where there would not be strong leadership. And so as a result, really by default, if you don't have a leader, somebody asked to step up. And I always ended up doing it. Not exactly because I was, I was interested in leading but because nobody else would do it.

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So I went from being an engineer back in, in 1998. Into ultimately really to focus on management and building teams and thinking about why teams function well, from about 2009.

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Forward. And interestingly, so I said, I finished the graduate school in chemistry, I worked for about 10 years in technology. And then I went back to chemistry for about three years, it was around three years, I did one year of postdoctoral research, and then I was teaching for two years at the university level. And I believe it was the experience that I had, when I started teaching that I realized, there's so much more to leadership than like telling people what to do. So that's why from about 2009, forward, I dedicated myself more to what makes a good manager, what's the purpose of a manager? And what is the distinction between leadership and management. So I ended my career, that sounds kind of kind of rough. I ended up retiring from technology, after having worked in a couple of executive level management positions, because I transition gender to produce from going from presenting as a male, to a man to presenting as a woman,

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and how and how did your experience and leadership and exploration info inform your thoughts and personal experiences around gender and gender identity?

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I've been thinking about that a lot recently. Because when I got into the workforce, I think it's kind of a common misconception that transgender people just sort of suddenly come to a conclusion and they go, You know what, I think I'm gonna wear a skirt. From today forward. It's very untrue. I knew by the time I was about 12 years old, that I was going to transition gender someday, although I really had no, no plan, or knowledge how was going to happen. So when I got into the workforce, I had been exploring gender for a long time, I have been dressing in ladies clothing for a long time.

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I mean, in graduate school, I would say I probably spent most of my weekends. As Selena, as I called her at the time that Selena is now my middle name, but that was how I spend my time. So when I entered the workforce, I was really faced with this difficult choice.

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Because technology, industry in general, particularly technology, is focused on men, it's run by men. And I could either embrace who I was, and live with might have been a happy life. Or I could play the game, which was to lean into being the alpha male and try to lead everything and technologies of strange industry already. I think that because everybody and most people in technology got there, because they were kind of nerdy to begin with. There's a lot of pressure to prove who you are. And so that means that there's a lot of yelling, I mean, even to the point where we go well, VS code versus vim tabs versus spaces, Swift versus C plus plus. And it's like, Listen, did we get a product out the door? Because that ends up being the bigger point. So your question was how gender identity ended up informing my career in technology. And at least initially, what I did was squelch who I was, because I had to Well, I felt I had to. Maybe it's untrue. I mean, this is what what does the teeth? Yeah.

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9098 was when I when I graduated, and yeah, I was an engineer. As a leader. Yeah, I think it would have been tough to have been transitioned to present as a woman and try to be a leader in executive management. It just I don't think it would have it was difficult enough. As it was acting the way I did it. I can't even imagine if I presented the way I do now. Because my managers, especially in the last, say, five to seven years have tended toward this. The cutesy term is tech bro. It's the the alpha male personality, ultimately that I believe brings toxicity to the work environment, because they're focused on looking good in their own rights. And then they're also focused very much on numbers, not people, which is poor leadership, bar none. You know, I don't think there's another statement I can make. I don't know if that answered your question adequately,

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does it just feel in my heart just kind of contracts and pain, this idea that you had some freedom of expression, or you felt you did at university, and then that just had to go back in it yet to be able to perform in a way that was just so not true for who you are.

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And I mean, I believe that a good leader will find out who people are, and play play up to their strengths.

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Identity. I mean, now I, I talked about identity. I mean, I do podcast about identity, I write about identity, everything I do is about identity and gender, and how important it is for us to find that. And to express it. Industry? Well, yeah, how about if I just say the workplace, I believe is highly focused on us suppressing that much better if you're just a cog in a wheel, to the industry to the company, typically. But you can see in almost every instance, if you have an employee who feels valued for the person they are, they will put out so much more effort, they are so much more loyal they are, they are more apt to do the innovation that a company needs. It makes more sense to to foster a person so that the person blossoms as themselves, as opposed to focus on what the manager or what the company would rather do. There's a long line, I could go down on that one. But, David,

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I think you're preaching to the converted, and for the listeners of the of this podcast, but I still think we are in a small minority of people who see the world that way. I don't think I really know the answer to this question. But did you ever have a leader, your boss where you felt recognized and seen for the value that you were contributing?

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I think that there was probably in in my experience, I would say that there was really one. And I won't say his name, but it was, it was the very first job that I had out of graduate school. And when I entered, so when I left graduate school ahead, gosh, how long was it, it was at least halfway down my back, maybe as long as waist length hair. And it was dyed blue, black, and I was very gothic and pale and tragic, and lots of rings and jewelry. And I was very gothic.

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And I thought there's no way, I'm gonna get a job and keep a job. If I look like this. Even even just coming out of graduate school, regardless of gender identity, I believe that there was a particular identity I had to portray, that I had to perform if I was going to be successful in business, in industry, in the workforce. When I got there, and this this manager, he wasn't exactly a manager. We both had had a manager, but he was really sort of my lead. I was mentioning about how I was in graduate school. And he said, Well, Why'd you cut your hair? And I said, because you know, I had to get a job. And he goes, Well, there are people here with long hair.

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Now what yeah, no. He says, Why did you stop wearing black because I had worn black fur.

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Oh, my gosh, I don't know many years. And I said, because again, I don't want to look like the freak at work. And he says, We have freaks at work. Like, what's the difference? He said, If you come to work and you're comfortable, you're probably going to do better. And this was at a time I mean, I was wearing khaki slacks and down. Yes. And it felt like lunch it Yes. Oh, it felt like such a uniform that was ill fitting. I mean, despite the fact that men's pants were have always been ill fitting on me because I've always had sort of hips and a bum. That's beside the point. Although I'm very happy to stay back now. Clearly, I felt like I had a uniform and it didn't it was just so wrong.

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So anyway, this was right at my very first job that summer that I was told, listen, if you don't act as the person you are, you're probably not going to be happy at work. And I didn't think about how important that message was until 10 years later easily. But it was very formative to to think that people when when left to define who they are will be happier radical pick apart period if this was crazy that that would be that that would be radical.

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But yeah,

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and yeah, I think you're you're really under some you're spot on with this idea that to fit in to the in Do you say industry is any sort of capitalist manifestation? That there are roles that you play? One of the things I hear a lot of, particularly from women that I work with is this idea of being professional. Like I never hear a white middle aged set man saying he worries about his professionalism, ever. But the women do. And I, if you dig it underneath it, it's like, oh, what I've been told, I'm too emotional, emotional for it, so that they might have shown that they were upset about something.

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Sure, I don't understand why?

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Well, I'm gonna do I'm smart enough to understand it, I get frustrated, that that we can't embrace some vulnerability and some expression of how we feel, and not shut that down. So it's another form of what professional looks like, and how we have to hide ourselves to fit into that.

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I can go off on a really big tangent, I'll try to make it as small as possible. So much of Well, I mean, you put it as a capitalist manifestation, I get sure capitalism, let me just use that word, we've come to view that every company should have never ending growth. If you have a company that has year over year, profit increase of less than a percent, then somebody's doing something wrong. The CEO down it doesn't matter who it is. But somebody's done something wrong.

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We don't admit the ability to consolidate, to rest, to nurture new skills. So now here's the bigger tangent, if you look at, I mean, this goes back many, many millennia, the way our ancestors viewed activities, they were activities that they viewed, I'm going to use the gender terms masculine and feminine, although this isn't intended to imply a physical sex of male or female. But they saw activities as directing and initiating and considered those masculine, then they saw activities that were receiving and nurturing and completing.

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And they called those feminine.

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Our industry now focuses, capitalism right now focuses only on the initiating and directing, they're unconcerned with the idea of nurturing the right unconcerned about the idea of building something up. Unless it's short term, and, and contributes to some year over year, profit increase or whatever metric numerical metric you choose to measure. Yeah, when you go into this, especially technology I found, if you go into it, and you say, Well, I like to make a team that functions well, a lot of times you'll get leadership who goes well, management, you'll get management who goes, we didn't really care, like get the job done as soon as possible. And agile methodologies were originally developed to combat that. The idea there has to be cyclicity, that you can go only so hard for so long, and then you need to rest. If you don't rest, then you burn out. And that's the end of it. And I can look at 25 years of my career to prove this. Because that's what I did was push myself really hard for 25 years now would continue to burn out and

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I'd have 25 years sprint. Yes, is what you were doing. sure many people can relate to that.

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Yeah, it's just not possible. But

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it's asked of us. And I think that's the hard thing, right? It's like people could be listening to this and going, Yeah, I agree with that. But I work in an organization who's asking this of me. But I think what happens is that people resign, like you, I started my own business. It's like when I'm going to have more agency ever what I'm doing work in a different way that allows me to be creative and to, but also to create and put out there and then to contract and consolidate and reconcile and rest and then come back out again, like the summer and winter cycles that we that we live through.

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Yeah, we tend to miss those. If I were to ask your listeners, how many leaves do they see on the trees right outside their windows right now?

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I wonder how many would go? Oh, yeah, well, two weeks ago, I didn't see a whole lot. But now there's a ton. And that doesn't make me great that I have I can look out the window and say, the ash tree that's in front of me.

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Two weeks ago, I looked at it and they were just little buds and now I'm looking at full leaves. It doesn't make me great. But we're very divorced from this sense of, of connectedness. And I don't want to say just to the earth, but certainly to each other as well.

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It's fostered now in our world.

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And we think it is because we're gonna get social networks. I follow 14,000 people on on Twitter and that actually that's not being connected. That's that's following 14,000 people on Twitter

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is not social connection. Yeah. No friend of mine did her Master's, I think Master's in I'm going to hash it out. But it was about the relational skills of the feminine or feminine energy and how they are marginalized. In in organizations, and I think that's a we're talking about Vienna, yin and yang, if that's what you want to call it masculine feminine energies has nothing to do with how you present. But understanding that we need both energies to balance it out.

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Can I go off on another small tangent? Yes, go for this. And so when you bring that up whether or not feminine energies are marginalized, I was presenting as a man. And what was interesting was that when I looked at my own leadership style, guess let's use that word. When I looked at my own leadership style, it was very feminine. I wanted to make sure that each of the members on a team felt that they gave a contribution. And in a big contribution, not just okay, you fixed a bug Good For You be quiet for the rest of the sprint. But that the bug that that person fixed was so important, contributed so much to the overall purpose of the organization, this person can feel nothing but pride for having fixed a one line bug.

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That's the way I seemed to work.

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And it's interesting, I was once given this piece of feedback that I managed to down very well, that was a way of saying that I nurtured the people who counted on me, because that was what it was, I saw these were people counting on me to make sure they had an environment where they could do the best job they could. I still think about this, occasionally, there are times that I would have a meeting, I can think of two times in particular where we had a meeting and I said, Listen, I'm sorry, we have a deadline, and we're going to have to reach or we're going to have to pull together. And in both of those meetings, I saw no hesitation.

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Everybody said, Fine. I'm gonna change my plans for the weekend, I'm going to do it, what do you need, and I was overwhelmed. For what it's worth, I'm getting a little emotional right now thinking about it. Because I treated these people like people and they were interested in doing their very best. And when I asked for more, they wanted to give it but I think I'm a little emotional. Sorry. I think that's because I approached leadership with both sides that I was able to nurture these people, so that when I needed to direct them, they were right there. If they're there is a very numb, so I managed down very well. But I managed up extremely poorly.

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Because I was hoping for leaders who would do the same. I wanted leaders who were going to nurture me. And mostly what I got was, well, what are the numbers, what's the schedule, you're behind schedule your over budget, which was a typical, almost never where we would have been over budget but and it was very, very difficult. It's very difficult to thrive in an environment like that, unless all you've got is the same thing to offer. If you offer that same thing, I'm going to walk behind my people with a stick and a whip. Unfortunately, what you get when you walk behind with a stick and a whip or mules now thoroughbred racehorses, who are willing to to throw all caution to the wind to leap over a cliff. That was rather poetic, but

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write that one down. I would say in listening to you and seeing our mood you are in sharing the story. There's a real vulnerability in in the nurturing stance, if we call it that, because it's not the place of I know, Bear. So this is what you need to do. Like there's a yeah, you're working with people, you're you're Yeah, that vulnerability is the best way of summarizing your story is a clear indication of that.

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It's important. I mean, I'm gonna say a generalization. And maybe I shouldn't say it's important to me to have enough eyes on a problem. There was one time that I was talking with, with my manager. So at the time, I was director level, and I was talking with a VP. And I said, so this user interface designer, recommend such and such on the VP says, I don't care. And I went, Well, me, this is what she does, like, chances are good, she ought to know. And he said, No, I don't care. She's a contractor. What do I care?

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We'll just fire her in a couple of weeks anyway. And I thought, that is precisely the the attitude. I mean, it was he knew best. And I don't care if you are a contractor with two years of experience. You focused on a particular you focused on something and if you have a recommendation, it's at least worth listening to. Almost everybody is worth listening to unless they come at you telling you listen, I know well, I know all in which case maybe you go you know what, maybe I won't listen to you. Sort of an irony Really? Yeah, that humility is is the the way to get heard. So I think that's important. I think it's important that we all that we listen to other people.

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I mean, it's I'm getting all mushy sounding here. But the point was, when we ended up doing the implementation, this contractor, and admittedly, she was fired months later, when when the company downsized, because of course, this is this is the politically correct way of saying, we had to fire half the staff because of bad decisions made further up. But when we discussed it, when requirements came down, and she said, Boy, how come we're not going to do this? And I said, because you could see fight or die in her eyes. I mean, there's management can can make or break a company just by listening or not, you choose not to listen, you're gonna have people who go fine, I'm, then I'm going to choose not to work very hard.

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You'll have to tell me what to do. And that's an integration.

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it's also in the, if we see this through the lens of masculine and feminine traits or energies, listening and witnessing, is a very feminine trait, beholding to the listening, the witnessing being seen, the long to be seen.

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I see you you see me that's, that's part of that feminine energy. Yeah, yeah. In our prep interview, you talked a bit about benefiting from the gender and equity in the workplace.

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Yeah, just say, but more about that for us. Now.

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A little part of me is ashamed of this. When we started this interview here, I said, I faced a choice. I could be the person I knew I was, or I could agree with what people perceived. And then I can make more money. And there's no doubt that there was no doubt that being white and male appearing in technology is valuable. Women are not listened to. I mean, I did my best. I mean, I had managers who would say, oh, yeah, let's hire such and such. She's a woman. And I'm sure it'll look good. And I thought, look good. Why do we care about looking good? Because I would want there were people I hired, who were women, because they were exceptionally skilled at what they did. And then they were looked at as some sort of like a trophy, sort of, Oh, good. And we got a woman. So we'll totally look diverse. And it's like, Huh, you have completely missed the point of diversity then. So regarding gender inequity, I mean, women are treated differently in this world. And for what it's worth, I mean, even having undergone gender transition. I mean, it's only two years ago, now that I started doing this. I have people mansplaining things to me. And I you know, which some for what it's worth is actually strangely affirming. I hate it.

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And I love it at the same time as I hate it. Yeah, it's hilly proving

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because it's affirming. It's like, yeah, right. Right.

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Yeah. To a certain extent to like the owner, why don't you step aside?

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This is man's work, and I go, Oh, really? Okay. I can take that I'll stand on the side look pretty.

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Those of you who are listening, because most of you are, there was a lovely flick of her hair, and with this lovely flick of her hair look

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pretty sad.

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What's your big, handsome man can help me out?

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Especially in technology, there's a lot of Well, listen, I know how to do things. So I'm just gonna get up in the way. So I certainly benefited from that there's no doubt that I would say my first 10 years in software, I was really kind of a, I was a bit of a prick. Not a bit. I was really just kind of a prick. Because I learned that the way to be perceived as powerful was to yell loudly. The more that you protested, the more people said, Oh, no. Maybe that person knows then? No, not generally. In fact, I've come to find that the people who yell the loudest typically are the least convinced of their own point.

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It's an interesting sort of irony. But there's no doubt I benefited from that. Having a loud voice helps. And I've probably advanced certainly much more quickly than if I had transitioned gender in, say, 1998. Because I mean, I actually looked into it in 2001. And if I had transitioned in 2001, I, I would imagine I would have had a very different career. Because I don't think I would have been trusted as much. I don't think I would have been promoted. I don't think people would have looked to me for leadership.

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Yeah, in part because I would have been feminine presenting, but also because I would have been transgender. And yeah, that's another it's another sort of stab that people take In terms of gender identity is, if you have a man who is effeminate or the opposite, a woman who is who is Butch, there's a suspicion. People are very, how come this person can't play the gender role? I expect them to appropriately? And yeah, I think I would have had a very different career. So I benefited from it, I'm somewhat ashamed to say I probably made a lot more money, you probably got a lot more positions than I could have. Yeah, a little ashamed?

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Well, I try to pay it forward.

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I can't imagine the struggle of trying to make that decision. At that time, near the politics of the time, the decisions you had to make was a path you choose, because he time he thought was the best for yourself. And the probably the safer. I mean, you haven't used the word safety, and I don't want to project it on you if that's not the case.

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But as part

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of that, it's interesting, actually, is it

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09am Where I am now. And at nine o'clock, I had an article that I wrote just yesterday, about that time about how I faced this choice. And you said, you have to imagine it's, uh, it was difficult. The funny thing was, is that it was not at all difficult. Because what I had been trained to believe, what I had what I had been taught, because I grew up in the 1980s.

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I was taught the Gosh, what was that movie with Kirk? Douglas?

00:31:36.420 --> 00:31:51.509
Maybe? Or Michael Douglas. I can't think of who it was. Yeah, Michael Douglas, I guess. But there was that movie, Wall Street baby where he where he's got his big huge speech. And he goes greed, for lack of a better word is good. Greed works.

00:31:51.509 --> 00:31:59.160
Greed. Now he goes on. And it's supposed to be this big inspiring speech where you go.

00:31:54.869 --> 00:32:31.470
Hell yes. You know what, I'm gonna go get mine. That's what I learned. Given the choice. It was like, let's see, I could be who I am. And probably never get a job where I could engage in the American dream. And then kept my housing and again, my two cars and going to get the chicken in every pot. I'm going to have my 2.4 children. And it was ridiculous. It's always been ridiculous. But it took me 25 years really, ultimately, to realize the ridiculousness of this constant growth mentality.

00:32:26.279 --> 00:32:48.269
The tears up people that tears up companies tears up teams, I can go on and on. And I'm sorry, I'm getting a bit impassioned about it. But it's like, it was not a tough decision. Because that's what I was told was going to make me whatever money status, fame respect, whatever.

00:32:49.799 --> 00:32:50.880
untrue, folks.

00:32:51.119 --> 00:33:15.210
Yeah, we're similar ages. I mean, that the 80s and the 90s. And my memory was a very expansive capitalism high kind of just grow, grow grow. Tech was the industry to be in, right. Like, everyone got bonuses. Every year, we had Martini lunches, and this London City, alcohol was involved. Compared to the contractions that we've experienced in the century, there was just too expensive.

00:33:15.359 --> 00:33:24.690
Right time. And that was your and your indoctrination of movies and the culture of of Oh, yeah, sign up. Here's the deadline. This is what you're signing up for. Yeah, it was

00:33:24.690 --> 00:33:37.920
a period of gluttony. When I realized I faced that choice there was was not even a product, it was not even a choice. It was like, okay, of course, I'll throw away who I am. Because greed is good.

00:33:33.329 --> 00:33:45.779
Money is good. Money will buy me happiness, even though I'm throwing away who I am. And I'm not going to be happy, I'll have money and then I'll be able to buy it got a trade

00:33:45.779 --> 00:33:46.890

00:33:45.779 --> 00:33:53.279
They'll be asking. I mean, it just, I'm just so touched that you're willing to share your story, because I think people have different versions of it.

00:33:53.309 --> 00:33:55.019
That raises hope moving.

00:33:55.259 --> 00:33:55.769
Thank you.

00:33:55.890 --> 00:34:07.380
You trade it in, I'm gonna make me cry in half. Well, you traded in me who you were to be part of the American dream, as you say, I guess fact, American dream.

00:34:07.410 --> 00:34:12.300
That's what that's the conditions for this fact that, yeah, I

00:34:12.300 --> 00:35:11.400
understand that now. And that's why what I love to teach is, is the idea that the American Dream is ultimately is a lie. There's no doubt that you can make money there's no doubt that that you can have a good life. Gluttony is not a way of is not a sustainable path. And I don't even want to go into it's one of the seven deadly sins because it has nothing to do with whether you want to be virtuous or whether you want to be vice written. The point is that we as humans, need to choose between either a short term pleasure or or a sustainable life. And this sustainable life is is done by figuring out who you are. This is what managers Need to do just what leaders should do? Believe it or not, your company's gonna get better because you're gonna have people who will work harder for you. I think I learned that by accident more than any.

00:35:12.630 --> 00:35:23.730
Now, if it wasn't through any training or, or great modeling of great leaders that you had, you know, I mean, you really did sort of stumble into that, in that way of being. It's

00:35:23.730 --> 00:35:26.610

00:35:23.730 --> 00:35:33.960
I chose to present as a man because I thought it would be easier. But I still had many, I guess I'll call them feminine traits. I'm very gesticulate.

00:35:33.960 --> 00:36:08.760
Tori, I'm very expressive with my eyes. You're watching me presumably I'm, you know, I'm trying not to look at my own face on the screen, but. But I emote a lot. And when, when given a mission, I will 100% believe it. And, and I can express that to the people around me. And as a result, they believe it too. These are these are feminine traits. These are not the alpha male traits. They don't care the like Get the fuck to work. Well, why am I doing this doesn't make a difference.

00:36:08.789 --> 00:36:10.739
This is why I make the decisions why I'm well you

00:36:10.739 --> 00:36:16.559
don't need to know what you don't need to know. Is that lovely out patronizing or your printable heard about us?

00:36:18.420 --> 00:36:51.570
But I think it was being transgender at the end of it that helped me figure out some of these truths. They don't I don't know how to put it. I mean, it sounds it sounds like you know, now I am kind of special. But really it was I looked one way so they get could get into a position where I could act the way I am. And it works. If it works. I don't know why people would not observe that. But there were, I guess, are a lot of things that we can see work and then choose not to want to see. Yeah.

00:36:52.260 --> 00:37:26.340
And yeah, and then sort of have the full circle here of your story. That particular story is ending. It's not the next chapter of your story has you in service of a greater mission. You're writing, you're podcasting. And I think that's a lot for me around around really owning our feminine energy is how do we be in service of an idea that will never be in our lifetime? Your mission will never become godsword obsolete, agreed by everyone. You know me? No, that's the beautiful thing about missions they are they are like really big ideas that we're striving for.

00:37:26.429 --> 00:38:01.409
Yeah, I have now that I've gone into companies, and seen the change that can be made just by treating people. Well. That's part of what I'm doing now is, is creating a company that teaches that and I hope to be able to give presentations to HR department. I mean, they seem like they should be stupidly self evident. Concepts. I mean, just to deconstruct them a tiny bit when I say your identity is your own. Every if I say look, what's your favorite vegetable, Katherine, what's your favorite vegetable? You tell me?

00:38:02.159 --> 00:38:07.079
Everything? No, it isn't. It isn't. It's broccoli. Like

00:38:07.619 --> 00:38:17.460
I noticed the the indignation rise from my stomach game. What? What the fuck? What do you mean? Who are you to tell me? It's not overseen like, yeah, yeah.

00:38:17.849 --> 00:38:35.190
And yet, if society says to you, well, you're supposed to do these certain things. You're supposed to engage in the the American dream, you're supposed to wear trousers, you're supposed to do whatever. I mean, I don't even care what it is. We accept that.

00:38:29.909 --> 00:39:01.559
So I, you will get angry if I tell you your favorite vegetable is broccoli. But we don't get offended when Society recommends certain directions for us. Yeah, so it seems like it should be self evident that yes, of course, I know who I am. or Yes, I can. I can be who I am or shouldn't be who I am. But then we also on the other side of that tend to say, well, I can do it. When I retire. I can do it on the weekends. It's just fine.

00:38:57.929 --> 00:39:22.170
And nights and weekends. I can be the person I am. And the answer is no, you can't. Because that that divorced. That was probably a better word that I want to use there. But if you don't have that integration daily, kills you. I mean, I wanted to die for so long. Now I don't. And

00:39:22.170 --> 00:39:35.639
I What would you say to someone listening to this who feels some friction between how near their identity? Sure. Anyway, we talked this in the broadest form, they're fitting in to something that's expected of them rather than who they are.

00:39:32.789 --> 00:39:35.639
What would you say to them?

00:39:36.030 --> 00:39:36.449

00:39:36.510 --> 00:40:13.559
I'm gonna take I'm gonna come at this a little bit circuitous, Lee so bear with me a bit. So I am transgender, and people have said, well, that is characterized by gender dysphoria. And I see gender dysphoria and much of the transgender experience is not matching on the outside. The person I know I am on the inside. And I think that you can find that all over the place. It doesn't have to be transgender experience. I think if you might my somewhat canonical example is a Christian white girl in Kansas. I don't know how many people are going to know what Kansas is like, for that matter, I guess,

00:40:14.340 --> 00:40:17.699
Dorothy in the UK, there you go. That's a dark the entire photo. Yeah,

00:40:17.730 --> 00:41:32.099
my canonical example, though is if you accept all the defaults of your social environment, that doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be happy. It might, it really might. But if you feel this friction, so to return to your question, if what we present to our social environment, and that's not just physical, that is physical, cognitive, behavioral, these are components of of identity. If the person you present to your social environment is different from the person, you know, you need to think about that. It's going to be difficult, and you may, you will almost certainly face persecution, maybe people will be angry. Because you will find a lot of people don't do that. I believe very strongly that when when I go into some forum and people people say, Oh, God, you're one of those horrible training people. Don't you know that sex is gender? I believe much of that anger comes from them looking at me and saying she was able to do what I've never had the courage to try.

00:41:26.340 --> 00:41:49.530
Amen. Yeah. And I think this is true. It's particularly obvious for me, but in my instance, in the transgender experience, but this happens every day, when it doesn't have to just be a gender transition, when you have the courage to do something, somebody else wouldn't even try.

00:41:50.429 --> 00:42:05.849
They'll get angry at you. So you will, you will find anger, you might find persecution, you would ask for what advice? Still do it? Because you will be so much happier. Yeah. Where do

00:42:06.630 --> 00:42:12.900
people find you? I'll put them in the show notes. Where do you want to guide people to they want to know more about your work in the world?

00:42:13.409 --> 00:42:17.460
So you can find links to all of my social networks? And there are five or six of them? Not really sure.

00:42:18.000 --> 00:42:45.420
Several? You can find that@amethyst.io. So somebody actually told me somebody gave me a great amethyst, a dot identity. Origin, I can't think of what it was. I Oh, was just cool. Because you know, that's the tech. Yeah. So let's take a look at this was more expensive than the.com. But in any event, and with this, the IO Yeah, yeah. So as ring to prove, right, yeah. So amethyst, a.io.

00:42:40.530 --> 00:42:51.599
All of my professional work, you can find on on the website gender identity today, which is just gender identity today.com.

00:42:51.690 --> 00:42:59.010
So if someone wanted to hire you to bring to come in and speak as you've talked about, that's where they would they would go to is that that second professional. So

00:42:59.010 --> 00:43:12.030
amethyst.io would be the way to get in touch with me. It's my podcasts and writing that gets published on gender identity today, in August is when I'm going to be introducing this new company that I that I alluded to earlier.

00:43:12.449 --> 00:43:16.679
We'll update the show notes. Now, make sure it's

00:43:17.309 --> 00:43:20.309
gonna mess around with DNS so that it all goes to the right place.

00:43:21.329 --> 00:43:22.800
As a geek in the house, yeah,

00:43:22.889 --> 00:43:24.960
good thing I know technology. Well, I

00:43:24.960 --> 00:43:37.349
have a sister i I'm deeply appreciative of you sharing the story and inspiration to to be who we are, because they were an office taken. Last go, squirrel course.

00:43:37.860 --> 00:43:39.150
Right that you can

00:43:39.150 --> 00:43:40.320
think Oscar Wilde for that one.

00:43:45.719 --> 00:44:10.349
I'm grateful to have this platform of unsaid at work and to have guests like here with us to who are willing to come on here and talk about such profound topics as identity. May we all be inspired by emphasize the story, and perhaps just bring a little bit more of ourselves to work. Here's to you being you, as Oscar Wilde would say, you know, because everyone else has taken. This is your wingwoman signing off until next week.