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Inclusion and diversity at Microsoft

Two nights ago myself, two Microsoft managers and three Microsoft engineers formed a panel on inclusion and diversity in the workplace. The settings, a room filled to capacity (guessing 400), two wine bars, cheese and crackers. We sat on stage, each with our own microphones. Yes the entire event was video taped by a professional team.

After a ten minute introduction by the sponsor (a Microsoft program manager) a question was asked, each one of us responded then moved on to the next question. At the end the audience was given the chance to ask the panel questions but nobody took advantage of this but at least for me five people came up either to ask questions or to say how proud they were of me for doing this. One even asked for my email as they are dealing with a transgender child.

The event was scheduled for a mere 30 minutes. I said up front this needs not to be constrained by time and they agreed which is good because the event lasted over one hour.   

When being driven back to my hotel I noticed a high number of notifications on my Twitter account, wow, lots of followers from the event, way cool.

Next day I had several people come up to me at other events and said they enjoy hearing me speak.

Oh, I was torn between indicating I was formerly male for the first question/give a short intro of yourself but ended up indicating by past. Got some blank stares like "really". What blow my mind was after talking about why we need transgender people in tech and why they are not (thinking fully transitioned vs in the closet) all I could focus on was the majority of people were applauding me which is a huge step not so much for me but for the transgender community at large.

Never thought I would be an advocate at this level but now so happy that I can be part of making people aware that the majority of transgender people are assets if given the chance rather than being part of low-income part of society. I did point out that like cisgender people there are indeed un-balanced people in the transgender community so we area in one sense of the word all cut out the same with a chemical imbalance (or is it balanced).

With that I would like to see others educate cisgender people showing them in a positive manner we are here, normal people that truly want to contribute to society, be loved, have friends and family and live together.

 


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