Joanne Lockwood: My gender journey

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Joanne, I think you have taken a very positive approach and I’m looking forward to meeting you. I think imposter syndrome is very common, regardless of any of a person’s many identities!


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Transitioning in the workplace can bring many challenges for the individual

“Like many, being open about my gender identity was something I found difficult. When eventually I decided to tell the world I still struggled with being open at work. As a partner in a small business I knew the impact it would have and there isn’t much room for disruption – so I bottled it. I negotiated my exit and took the chance to move on.

“I was initially reticent about changing my name on CVs and LinkedIn, but eventually took the plunge. Despite applying for hundreds of roles I had little success. I experienced awkward phone interviews, with my voice confusing the person at the other end. And then the uncomfortable conversation when meeting face to face and they realised I was trans – nothing nasty, but it made me very self-conscious.

“As trustee of several charities that embraced my transition, I knew I could function as a credible professional woman. I chose to set up a consultancy promoting diversity and inclusion to businesses. And after spending the initial months networking and meeting people, I found the world was more than receptive.

“My biggest challenge was overcoming my own imposter syndrome – that of my female self. The fact I was transgender was always the ‘elephant in the room’, or at least it was in my head.

“I still recognise the workplace challenges; businesses don’t want to hire someone different, they don’t want to have to learn to deal with you, and we must be better than the rest by a long way to be considered for a role. But I am now 18 months on and no longer a person who is only defined by being trans – being trans is just a part of me and not the only me. I am an entrepreneur, a friend, a colleague, a professional woman, and someone who also has a transgender history.”

Joanne Lockwood is founder and CEO of D&I practice SEE Change Happen

Further reading

Putting the 'T+' in LGBT+

Comments

Joanne you are without doubt a vanguard thinker in this complex area. Excellent stuff


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In general, the world is an open minded and accepting place. Race, gender, sexual preference etc... doesn't define someone and shouldn't become a big part of your identity. The fact that people feel the need to bring so much attention to these things is actually slowing the world progress to a better place, not helping it. I'm not saying ignore it, but quite often the problem lies with people self-identifying as trans etc... but getting offended when others identify them in the same way.


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Joanne, I think you have taken a very positive approach and I’m looking forward to meeting you. I think imposter syndrome is very common, regardless of any of a person’s many identities!


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Jamie. Take some steps in a transgender persons shoes and you may find that privilege is not spread equally as you suggest. Self identification has nothing to do with it - people should recognise the individual and what they can bring, not their own personal prejudice which comes into play far too much for trans folk sadly. Organisations that are not open to trans folk cut themselves off from a diversified experience and some great talent.


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I don't entirely agree with you Jamie but I don't disagree either. When someone transitions from male to female they should identify as female. But a lot choose to identify as 'trans' instead which in turn creates a barrier that was there. It's created a snowflake society. The world has gone from arrogant and prejudicial to political correctness gone mad. There is a balance that's needed but we're moving further away from that balance every day.


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Joanne gave a magnificent talk earlier this year. https://recex.net/talks/jo-lockwood/


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Michelle. I don't know if your trans or not but you've inadvertently supported my point anyway. In the business world, gender shouldn't be a factor and for a large number of organisations, it isn't. But you've just made it clear that you feel being trans is something that is important but is a hindrance. Your very need to highlight that someone is trans is an issue in itself. Truth be told, some small groups in society claim to be about acceptance and inclusion but actually exclude themselves without realising it due to their own narrow mindedness. Being different isn't an issue. Expecting special treatment because you're different, is.


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