Transgender philosopher on the job market

An important article by Rachel McKinnon, which will be eye-opening to most of those who haven’t faced these issues. Just one example:

You might think that trans status won’t be evident on a CV or in an application package, but that isn’t true. Many job candidates are approaching the job market with publications. I had two before I finished my Ph.D., for example. But they were published pre-transition under my male name. I’m a little lucky that my male name isn’t obviously male. If it had been something like “John” or “Dave,” there would be a clear disconnect on my CV between my current, legal name (Rachel) and my old name. That would effectively out me as a transgender person. I’ve since added a third publication to my CV, written under my current name, and one journal has agreed to change the name on one of my previous publications (another journal could not do so).

I have an acquaintance who was told by a senior faculty member to remove all mention of her male name from her CV—thus eliminating her past work and accomplishments under that name. It diminished the quality of her CV, removing evidence that she is a fantastic academic. That is not good advice, but we can see the motivation for it: Search committees will wonder about a candidate whose publications are under a characteristically male name, and whose CV and application package are under a different, characteristically female name.

Thanks, S!

7 thoughts on “Transgender philosopher on the job market

  1. Rachel, i’m impressed and so glad you’ll be at the cental 2013 APA. i have fantasies of hosting a party for all those who’d like to forget hard times. might not be possible, but Istvan Berkeley and I are trying hard to organize an event that would distract us at least.

  2. I have a friend who transed back when it was first possible (although, less overall effective). She dealt with the records problem by keeping her first two intiials and changing the actual names. She was not unhappy about that (there are TONS of modern ‘male’ & ‘female’ names that begin with K). Still I wonder, now, if she got to pick the name of her choice.

  3. P.S. I absolutely recommend against hiding one’s achievements. And I certainly do not think one should want* a position i where one’s colleagues would object to one’s own most profound identity.

    * I know, I know: it’s a terrible market. But being in a place where people disrespect you is a soul-crushing nightmare.

  4. I completely agree with ChrisTS’s comment 6. It’s also terrible advice to hide your achievements, imho, because anyone who would treat such a thing as remotely relevant at the time of hiring is even more likely to do so when you come up for tenure, when the stakes are even higher.

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