Transgender Business Leaders

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One of the biggest challenges for minority individuals, whether based on sexual identity or other factor, who are attempting to make it in business is confronting existing paradigms and structures. In the business profession, those tend to revolve around male dominance and control. This situation forces the individual to either consent and adapt to that system, or confront it and try to make changes to it to allow more diversity and participation by all.

Transgender individuals face this challenge on several fronts. There are a multitude of biases and stereotypes they must face in the business world.

Many successful transgender business people state that a principal reason for their success has been their ability to live their lives genuinely. They argue that they got into a business which allowed them to be themselves, whether amongst fellow employees, customers, or simply on their own. They have been able to successfully harmonize their private life and their business life. To do otherwise would have been very challenging and mentally exhausting.

In large organizations, having a supportive HR department with appropriate policies on issues of diversity is imperative. Despite the growing awareness of the challenges faced by transgender individuals in a business environment, many companies are ill-equipped to create the policies and culture that would support a transgender indivdiual. A recent survey revealed that 90 per cent of transgender individuals experience harassment or discrimination at work, forcing 77 per cent of them to hide their gender identity or avoid their transitioning. For the business, this hostility and discrimination increases absenteeism, undermine commitment and motivation, and decrease productivity and output of their workforce. It is estimated this results in a loss of US$ 64 billion in annual profits for American companies.

The transgender individuals who are successful in business have been able to overcome this situation. This success, in turn, has translated into confidence and comfort with their position and who they are. They are role models for other transgender individuals in business. To read their fascinating biographies, simply click on their names.



Great Britain






  • Christa Muth, Management Professor and Management Consultant


United States

See Also

Further Reading/Research

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