This platform is a project I’ve had in my head for a very long time, but the time never seemed right. For a while, it will probably be a bit of a work in progress as I decide on my message, my voice, and the topics on which I’d like to focus. With that being said, I do have a couple of core ideas based on my particular background and experience that have motivated me to write about IT.
The first of these attributes is probably already obvious if you’ve found your way here, but I’m transgender. I came out recently in the workplace and the reception has been particularly positive. Of course, as would be the case with many other higher education institutions, I am privileged enough to be employed where gender identity is protected by a policy prohibiting discrimination. With that being said, I would suspect that much of my experience would be universal to most other trans people practicing IT and other public-facing professions. My purpose here would not be to focus on the particular experiences themselves, but to provide any insight that I have learned from my own personal experience that would be helpful for other trans people on similar journeys, potential allies, and anyone who may encounter or work with someone like me in daily life. Before anyone thinks the latter category would be unique to certain areas of the country, I should remind you that I live in a small-sized or medium-sized city (depending on your perception of such matters) in the Midwest and I have been amazed at the tremendous size of the transgender community. So, we’re probably everywhere. However, my purpose here is to educate more than to advocate for any particular type of policy. As such, I am not going to judge anyone’s views on my identity and will welcome open dialogue when appropriate.
The other reason I’m writing has to do more with my background that finds me practicing IT at a research institution in the first place. I would like to think that I have pretty eclectic experience and insight, but that’s not at all unique to me. I’ve been fortunate to work with a very diverse cast of characters so I can attest that most of us practicing IT are probably more eclectic in terms of the lives we had before coming to this profession than you might otherwise suspect. In my particular case, I actually almost completed a graduate program in Political Science before finding a career-level position as an IT professional. However, I’ve supporting users in an IT capacity for about a decade and a half before that including part-time experiences while taking classes.
My background is primarily as a trainer on technology use and in the types of user support that most IT practitioners provide addressing specific issues or processes through troubleshooting and demonstration in person, over the phone, or in some other remote capacity. I have seen a tremendous amount of time in the field of IT and my environment over the past several years and the types of experiences I have shared have become the norm as IT has shifted as a field from addressing issues and managing systems to supporting user experiences. Over the past couple of years, I have steadily took on more management and supervisory roles to manage some of our staff, services, and equipment. In that capacity, I’ve become more aware of the “big picture” in terms of how our functions and processes cooperate to ensure an overall stable system of supported technology and a intended standard user experience across systems and areas.
My recent experiences have contributed to a desire or, perhaps more accurately, a need to share my insights with the world. In this manner, I hope to contribute to a spirit of transparency on why we (as IT professionals) do what we do, what it means to provide support for technology, and how we benefit from an environment of innovation, creativity, inclusion, collaboration, and research. In this manner, we can understand that we are responsible as IT professionals to consider the unique challenges and experiences of our users while remaining as open as possible to what we may encounter in our daily lives in the workplaces and the environments we help create.