cogs or components that slot into teams
to design products and write code. We
do not work in emotional vacuums.
Creative work demands you invest both
your mind and your spirit. Certainly
there is a great satisfaction to be found
in building useful things. I have personally found satisfaction hinges on
your relationship with colleagues, your
company, and your community. To be
marginalized, silenced, overlooked,
discriminated, or censured (externally
or internally) guts the fulfilment from
the greatest of achievements.
Being your best creative self is a
challenge. It requires technical training and personal development. It requires the freedom to take risks. The
company and community you work
in will bestow some of that freedom.
Ispent the first 27 years of my life pretending to be a boy. The first eight because I did not possess the language to object; the next 14 because I feared losing the life I was so ardently striving to build; the last five out of sheer momentum. At 27 I asked myself a simple question: How I would feel, looking back in 20 years,
if I wasted the next two decades hiding my true feelings and identity? The answer was
simple. I would feel regret. I admitted to myself right there that I am transgender. The lie,
that burden, was a weight for a quarter century. And then it was gone in an instant. I felt
Sometimes you must fight for it. You
must also grant yourself that freedom.
I had to find a community that accepts
me and I had to find the strength to be
honest with them and myself.
WHAT IS GENDER?
Each day you choose clothing that fits
your mood and taste. You shape your
speech in subtle ways. You express
yourself or hold back through myriad
interactions. If you never have before,
take a moment now to consider how
your sense of being a woman or a man
shapes your actions. And if you have
well considered how your gender informs your actions, take a moment to
The noun sex is often confused with
gender in common language. Sex, un-
elation. Five years later that elation has
resolved into contentment.
Although my circumstances are
particular, I do not consider my situation extraordinary. Everyone at some
point in their life faces decisions that
fundamentally shape their future.
Early in your career you buzz with the
energy of your burgeoning potential,
yet opportunities to channel it are
sparse. During this time, each decision you make—taking a position at
an established company or a risky
startup, pursuing higher education,
or jumping into the job market—has
very real downstream effect. The biggest decisions unfurl great tapestries
of possibility and you must trace your
path either way.
We are not machines. We are not
Creativity requires technical training, personal development,
and the freedom to take risks regardless of your gender.
By Jesse Beach