Transgender at a Hedge Fund

Ashley617's picture
Rank: Monkey | banana points 40

I currently work at a medium sized fund. My resume looks like what you'd expect, highly selective undergrad, good work experience, MBA from a top 3 program, passed the CFA the first time through, and have done well for the year and a half I've been at my current fund since graduating business school. Now here's the fun part: I'm transgender (male to female), and have recently decided to come out of the closet about it.

I wanted to toss this out to the forum and get your thoughts on my future career prospects in the fund management industry. While I doubt my current firm will fire me when I come out (they are too smart for that from an HR perspective), I do think they'll eventually ease me out over time. It's a small shop, and knowing the founder he won't like being known as "that fund with a trans analyst". I would also like to move to a new spot where I can establish myself from Day 1 as a woman, if for nothing else than to lessen my professional baggage.

Given how competitive hiring is in the hedge fund world (as the giant forums on this site can attest), do you think I ever have a shot of being hired anywhere else?

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Comments (45)

Best Response
Sep 26, 2016

Nobody cares.

Keep it about the work. Most others will do the same, unless they're a real loser.

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Sep 27, 2016

People do care - and you should keep it about work, this also means keep your sexuality to yourself as that has nothing to do in the work place. We all have our own prejudices and you are more likely than not to encounter heavy prejudices regarding your choices, no matter what people are saying in this forum.
Also why are you even asking people on a random forum for advice on such a huge thing? Terrible idea.

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Sep 28, 2016

From an educational perceptive, this is one of the more helpful responses, and I figured there would be more of these. First of all, gender and sexuality are different. Gay, straight, or bi are sexuality, and one's sexuality can easily be kept to yourself. Gender is trickier because it's literally the first thing someone notices about you, so you can't really keep it a secret.

I'm assuming you're older, and probably don't know anyone who is trans. Ask your junior analysts, I'm sure they do know a number of trans people, and it's probably just not a big deal to them.

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Oct 1, 2016
Ashley617:

From an educational perceptive, this is one of the more helpful responses, and I figured there would be more of these. First of all, gender and sexuality are different. Gay, straight, or bi are sexuality, and one's sexuality can easily be kept to yourself. Gender is trickier because it's literally the first thing someone notices about you, so you can't really keep it a secret.

I'm assuming you're older, and probably don't know anyone who is trans. Ask your junior analysts, I'm sure they do know a number of trans people, and it's probably just not a big deal to them.

I'm a millenial in Washington, D.C. and I know zero trans people. Never even met one once ever. Since, at most, 0.6% of the population is transgendered, there are many, many, many people who have likely never met a transgendered person (that they were aware of).

For me, I honestly couldn't care less if a person was transgendered or not. But if I were hiring, all else being equal (which is truly never the case that all things are equal), I would hire someone who is clearly the same gender and sex. I've got 99 problems and dealing with the headache (HR stuff, bathroom issues, people's discomfort, etc.) is not going to be one.

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Oct 1, 2016

completely agree with you - if I was in a hiring role I'd choose the person whose sex and gender are the same. However this society is so fucking litigious that I'd probably be hit with a massive lawsuit

let's see Paul Allen's card

Sep 28, 2016
09grad:

Nobody cares.

Keep it about the work. Most others will do the same, unless they're a real loser.

While incredibly unfortunate, this is not true. There is a lot of latent bias, especially in finance, and especially in mid to senior level positions.

I went from a very LBGT friendly industry to financial services. I'm hetero but found it shocking how LBGT employees at all levels of the organization had to act differently at the bank to fit in. Being out seemed to be OK, as long as you didn't talk about it., bring a partner to events, or act outside of heteronormal in the workplace. I'm talking everywhere from entry level to division heads. Everyone knew for the most part who was part of the LBGT community but it was never discussed.

I would be proud of who you are and not try to hide your trans status. But you have some hard choices as to whether you want to become a potential agent of change (read: risk your career) or play heteronormal in the workplace like my former colleagues above.

A lot of people don't care - the problem will be the smaller number of senior people who do, or those don't care but think it will impact the firm's reputation, as the OP pointed out.

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Oct 23, 2016

To the op: the reaction depends heavily on the fund and the role. If you are in a client facing role then you are probably fucked (excuse the unintentional pun). Even if nobody at the fund cares they can't have you fucking up their client relationships. There is also the risk that either the firm management or the person you report to are assholes, in which case you're also fucked. Speaking personally, I've seen two different people come out as transgendered at my major HF (in non client facing roles) and there was no obvious negative impact on their careers.

Oct 3, 2016

Did you become a trans analyst" to move forward with hedge funding? Then you're golden.

Sep 27, 2016

Yup- just keep it about the work, the rest will all fall nicely into place when it should.

Sep 27, 2016

I personally wouldn't care if someone had a tail, as long as they pick winners.

kudos to you for coming out, I'm sure it's not easy

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Sep 27, 2016

You're going to be disadvantaged, especially if you are targeting boutiques and even middle market.

These are firms where hiring people is a personal thing. You will run into discrimination, you will have a hard time, but if you do your job well and you kill it, you'll do perfectly fine.

Just cause it'll be harder doesn't mean it'll be impossible. You already have the first job, so you're better off than you think.

"It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller.

"Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL

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Sep 27, 2016

Some people may be put off at first but eventually everyone will get used to it. The key is to make your work a focal point of you, not your gender.

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Sep 27, 2016

Pardon the ignorance on my part - but have you already undergone the transition? I think it matters.

While we'd all like to believe everything is work and performance-based (it's not), there's a difference between letting everyone know, "I used to be a male," and showing up one Monday with lipstick and a dress on and announcing you're now female.

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Sep 28, 2016

No problem on the ignorance. No, I have not yet come out as trans.

And just to dispel the stereotype you may be hinting at, no I am not a drag queen. I've already started buying my new work wardrobe, and it's pretty similar to my current one: trousers in neutral colors, button down shirts, and a few blouses. Just the tailoring, shoes, and accessories are different.

Sep 28, 2016

To get at what I think CaR is saying, you almost have to tell your coworkers. They would be pretty confused when they come back to work one Monday morning and there is a girl sitting in your seat. So let them know beforehand. I can't speak for everyone's attitude, but in general people will be accepting. He was just asking because there is a difference in telling everyone who knows you as a female that you used to be a male, versus telling everyone that knows you as a male that you will be a female in the near future.

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Sep 27, 2016

If you're in NY or CA I'm sure you'll be fine

Sep 28, 2016

Unfortunately no, I'm in the Midwest.

Sep 28, 2016

What was your name before Ashley? Maybe you can change your name to Ash-slay and profession Trannie dom porn, I hear it is just as lucrative.

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Oct 3, 2016

Sorry for being ignorant. Have you had surgery to change or you just want to be a girl? I guess my pt is - how easy is it for someone to know you were a guy? And when you go for a new job will you tell them you used to be a guy or will you just say hi i'm ashley

Sep 27, 2016

I doubt that anyone is going to know the fund as "that fund with a trans analyst." However, if they do, that's easy marketing, right? Should be a positive to the manager if anything.. If you think I am joking, sometimes something "edgy" (no offense, it's just that trans aren't that common. Maybe that's the word I should use?) usually does catch the attention of your target, and they usually remember you better for that. Maybe your firm is already notorious; I don't know.

I do know a local lawyer because he wears an eye patch. I ran a business, and one of my targeted marketing tactics backfired, but it actually worked the best because of the error. Just saying...

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Sep 28, 2016

I feel like most people that went to college have enough self-control to not make a big deal out of it. But that's an unusual thing to walk into in the morning. At best, it will never be mentioned directly. At worst, any small thing you do that goes wrong will be augmented into it being because you're the person that showed up trans one morning. We're talking about human flaws here when it comes to reactions to this type of thing.

"Loser terrorists" & "bad hombres"

"Typical candidates are those who attended a top-tier academic institution"
-Most job applications

Sep 28, 2016

I have nothing of value to add to the discussion other than wishing you the best of luck. Your transition wouldn't bother me but I won't pretend to speak for an industry. I hope the people in your shop feel the same way.

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Sep 30, 2016

Best advice is to ask what people in your office think of a similar situation.. say, " I hear that firm xxx (another local firm) just hired a transgender analyst, what do you think about that?"

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Jun 17, 2017

asking for a friend

Sep 30, 2016

Personally speaking, I and the people I know would be supportive. And, working in a place where one of our top management (CIO) is openly gay, our organization is definitely LGBTQ supportive. However, this is the East Coast, and definitely not the mid-west, so I would suggest you to try to approach it via below steps:

1. first talk to your co-workers, try to read them, and gauge how they react. that should give you a hint of how your new life will be

2. Let it process, and, in the meanwhile, schedule a 1:1 with your manager

3. Schedule a 1:1 with your HR dept (if one) and your manager, so that you have it official

As sad as it is, mid west is not 'broad minded' (apologies for generalizing), so you have to do what a lot of people do there - watch your back, and protect your interests first.

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Oct 1, 2016

The east coast is pretty close-minded, too, but about different things. Love to see how a conservative Christian is embraced at a Manhattan bank.

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Oct 1, 2016

Can attest to this

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Oct 8, 2016

No one cares. Wouldn't even come up unless it means you can't drink or something. In that case, it sucks when people want to go out to celebrate but otherwise no one cares. The issues you have from being non-drinking would be the same issues anyone else would have, not related to your Christianity.

Oct 10, 2016

I couldn't possibly disagree more. I've witnessed the discrimination first hand, and not even in Manhattan but in slightly less-than-extreme-left-wing Washington, D.C. financial services.

Oct 1, 2016

Without taking away from the validity of this question, I think I'm going to start a thread titled "Internet Troll at a Hedge Fund" and see if it makes the front page. This question covers a very specific set of WSO members and I wonder if my thread might have broader interest.

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Oct 1, 2016

I can't say about the midwest or a fund but on my trading desk this wouldn't help or hurt you. That said from a supervisory point of view you have a few practical questions to think about (and how you will minimize hassle for your boss).

  1. Changing your name: At my company (large company with cumbersome IT) email addresses are notoriously hard to change. Obviously the name in outlook can be changed but changing the actual address never seemed to work well. There will obviously be a process for people who get married / divorced / etc but don't expect it to be smooth and probably let them know you're ok with that.
  2. I would do your boss the courtesy of telling them before you tell your co-workers. Same advice as someone who is pregnant.
  3. No matter how much your boss and senior management are supportive of you the one negative thought they are guaranteed to have is "oh shit, this is a legal minefield". You know your firm best, but what I would have appreciated is after being told in person having you follow up with an email saying something to the effect of "thank you for being supportive when I told you, I know this is an adjustment for the team, I know there might be bumps in the road and I'm going to be easygoing about a few assholes that might take a while to adjust". I promise you your boss(es) will sleep better that night with that email. If things go really sideways down the road you can always document that and I don't think you have lost anything.
  4. I wouldn't meet with HR ahead of time. That feels like a way to put a negative spin on it and frankly if my employees are meeting with HR without me knowing it makes me feel like its about to rain shit on me.

As an aside I've had coworkers pull the team into a room; tell us "i'm on some serious psych meds and my doctor is changing them so if I'm a little irritable its not you its me" and nobody blinked. Nobody gossiped and nobody cared.

Can you gauge how things might go over by comparing to any gay co workers experiences? If that went well I think you'll be ok. Conversely if it went badly maybe I'm dead wrong thinking thing will go well.

I hope it goes well for you - I have always believed finance (at the trading level) is the closest thing to a true meritocracy due to the fact that everybody trading is unbelievably greedy.

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Oct 3, 2016

Nevermind removed

Oct 1, 2016

Chances are, doing so will probably mar your current position in one way or another. Many people including myself personally think that transgenderism is a mental illness, not to take away from your intelligence, I'm mad jealous of your job frankly. While we disagree with your lifestyle, you make your own decisions. Having said that, it'll be much less of an issue if you look for a job in a more liberal area, in fact the diversity factor (along with your qualifications) might make it even easier. But good luck

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Oct 2, 2016

Was at a conference this weekend and met a few PM's and HF founder's that were transgender. They stressed that even when their clients found out it was all about the returns (which they generated extremely well). PM me for more info.

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Oct 3, 2016

LPs can be pretty close minded. I mean what if your LPs are a bunch of foundations from the bible belt?

Oct 6, 2016

It definitely will impact your potential working for others. You'd need an ideal PM/CIO who would support you to death and that may be hard to find. Conversely, are you confident or developed enough to run your own strategy? There are probably many allocators who would kill to give you seed capital. Diversity in fund mgmt. is lacking and there is a concerted effort to see that change.

Oct 10, 2016

I'm probably getting to the point I could spin off and run my own strategy. Would you mind private messaging me any ideas on seed allocaters?

Feb 13, 2017

Tricks McGee.

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Oct 8, 2016

Co sign everything @Washedupandburnedout said. Realize that even if your colleagues are polite about it, it will take some getting used to. They will, however, get used to it.

No one will know your fund as "that one with the trans analyst". The idea of that being enough to 'label' a fund is, quite frankly, kind of laughable. You're just an analyst, not the face of the fund. Your trans status isn't even a footnote. If your boss eases you out, its a personal thing with him, not a business risk or reputation thing.

Hard to say exactly how the coming out process plays - on a small team its all about the individuals. With regards to recruiting, I might take the approach of just not bringing up that you were once male (to the extent you can avoid it given documents, etc you have to share). This is because I'm sure some people will take the @Washedupandburnedout approach and simply write off another potential 'problem' (side note: bathrooms? seriously? we're adults. shouldn't even be an issue for males/females to share bathrooms. presumably no one's going to the bathroom to ogle other ppls genitals?)

Good Luck

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Oct 10, 2016

Are you seriously suggesting that aside from the transgendered issue that people should have no problem sharing bathrooms with the opposite sex? I'm sorry but this isn't a TV show. In the real world people would be uncomfortable taking a piss with a woman looking in the mirror 10 feet away. Maybe if that's the only thing people ever knew (say, several generations from now) it wouldn't be weird, but for the 320 million Americans who are used to single-sex bathrooms that would definitely require a transition period (again, you're not talking about the <1% of transgendered people; you're talking about all persons sharing public bathrooms).

On a side note, every time I go into the crowded bathroom at my office some guy is taking a rancid, abominable crap. That's not exactly the thing I want to associate with the hot chick at the office.

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Oct 23, 2016

go here wallstreetoasis---->forums---->asset management forums---->asset-management-salary-and-lifestyle

post at (6/25/12 - 5:48pm)

The poster 'SanDiegoBolt' knows a M-F

Jun 17, 2017

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