The cost of crossing gender boundaries: Trans women of color and the racialized workplace gender order

Joss Greene, Woods Ervin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

How does persistent and cumulative gender regulation produce economic insecurity? Trans people face markedly high levels of workplace discrimination, unemployment, and poverty, and therefore offer unique insight into this question. Prior research theorizes how trans workers get repositioned in a binary, patriarchal gender order, but we lack a conceptual model to explain the labor market experience of people who are systematically sanctioned as gender deviants. By analyzing work history interviews from 23 trans women of color based across the United States, this article argues that crossing gender boundaries is a racialized experience that can come with an economic cost. After transitioning, trans women of color face three forms of economic sanctioning: exclusion, a racially gendered glass ceiling, and constrained employment options within a segmented labor market. Thus, work organizations premised on a hierarchical classification scheme have the option, not only to reposition people on the basis of a classification change, but to deem them unassimilable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalGender, Work and Organization
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • employment
  • gender and work
  • intersectionality
  • transgender
  • workplace inequality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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