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Can trans people join Upwork? If yes, how?

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Ace Contributor
Fatima A Member Since: Sep 26, 2013
1 of 18

This is more of a question for the Upwork team, but anyone who knows can answer.

 

I have a friend who is a trans woman. She has solid professional skills and several years of work experience in her field, but she is currently jobless and homeless. I think working online would give her an opportunity to earn an income and support herself, without facing the usual discimination that trans people face in the (offline) job market.

 

Since I know identity verification is needed for the platform and rightfully stressed upon in the TOS, how does Upwork handle the particularly senstive case of transgender freelancers?

Community Guru
Dietmar Thomas B Member Since: Aug 11, 2015
2 of 18

Dear Fatima

 

That is rather a question that you should ask the Customer Support than here in the open.

On the other hand, we are a community that is after delivering high quality work to the respective client. Do sexual preferences play a role there? I don’t think so! Whatever he/his passport or ID says is what should be displayed in the profile and nobody will ever ask a silly question about it I guess.

As I said, we are a professional site that offers clients and freelancers equally a professional platform to work from. This is not an alternative lifestyle website. So who is going to know about any sexual preferences unless your friend starts rubbing everybody’s noses into it? Of course, to avoid any work related issues, your friend should display in case of an interview that uses cam option, whatever her/his profile states.

As an afterthought, even though Upwork might be ok with it, the work environment that he/she will face might be very conservative and have no understanding for it. To avoid that and for her/him to earn serious money the uncomplicated way, it would be good if your friend can achieve that.

After all, bucks is what we are after and not having to explain the same thing to every customer over and over again.

 

Wishing you and your friend all the best

Thomas

Ace Contributor
Fatima A Member Since: Sep 26, 2013
3 of 18

@Dietmar Thomas B wrote:

Dear Fatima

 

That is rather a question that you should ask the Customer Support than here in the open.

On the other hand, we are a community that is after delivering high quality work to the respective client. Do sexual preferences play a role there? I don’t think so! Whatever he/his passport or ID says is what should be displayed in the profile and nobody will ever ask a silly question about it I guess.

As I said, we are a professional site that offers clients and freelancers equally a professional platform to work from. This is not an alternative lifestyle website. So who is going to know about any sexual preferences unless your friend starts rubbing everybody’s noses into it? Of course, to avoid any work related issues, your friend should display in case of an interview that uses cam option, whatever her/his profile states.

As an afterthought, even though Upwork might be ok with it, the work environment that he/she will face might be very conservative and have no understanding for it. To avoid that and for her/him to earn serious money the uncomplicated way, it would be good if your friend can achieve that.

After all, bucks is what we are after and not having to explain the same thing to every customer over and over again.

 

Wishing you and your friend all the best

Thomas


 Hi Thomas,

 

I thought about that but chose to ask this here instead because:

a) It's not a support ticket, and not a "problem" I'm experiencing with the system. No need to hold up the queue with questions about policy (that the community management team might be able to answer better anyway) when other people might have problems such as missing connects, disputes, etc.

b) This question and its answer could be helpful to other people as well, so keeping it in a public place that search engines might reach would be good for reference.

 

"Whatever he/his passport or ID says is what should be displayed in the profile and nobody will ever ask a silly question about it I guess."

This is exactly the problem, you see. It's not a question of sexual preference. It's a question of gender/sexual identity. My friend is a woman but she was assigned male at birth. Her passport and ID would not match her profile information and picture. My friend is also post-transition. It would be wrong and cruel to force her to portray herself as a man in order to avoid being destitute. It would also be false, since when her clients would talk to her, they would see she's a woman.

 

Yes, this is not an alternative lifestyles website. This is a professional platform for work, and my friend wants to work. She is competent, motivated, and I have full faith in the professionality of this website (the Upwork team, my fellow freelancers, and the client base as a whole) to provide her with the exact opposite of a "conservative" work environment. I believe that most people on this website are interested in working professionally and/or getting work done by professionals. Upwork has been a blessing for a lot of people I know, helping them find paying jobs in a poor economy or in the face of discrimination. A few months back, I read the story of another freelancer (also shared as a forum post) who was also able to work his way out of homelessness and afford a decent lifestyle for himself and his child. So I don't think I'm overestimating the life-changing power of this platform and "oConomy" as they used to call it.

 

That's why I have been trying to convince her to join Upwork, to bring her skills to a market that would be more likely to value the work she can do instead of discriminating against her as a person, and I would like to know what possible hurdles (such as the ID "mismatch") there may be in the process of getting her on this platform, as well as the ways Upwork ensures nobody is unfairly or unwittingly discriminated against on the basis of identity by its requirements.

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
4 of 18

Your friend should use her legal name (whether that is her birthname, or one she legally changed it to) on Upwork.

 

There is obviously no discrimination, but your friend should use whatever her legal details are.

 

That means if the passport says that the legal name is Fred Smith then Fred smith needs to be the name of the profile. If the legal name is Francine Smith and the passport says "Francine Smith" then Francine Smith needs to be the name of the Upwork account.

Community Guru
Marcia M Member Since: Apr 3, 2013
5 of 18
Does she have ID identifying her as a woman, in the name she uses in daily life, and does that match the name on her bank account (she will need someplace to deposit her payments)? If not, she can try explaining to customer service. This is about security issues involving payments, not prejudice.

Regarding actually getting jobs, most clients just want someone who can do the job.

In fact, it might even help her. I was once invited to write for a website on a controversial topic, and I got the job after the client asked me about my feelings on the subject.

I don't know your friend's area of expertise, but who knows? Maybe someone will post a job related to transgender issues, and if she says, "Well, actually, I'm transgender myself", she's got an advantage over other candidates.

Thomas, being transgender has nothing to do with sexual preference, and it is not a "lifestyle" - just to clarify.






Ace Contributor
Fatima A Member Since: Sep 26, 2013
6 of 18

@Marcia M wrote:
Does she have ID identifying her as a woman, in the name she uses in daily life, and does that match the name on her bank account (she will need someplace to deposit her payments)? If not, she can try explaining to customer service. This is about security issues involving payments, not prejudice.


 Thanks, Marcia! I will ask her about that. I'd also like to hear more from the Upwork team, since "Fred" Smith might set up an account, but the photo and the person liasioning with clients + customer service, should she ever run into a random glitch as we all have, would very obviously be "Fran".

 

Also, I'd like to clarify this again since it's been mentioned a second time: this is not about getting jobs but about getting onto the platform. The rest of us don't get every single job we apply to either (except maybe Preston) so I don't see why anybody else should be guaranteed to. But I don't want her getting booted off or blocked from signing up because the details don't match the person--that's what I'd like info about

Community Guru
Marcia M Member Since: Apr 3, 2013
7 of 18
Ace Contributor
Fatima A Member Since: Sep 26, 2013
8 of 18

Thank you very much! I'm definitely sharing this with her too!

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
9 of 18

I worked with a transgender client on Upwork for a long time, and absolutely adored (still do) him. I had no idea he was transgender and would not have cared one way or the other, frankly, and clearly nor did Upwork. I eventually figured out that he was born as a female but to me he was always the fabulous person he was and is and I could not possibly have cared any less what it said on his birth certificate. He was who he was as far as I am concerned, and still is (I am still facebook friends with him even though ourvery close working relationship ended when he changed jobs.)

 

I even remember a conversation we had about the differences between male and female management styles (his were clearly "male") before I had any idea.

 

Please encourage your friend strongly to give it a go and to be who she is and to contact support to get the finer details worked out prior to starting any contracts.

Community Guru
Dietmar Thomas B Member Since: Aug 11, 2015
10 of 18

Before everybody bites my head of :

 

a.) my refence to alternate lifestyle was made to make it clear that this is a professional site and nobody cares about how the other lives his life. We have not joined a sex site here after all.

 

b.) everybody has sexual preferences, whatever they may be. This was not trying to put anybody into a bad freme or such.

 

additionally c.) We all have a lifestyle, it is a word used to describe how somebody chooses to live his/her life.

 

Why do I feel like I tripped, slipped and fell into the meat grinder? People, you should know better than to put everybody's words on the gold scale!

 

After all, this is only a post and we are all free to comment our views about a topic! Besides I was giving sound advice and not even trying to tear somebody apart.

 

Wish you all a successful day

Thomas

 

 

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