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Cis-normativity at work: exploring discrimination against US trans workers

Mario I. Suárez (School of Teacher Education and Leadership, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, USA)
Guadalupe Marquez-Velarde (Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, USA)
Christy Glass (Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, USA)
Gabe H. Miller (Department of Sociology, Program in African American Studies, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Mississippi, USA)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 2 December 2020

Issue publication date: 16 August 2022




This study aims to examine how gender variation in trans identities shape exposure to bias and discrimination. The authors then examine how trans identities intersect with race/ethnicity, education and social class to shape exposure risk to bias, discrimination and harassment in the workplace.


The authors use data from the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey with 24,391 trans-identified respondents. To account for the nested nature of trans people in state contexts, the authors use two-level logistic multilevel models. The authors are guided by Puwar’s bodies out of place as the theoretical grounding for this study.


The authors find significant differences in how trans women and men experience discrimination. The authors also find differences in race, education and social class. Finally, the presence of anti-discrimination policies presents mixed results.


The authors’ analysis reveals important differences in trans workers’ exposure to discrimination based on gender identity, social class, race/ethnicity and policy context, and draws upon a rich and large data set.



We would like to acknowledge the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research for approving this team’s research through the use of the USTS data set.


Suárez, M.I., Marquez-Velarde, G., Glass, C. and Miller, G.H. (2022), "Cis-normativity at work: exploring discrimination against US trans workers", Gender in Management, Vol. 37 No. 6, pp. 716-731.



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