Gender Ambiguity in the Workplace
Transgender and Gender-Diverse Discrimination
by Alison Ash Fogarty, PhD, and Lily Zheng
April 2018, 192pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-6322-6
$45, £35, 40€, A62
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6323-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Estimates suggest that approximately 1.4 million adults in the United States identify as transgender.

A delicate exploration of the discrimination that gender-diverse people face, this book analyzes the relationship between gender identity and performance in the workplace while considering the emotional and economic survival of those who identify as transgender.

The transgender community is more visible now than ever before, but the diversity within this community has remained obscure in the workplace as organizations, corporations, and institutions struggle to keep up with the rate at which transgender communities are gaining visibility. For leaders seeking best practices related to bathroom access, workplace transition, hiring practices, inclusive workplace culture, and more, this book offers guidance and novel policy recommendations designed to ensure the success of transgender employees.

Extending the existing theoretical literature on masculinity in the workplace, gender discrimination, and gender performance, the book introduces the new concept of “doing ambiguity.” It contains original research complemented by humanizing narratives from transgender people that provide insights into rarely explored non-binary, gender-fluid, and genderless experiences. In addition, it identifies factors that may preclude and minimize discrimination, including strategies pursued by transgender people at the individual level as well as policies employed at the organization level, and outlines a pragmatic set of policy recommendations for employers, community leaders, and others looking to help transgender people thrive in organizational environments.


  • Discusses long-ignored nuances of transgender identity through narratives of non-binary, gender-fluid, and genderless experiences, in the context of workplace discrimination
  • Extends existing theoretical literature on masculinity in the workplace, gender discrimination, and gender performance
  • Identifies factors that may preclude and minimize discrimination
  • Proposes a pragmatic set of policy recommendations for employers, community leaders, and others
  • Provides best practices around such policy items as bathroom access, workplace transition, hiring practices, and inclusive workplace culture
Alison Ash Fogarty, PhD, is a sociologist, sexual empowerment coach and educator, and the founder of Her work has been published in the American Journal of Sociology and Gender & Society. She earned her doctorate at Stanford University.

Lily Zheng is a design researcher with Stanford University's Diversity and First-Generation Office. A writer and activist whose work has been featured in The New York Times, Psychology Today, and Stanford Politics, Zheng speaks around the world on topics of social justice, transgender inclusion, and sexuality. In her role as a diversity and inclusion consultant and transgender advocate, she works with organizations to turn positive intent into positive impact through inclusive policy, innovative practice, and intergroup communication. She earned her master's degree in sociology at Stanford University.


2019 Over the Rainbow Recommended Book List—American Library Association, January 30, 2019


"This informative and analytical book, by Alison Ash Fogarty and Lily Zheng, focuses on the harsh workplaces experiences (embodying discrimination, isolation, and hostility) of 25 transgender and genderfluid individuals in the San Francisco Bay area. However, this work goes a step beyond by offering strategies for avoiding and reducing bias. It's a must-read for employees and employers everywhere."—Windy City Times, April 11, 2018

"A blunt primer and call to action for leaders serious about recruiting and retaining diverse talent."—Associations Now, June 4, 2018

"Gender Ambiguity provides many comprehensive narratives of transgender experience that anyone working with the trans community should read. By drawing upon the personal stories of trans people, Fogarty and Zheng are able to cleverly discuss the emergent implications of gender identity in the workplace. This book is perfect for everyone who is in business, education, or simply wants to know more about gender. The authors’ creativity and dedication to the trans community makes the book a delight to read."—Eli Erlick, Director, Trans Student Educational Resources
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