Reflecting on Transgender Day of Visibility as a Transgender Goldman Sachs Analyst

In recognition of Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV), Maxton, a Compliance Division analyst in our Salt Lake City office, reflects on her coming out story, experience as a transgender professional, and the role Goldman Sachs has played in her career.

Tell us about your career path and current role?
Throughout college, I interned at various financial institutions in the Salt Lake City area, mostly in Compliance and Risk-related roles, before having an incredible internship experience in the Compliance Division at Goldman Sachs. This early exposure helped me develop a passion for regulatory and internal control issues which translates quite well into my current role. As part of the Know Your Customer and Enhance Due Diligence Team, I work to ensure that the firm is adhering to both regulatory and internal controls designed to prevent a range of financial crimes. This role gives me regular exposure to a global network of Goldman Sachs professionals, many of whom I consider to be close friends. I hope to someday attain a management role within the Financial Crimes Compliance space.

How young were you when you knew you were transgender?
This question is very interesting for me as my answer is not what you might expect. Thanks to a caring and supportive family, gender roles/norms were never really a strong force in my personal development. However, by the middle of my high school years, I think I could say I knew that I was not a cisgender man. In many situations, the male social norms expected of me were a burden on my identity and gave me a consistent feeling that the person in the mirror was not who I truly wanted to be. However, I was unsure which identity was most accurate in describing me.

My college years were instrumental in exploring my gender Identity. For me, that meant trying identities such as bigender, non-binary, and others before arriving at transgender woman. I think it’s important, especially around TDOV, for all of us to recognize that some transgender/gender non-conforming (TGNC) people explore different identities throughout their lives, and that is perfectly acceptable and should be celebrated. No two journeys are the same, this is just mine.

"Goldman Sachs encourages you to bring your authentic self to work."

How did Goldman Sachs shape your desire to come out at work?
Despite already being out with family, friends, and at school, I never thought coming out at work was something I could actually do when I arrived at Goldman Sachs as a 2019 summer analyst. Being born, raised, and employed in Utah, I felt that hiding my identity in all my previous roles was necessary for my own wellbeing. Fortunately, I connected with the Salt Lake City LGBTQ+ Network which is sponsored by my current managing director. It was specifically my experience with that Network as well as the (many) tears I shed when I read Maeve Duvally's coming out story that encouraged me to come out upon my return as a full-time analyst.

How are you marking Transgender Day of Visibility this year?
I am very humbled to say that I will be providing the opening remarks at this year’s TDOV panel hosted by our Diversity and Inclusion team. When I was asked to be a part of the working group, I was overjoyed at the opportunity to give back to the TGNC and LGBTQ+ communities which I hold very close to my heart. Working on the event has been an amazing opportunity for me to provide my own insights and learn from others. I am excited to share my perspective on visibility as a transgender woman at Goldman Sachs and introduce an esteemed panel of individuals with important experiences.

What does Transgender Day of Visibility mean to you in light of your own identities?
As a transgender woman, TDOV is very important especially given our current work from home environment. I have observed that visibility as a TGNC person is much more difficult when there is a lack of in-office interaction with coworkers. Nevertheless, I am proud of the strategies I have developed to remain visible and embrace my ability to show others the most accurate and authentic image of myself.

Additionally, I would say that as a white transgender woman, TDOV makes me critically think about how different groups within the TGNC community can face issues with feeling seen. When I consider TGNC individuals who identify as Persons of Color or Non-Binary, I can only imagine that their own perception of visibility could be quite different. I recognize that my ability to be visible in part comes from the privilege I hold from my own identities.

What have you shared with Transgender / Gender Non-Conforming people who are considering coming out?
I’ve always said that if they feel safe enough, go for it! I’ve encouraged colleagues to reach out to me if they ever wanted to talk about it. It’s a great opportunity to connect and learn more about their story while offering the best advice I could give, hoping that my lived experience can help guide them on their journey. My story is an example of why they shouldn’t need to worry about possible social stigma. The support I’ve received from my team, the LGBTQ+ Network, and others in addition to the resources the firm offers is proof that Goldman Sachs encourages you to bring your authentic self to work.

Any other advice or insights you’d like to share?
I would encourage anyone who is questioning their gender identity to not limit their self-expression and to try whatever they wish at a pace they are comfortable with. Seeking out peers who are supportive of their exploration can also help quite a bit, whether it be in the workplace or in one’s personal life, can also be very beneficial.