March 31st is Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV). This day is meant to celebrate the lives and contributions of trans people, while also drawing attention to the poverty, discrimination, and violence the community faces.
As a trans woman in the tech space, Clarity’s CEO and Co-Founder Alexis Moyse hopes that the company will cause a ripple effect across the industry both technically and culturally. When she and Co-Founder and CTO Greg Glass launched the IGA startup in 2020, they knew immediately that they wanted to create an organization that offered a workplace environment that celebrated and encouraged employees to live their most authentic lives.
On this day of Transgender Visibility, we sat down with Alexis to learn about her and her experience as a woman entrepreneur and CEO.
Alexis, in your own words, why is Transgender Day of Visibility such an important event?
I know many people have strong opinions on whether to share personal details in the workplace. One of the main reasons why I feel compelled to share my life as a trans woman is because unlike many other trans people, I have been fortunate to have the continued support of my friends, loved ones, and colleagues. Clarity Security, our investors Silverton Partners & Alumni Ventures, and customers have all been tremendously respectful and accepting of me.
However, thousands of highly intelligent, talented, and driven entrepreneurs who also happen to be gay, lesbian, bi, trans, or any other sexual orientation or gender are not afforded the same level of respect. They are repeatedly marginalized for simply existing.
What is it like being a trans woman and the founder of a tech startup?
I have been incredibly lucky to have a ton of internal support from our company, investors, and advisors. However, although there have been major strides made in diversity efforts within the industry there is still a lot of stigmas present. I get very anxious going into every customer call, onsite, or conference. I think that one reason for this is because as a founder, I don’t want people’s negative opinions of me to stand in the way of Clarity’s success. We are not yet at a place as a society where I will not receive judgmental looks, rude questions, or backlash for being trans and that definitely puts me on edge at times.
What is Clarity doing to help support trans people?
I wish we were in a position to do more, but as a startup our resources are limited. One thing we are very cognizant of is our culture. We put a lot of thought and effort towards creating and maintaining a workplace environment that is a safe space for all of our employees, including trans people and all members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Once we are in a place to do so, we intend to donate a portion of our profits to The Trevor Project. I’ve also been thinking about life after Clarity, and I’m interested in eventually starting an investment firm that specifically supports LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs.
What’s one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned during your transition?
The biggest lesson that has carried over into my career is that most of the time the worst scenarios that run through your head prior to making a big leap are completely unfounded. People are much more supportive than you think and will often surprise you with their reactions to you coming out of the closet, making a big life change, or for some reason starting a company (at the beginning of a pandemic and in the midst of a slowly developing recession).
What would you like to say to people who aren’t familiar with trans people?
Something that I would like to stress with people who may not be familiar with trans people is that being trans carries a personal meaning and the outward expression of being trans exists on a spectrum. Like many things in life, from political beliefs to how much you enjoy a brussels sprouts, being trans and a person’s transition is a wide spectrum.
For some trans people they may feel content with changing their name and pronouns.
For others they feel they had to lie about who they were for decades and had to look at a reflection they did not recognize. So, when they come out it’s an explosion of change and at the end you may see almost no resemblance to how they previously presented. While that is hard to accept, the person you see is who they really are.
If anything, these changes, large or small, should excite you because now you get to build an incredible friendship with a person who can finally be their genuine self.
What is a common misconception you face as a trans woman?
I think many people that haven’t personally met me expect me to look, act, and present a specific way because I am trans. They expect me not to listen to punk, wear jeans, hike, play sports, or go days without make up. I think they have this unintentional bias in their head based on pre-existing stereotypes that society places on men and women alike. I hope I can assuage that bias and help them understand there’s not a right or wrong way to be who you are.
Thank you for taking the time to share your story and your experience. This is my favorite part of any interview, the rapid fire “get to know you”.
Describe yourself in 1 word
Gnar or Devoted
Mountains or Oceans?
Favorite domain of security?
I am morally obligated to say Identity, but my guilty pleasure is email security. Shout out to Proofpoint and Mimecast!
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Baseball player was my first dream, then a chef (which who knows what will happen after Clarity!)
Brownies. My partner cannot make them or I’ll eat an entire pan in a single day.
Rock climbing and hiking! Or playing every FROM SOFT game on repeat.
What’s 1 song you could listen to on repeat until the heat death of the universe?
Nausea by Jeff Rosenstock
Probably Game 1 of the World Series Day. It may not be a holiday for everyone, but I certainly take that day off work.