Glorious Waste

The high-tech industry is gamed against everything I stand for as an out, non-passing trans bisexual activist. Here’s what I’m doing with my leadership experience instead.

Gil Bahat (she/her)
Gender From The Trenches
4 min readMay 9, 2023


Have you heard of “Archive of Our Own”, dear reader?

Also known as “AO3,” it’s the world’s largest fan fiction site and one of the top 100 most visited websites. AO3 has earned recognition, including a Hugo Award, for its unique platform allowing millions of contributors to share their works for free.

AO3 is a supportive community in which women express alternative narratives and LGBTQIA writers share their diverse perspectives. It operates on open-source technology and relies on donations and volunteer support. It really is a technological and social marvel.

Wattpad, a would-be-competitor, was sold to Naver for 600$ million, leading some to speculate that AO3 could also fetch a high price if monetized — perhaps even reaching a “unicorn” status. However, the community values its creative freedom and chooses to maintain its independence, in defiance of a culture that prioritizes monetary and self-gain.

So, AO3 reflects a different set of values, prioritizing creative expression and community building over monetary compensation. AO3 contributors choose to participate for the love of their craft and the creation of a safe space, rather than financial gain.

Such glorious waste, to be expected of people who seem to have not figured it out correctly.

A picture of an envelope with euro bills of various denominations sticking out of it
Money — the only thing worth chasing in life, isn’t it? Image courtesy of Markus Spiske / Pixabay

I promised a post about the Women-in-DevOps group, the community which I have founded and now serve as chief admin.

About a year ago, I founded the Women-in-DevOps group. The idea was born from my desire to stay connected with colleagues and a negative experience in another DevOps community. To my surprise, the group quickly grew to over 100 members, and I found myself in a leadership role.

It’s important to note that anyone else could have taken on this role. I do not have exceptional skills or experience that sets me apart as a DevOps leader. Many of our members are more experienced and skilled than I am. I view it as a matter of pure chance that it was I who founded the group.

I recognized the responsibility that came with this new community and published a manifesto to guide us in our mission and values, one which was warmly received by community members. I am committed to fulfilling this vision and working with my co-admins and members to create a supportive and empowering community for women in the DevOps field.

I approached my role as the leader of the Women-in-DevOps group with vigor, passion, and dedication. In the past year, we have organized six meetups, established forums and WhatsApp groups, and provided opportunities for self-help. Our membership has grown to over 440 engineers and the group continues to thrive.

Our latest initiative is an upskilling program, where almost 60 DevOps engineers will have the opportunity to enhance their skillset by self-studying for the AWS Solution Architect Associate exam. This program promises to be a career-changing and enriching experience, fostering growth, camaraderie, and professional development. I lack words to express just how proud I am to be a part of this endeavor.

This brings me to my last point.

I posted the notice about the upskill program to LinkedIn and quickly noticed that overwhelmingly, likes and comments came from women. Very few of the many men who comprise my social network circle appreciated the initiative and most of those who did were AWS employees.

In the past, one of my male managers had told me that I am not, and will never be “management material”. “You just don’t have it” he said.

I offer my fierce loyalty, vision, and commitment to my community members. They know that I am dedicated to improving their professional lives and have the skills to make some of our aspirations a reality.

Why would they follow and partake, if not because they believe that I am worthy of it?

Am I really supposed to accede that the above does not qualify even the least bit as leadership?

I have not received compensation for my work and have invested countless hours and effort into building this community, instead of pursuing billable work or monetizing the group.

Such glorious waste, to be expected of a trans, bisexual, and demisexual activist who doesn’t have monetization, management, and leadership figured out.

Close Up Photography of Yellow Green Red and Brown Plastic Cones on White Lined Surface
Leadership — there’s only one way to do it, the cishet male path

While some will opt for building teams and management with little regard for diversity and biases, some of us look further and see a better future.

I am done playing a game with cards dealt exclusively by people with that kind of myopia. I am done trying to measure up to an uninsightful system of values, opting to push boundaries instead. And this means that I have now officially abandoned my dash to manage people in the traditional sense of things.

The Israeli high-tech industry has zero desire to see an out-and-about, non-passing trans bisexual activist as a manager of any sort. I will no longer seek affirmation from a system that’s gamed against me and everything I represent. It’s simply a waste of energy better spent elsewhere.

My plan is to be the best version of myself that I can be and to do everything in my power for my colleagues, my community members, LGBT folks in tech, and everyone else who is disadvantaged.

That’s the kind of leadership I wanted anyway. It’s not the leadership one would find in a job description, but it might be the leadership an entire industry needs to take a page of.



Gil Bahat (she/her)
Gender From The Trenches

A Gil, of all trades. DevOps roles are often called “a one man show”. As it turns out, I’m not a man and never was. Welcome to this one (trans) woman show.