TU Wien Informatics

Katta Spiel Wins Pride Biz Research Prize

  • 2022-11-21
  • Excellence

The Pride Biz Austria association honors exceptional research to promote diversity and LGBTIQ awareness in business and beyond.

Katta Spiel was honored for their research on technological infrastructures and gender.
Katta Spiel was honored for their research on technological infrastructures and gender.
Picture: Glitter & Confetti

On November 16, 2022, the 13th Pride Biz Research Prizes were awarded to six exceptional scientists at the UniCredit Center in Vienna. The Research Prizes are sponsored by cooperation partners from business, industry, and the public sector and honor scientific works from different fields, that deal with the situation of gays, lesbians, and transgender persons in business and the working world.

The prizes are awarded biennially and decided by a jury of experts, including Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger (Rector of WU Vienna), Anton Pelinka (CEU Budapest) and Anna Steiger (Vice Rector of TU Wien).

Katta Spiel was honored for their paper ”Why are they all obsessed with Gender?” — (Non)binary Navigations through Technological Infrastructures”. The prize was funded by the Federal Ministry for Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection.


Gender is encoded in multiple technological infrastructures, most prominently in digital forms across educational, commercial, medical, and governmental contexts. To illustrate the pervasiveness of (binary) gender ideologies and the impact this can have on non[1]binary individuals – like me – encountering them, I conducted an autoethnography. For more than a year, starting with me receiving a legal non-binary status, I documented systems that did not allow me to register my gender correctly. The findings indicate how technological infrastructures predominantly encode gender as a fixed, immutable, and static binary variable with limited options for non-binary people to adequately register self-determined choices for gender and/or (gendered) titles. I further analyze the range of reactions that I received when proactively asking for workarounds, fixes, and updates, indicating how pointing towards those issues can trouble the status quo, identities, and power hierarchies in unintended ways. I close on suggestions for the refactoring of existing and design of new technological infrastructures around gender and reflect on the value of lived experience in knowledge production – as well as the cost it comes with for those doing this research.

About Katta Spiel

Katta Spiel is an FWF Hertha-Firnberg scholar at the Research Unit for Human Computer Interaction at TU Wien Informatics, where they work on their project entitled “Exceptional Norms: Marginalised Bodies in Interaction Design”. Additionally, they teach externally in the interdisciplinary Master’s curriculum in Gender Studies at the University of Vienna. Before that, they researched attitudes, desires, and interests of neurodivergent youth in digital games, collaborating with Kathrin Gerling and Fares Kayali as part of the FWF-funded projects Social Play Technologies and OutsideTheBox, both at TU Wien. Within these projects, they investigated the experiences of autistic children in technological contexts, moving away from empathy and developing a concept for Participatory Evaluation. Katta Spiel acquired their bachelor’s degrees in Media Culture (B.A.) and Media Systems (B.Sc.) as well as their Master’s degree in Computer Science and Media (M.Sc.) at Bauhaus Universität Weimar.

For information on current research endeavors and more, visit their website.

About Pride Biz Austria

Pride Biz Austria is committed to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people in business and at work. The association acts as Austria’s first point of contact for companies and politicians. It was initiated by the Austrian Gay Professionals (AGPRO) and the Queer Business Women (QBW) and bundles activities in the field of LGBTIQ in business. Projects include the Meritus Award for diversity management in organizations, the LGBT+ Business Forum, the Pride Biz Research Prize, and the Pride Networking Lounge at the annual Rainbow Parade.

Read more in their position paper (DE).

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