I just saw this post from the Society of Transsexual Women in the Philippines (STRAP) Facebook group page:
We all know it, getting a job right now is already hard as it is. Sure, you can always just apply at some random place and get a job but of course it’s not all about that. You need to think of whether you actually would like the job in the first place, if you’re qualified for it, if you think you would enjoy it, and if you think it’s something you can start a career from, etc. Now, things get much more complicated if you’re a part of the LGBT community, especially so in this country. We don’t exactly have the legislative protection from employment discrimination and even then, employers can just say you weren’t qualified for the job in the first place, even if you were.
For the L, G, and B people, it’s hard. But imagine what it’s like for the transmen/women who are looking for jobs. Like that post above for instance. Especially when you’re already in the middle of transition. The thing is, whether or not your lesbian, gay, bisexual, heterosexual, cisgender, or transgender, it shouldn’t even matter. We don’t work with our penis/vagina do we? But of course, we all know that for some, if not most people, it still very much is an issue.
When I graduated a year ago, I was still very much in bum mode. Not only that, I was also clueless and direction-less as to what I wanted to do next. Do you know how it feels when you have plans and all of a sudden, you discover that those plans no longer fit you? Well, that’s what happened to me. From the time I graduated til the time I got my first job at Greenpeace (a timespan of 4 months), I have been to 4 interviews, counting the Greenpeace interview. It’s not a lot, I know I didn’t look for much but of those interviews, 1 interviewer asked me if I was male or female (of which I answered I’m biologically male but identify as female), 1 conducted a 10 minute interview on me and never called back, and 1 panel of interviewees (for a research analyst position and upon seeing my resume) insisted I probably would not like working for them. Eventually, I did get the Greenpeace job and it was great. I worked for four months and I quit last June for reasons I am not willing to blog about. From the second week of June until today, I have been jobless. During that time until now, I have only been to one serious interview and I didn’t get the job (for some unknown reason).
Given that much interviews though, one can’t really infer that I got rejected based on my gender expression. But the thing is, one of the reasons why I haven’t gone to interviews that much in the first place, is that fear of rejection. I just can’t bear to know and be really sure, that I got rejected for a job post simply because I was a transwoman. I have been to some interviews and I know I’m very very much fortunate enough not to have some “incidents” happen to me, but it just freaks me out that those employers might be having some other thoughts at the back of their heads. Paranoid much? My mom doesn’t seem to think so. She tells me it’s one of the reasons why I’m still jobless. She tells me that the mere fact I’m trans automatically signals a red flag to employers out there not to hire me. And it sucks. My mom is all ok with the trans thing but evidently, not as 100% ok as I am. We even fight because of it; me insisting that me being trans is not the cause of the issue, and her insisting that it is. She’d go on saying, “Oh, don’t dress up too much.” or “Don’t wear makeup.” And I’d go thinking.. WTF!? Does my mom think I go in drag to interviews or something? Is that really how she sees me, just because I’m trans? It’s just frustrating. VERY frustrating.
The main point is, it scares me. And it’s unfair. I shouldn’t be feeling like this. No one should. Everytime I go out to an interview, I always have that worry that me being trans will be an issue when it actually shouldn’t. Why should it? It’s sad. I preach about LGBT empowerment and all that when in fact, I can’t even empower myself at times. No one should be feeling like this. I’m trans. Just like someone has blue eyes or curly hair, it’s just one part of me, along with many others that define who I am. I am a person who happens to be trans. Not a transwoman who happens to be a person.