Work in Progress

The job market is hard enough to maneuver without being trans. Add that factor, and it’s nearly impossible. Trans people are twice as likely to be unemployed compared to the rest of the population. 44% of trans people are underemployed.1 in 5 has been homeless at some point in their life. 
So here I am, in the middle of transition. I don’t look overly feminine. I don’t sound very feminine. But my name is unmistakably feminine, as are most of my clothes. My license still has an m on it. And my main source of income may or may  not be open for many more months pending contact negotiations. What do I do? Do I disclose being trans in my resume? At the interview? Or do I try to get through the interview without them figuring it out by some miracle and wait for HR to discover it? What do I wear? Do I go all out fem and hope nobody laughs me out of the office, or somewhat androgynous and hope I can still reasonably appear female still? 
I am fortunate to live in a state that has laws to protect against trans discrimination in employment, but really, how do you prove that? Those laws are fairly toothless. Especially in a right to work state that doesn’t have to even give a reason to fire, anyway. Especially when nobody even has to hire me in the first place.  
So where does that leave me? Where it leaves a lot of trans people, unfortunately.  Working low paying jobs to get by, trying to scrape together enough money to do what they need to do to transition, or stay transitioned. Made especially hard by most insurances not covering gender related expenses, forcing people to pay for doctors, gender therapy, surgeries, and hormones out of pocket. And for those who can’t afford the doctors visits and bloodtests, that often means buying hormones from less than legal sources and self medicating, because buying illegal medication and taking it unsupervised is still a better option than living and working as their assigned gender a lot of the time. 
Marriage equality is important, but why was that the LGBT flagship? Why not job opportunities and housing and more inclusive medical care? Why does what we look like cause so much trouble and get so much hatred? Some shelters will turn trans people away, even. Why is housing becoming a privilege? Why are jobs a luxury? 
It’s hard to find enough energy to change the world when a lot of us are just trying to keep warm and fed and employed in a world where a lot of people would rather us not be able to. But we’re only 1% of the population. We need the support of allies to help us vote for change. Fight like a grrrrl by pushing for progress. 
-Natalie

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