I haven’t written here for some time, for a number of reasons – namely because I’ve been busy floundering around trying to understand where my medication will take me and how on earth I stop myself ending up being one of the high percentage of unemployed Two Spirit or Transgender people.
For those that haven’t read some of the earlier posts like “NHS Transgender ‘Care’ and me” I will re-cap. I am a 42 year old Transgender person, born natally male who has been diagnosed with a condition described by NHS medical professionals as “Late Onset Transexualism”, in simple terms they have categorised me as a person who has a condition that requires cross gender hormones to live a normally mentally healthy life, its not a choice, its the way I was born. They use the term Transexual, I prefer to call myself Two Spirit or Inter Gender, mainly because the term Transexual and the idea of changing gender doesn’t adequately describes me and my condition and symptoms. I will blog about this another day.
Suffice to say I was prescribed cross gender hormones by the NHS and they are thankfully working for me – the gender dysphoria has reduced and I am feeling much better within my internal natural gender identity, the balance is better in terms of hormones. What physical side effects I will go through remains to be seen but I am a firm believer in being healthy mentally is much of the battle when it comes to overcoming the rigours of life.
Anyway as I said I have been floundering around trying to understand what is my career calling. I am more than happy to ‘just to a job’ for the rest of my life and my self employed status provides me with a sustenance living at the moment – for that I’m thankful. However it seems that my job and 20 years of using a mouse 10 hours or more a day has taken it’s toll and I will more than likely have to switch jobs. So I feel it is time to try and do work that not only earns me a living but rewards me in other ways too, something to get excited about, and hopefully one where prejudice is kept to a minimum.
My quest has lead me to a possible career in counselling – both for Transgender/Gender Variant people, but also draw on some of my other life experiences and offer counselling to people experiencing the trauma of still birth or who may have been adopted. The question is where to start and how to gain funding? These parts of the equation are still under investigation but I can recommend to anyone in the UK the National Careers Service they are very helpful and really great on the phone.
Whilst talking to the National Careers Service it was necessary to explain some of the problems I faced with access to employment, primarily how Transgender people suffer prejudice and are discriminated against when it comes to employment opportunities. The lady listened intently understood and at the end exclaimed “that is such a shame, so tough and so unfair – I don’t know what to say”. I asked her if she had received any notes, training or otherwise to assist people such as me, “I haven’t and there’s no notes on the system” she replied. I explained that is such a pity that at least a small amount of Transgender specific advice or support wasn’t available on their system, Transgender people as a group have a massive percentage of unemployed, many I have heard end up with little more than state benefit or work in the sex industry (or both). I have nothing against how people choose to live their lives but having few or no alternatives isn’t a choice. In addition I must point out that I do not agree with the way organisations are expected to fill a quota of diversification – this is positive discrimination and equally bad.
In the end the lady thanked me for enlightening her on the topic of Transgender employment difficulties and said she would pass on the findings to her line manager.
The way she said “that is such a shame” was heartfelt, she helped the best she could and did a great job, but as she said you and people like you have added skills surely, an alternative perspective on life and the work place. I agreed, I personally believe Transgender or Two Spirit people can provide a good balance within the work place and have a greater natural ability to see both sides of a problem, the hard and soft side. It takes all sorts of people to make a world – but how Transgender people overcome prejudice and discrimination when it comes to employment opportunities is a tough nut to crack. Humans are naturally pack animals and seek to be with like minded people, whilst learning to appreciate small differences, we as a species expect a certain level of homogenisation with only a smattering of difference.
In an ideal world it would be great if we all had telephone interviews or blind auditions – like on the The Voice TV show. That way what we wear, how we look, etc wouldnt matter. If at the end of the blind audition we get the job offer employers should be obligated by law to employ the person, no matter what issues they may have to get over in their minds. Of course the person has to be able to do the job, but if you choose a Transgender person over someone else and the person you believed would to be a ‘regular guy’ enters your office or work place wearing a dress and prefers to be called Jane not James then you should by law honour the agreement and employ them, providing them with equal support and opportunity as anyone else. It of course follows that no matter at work, college, school, university or in life in general – we should judge people not for what they look like or wear but for who they are and what they really offer.
Maybe the law of nature is survival of the fittest and who is the most adaptable – maybe people who are Transgender people have been in training, learning to adapt and become strong. Maybe one day Transgender people will be seen as a stronger yet softer alternative to the standard gender binary – or maybe we will all simply learn to live in interdependent harmony. My hope is for the latter. Peace, Harmony and Tranquility to you all.