By Clair Farley
As a trans woman, I have faced discrimination in various settings: college, work, the doctor’s office, public venues, events, and many other places that are important to our daily lives/survival. Today I see these challenges mirrored in my community while tirelessly working to find employment in a safe and equal workplace. Discrimination based on perceived or actual gender identity and expression is still an ongoing barrier in the workplace and beyond. Trans people continue to face harassment based on their clothing, self expression, and are constantly measured by the degree to which they are perceived as fitting into a masculine or feminine stereotype. Despite the efforts we have made towards equality, we still have work ahead of us to assure equal rights and economic opportunity for all.
Did you know that transgender job seekers face a high unemployment rate due to discrimination? Where I work, at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, we believe that employment is a basic right for everyone, including trans and LGBQ-identified individuals. This is why the Center offers a range of free and innovative LGBT Employment Programs to support success of diverse communities in the workplace. We hope to empower candidates to get back to work through our LGBT Career Fairs and one-on-one job coaching.
The Center’s employment initiatives—including the nation’s first Trans Employment Program (TEEI) —provides an array of services tailored to help LGBT people get back to work, transition on the job, connect to further training—such as Transcode, a computer programming series, one-on-one job search support, vocational case management, professional mentoring, HR training, and access to LGBT friendly jobs and employers.
There are also ongoing events that will focus on the LGBTQ community. We invite you to be part of the LGBTQ Economic Justice Week: Beyond Survival during Oct. 19-25, 2014. It is an annual week-long set of programs focused on creating a thriving community that has access to stable and equal employment, housing, healthcare, businesses and beyond.
Today, I have the opportunity to help others go after their dreams and share my story of resiliency to provide hope because despite the fear, I believe we can overcome discrimination and build a supportive community that not only survives, but thrives. I found love—got married, reconciled and created a family, and developed my career. I am no longer in awe of my own determination because as trans people, it is just in our nature. As LGBT people we keep going; every day I am honored to give back my community as they look for work, a place to live, as they reach for their goals and start to thrive – beyond survival.
I hope you share and join our upcoming LGBT Career Fair on Oct. 22nd and all our Economic Justice Week events. Also, hope you join me for the upcoming Workplace Summit workshop – Transgender Employment 201: Strengthen your commitment to workforce inclusion!
Click to see more events.
Clair Farley is the Associate Director of Economic Development, at the SF LGBT Center. She is an economic and social justice advocate spearheading the Center’s Economic Development programs at the Center. Check out her tips for jobseekers on U.S. News here!