Tag Archives: sabrina pandora

Hunting the job market and TRANSGENDER?

The job market being what it is, with a reported ten percent unemployment rate in Atlanta (that figure representing ten percent of the population drawing unemployment benefits- discounting those whose benefits have run out, or those who don’t draw unemployment) that means that competition for jobs is a bit fierce right now.  And employers know it- they are picking and choosing whom they hire, taking only the creme de la creme.  A recent study showed that most employers immediately discount anyone who has been unemployed for six months as an undesirable.  You obviously aren’t a desirable commoddity if you haven’t caught an employer’s eye in six months.

So where does that leave the trans community?  Those of us with passing issues face a number of hurdles in the job market already, and with employers quick to fire and reluctant to hire for the reasons of public image, HR issues and what they percieve to be ‘hassles’ in hiring the transgendered.  And even those who pass just fine may have issues with documentation, legal hurdles where everything is going along swimmingly until the gender marker issue or the birth certificate comes into play.

So what’s a poor girl to do?  Because I speak in generalization, there is no story that I can tell nearly as well as my own, and my experience tends to create the filter through which I view the world.  Y’know, like yours.  So with that in mind, let’s examine my experiences and I can explain how I arrived at my current solution.

Step 1: LOSE YOUR JOB

If you are doing well and cooking along in a career in corporate America, then more power to ya.  It’s a fine feeling- a steady paycheck, benefits and security as you work today to build yourself a better tomorrow.  And then all of a sudden the rug can be pulled out from under you- be it corporate downsizing in a poor economy, the company simply shutting down, a buyout where the first step is to slash staff or interpersonal conflict with a boss whom you make uncomfortable *cough cough*.  But pack up your desk, because you’re out the door, beyotch, bye bye bye.

Step 2: THE HUNT FOR JOB OCTOBER

Hey, no problem, plenty of fish in the sea, plenty of places out there in the same business, and you have contacts- put it out over the web and tug a little, something is bound to turn up in short order, just bide your time and feel people out and something will turn around for sure.  Update that resume and brush up on those skills, and the bank account can carry you for a bit, right?

Step 3:  WHAT THE HELL

Now it has been months, and no interviews, people aren’t returning your calls and you are really starting to sniff your armpits and wonder if maybe you haven’t got a trio of sixes branded on your forehead.  You’ve already started padding your resume and filling in that you JUST lost that job, not six months ago- after all, you know the company’s policy is to just give out the information that you worked there, period.  So you’re keeping hope alive as you go ahead and cash in the 401K- no biggie, rebuild it later, just keep paying the mortgage and putting food on the table for now.  Oh, and somehow you’ve put on 15 pounds, which makes everything better, right?  Yay.

Step 4:  WHAT THE F%$K?!?

Okay, now you have been out of work for so long you really are feeling like a leper.  Fast food jobs won’t touch you, clerk jobs won’t touch you- hell, you can’t rember the last interview.  The savings have run tight and the ebay store is actually a welcome relief income.  Depression has definitely set in and you are starting to think about answering one of those “Make $300 a day from home!” spam ads in your filter,  Your friends commisserate, yet nobody has a lead.  Your worries about the future have moved from “I’m sure something will turn up soon” to “Are we going to lose everything?”

Step 5: CHANGE THE RULES OF THE GAME

This is when you finally accept that for whatever reason, the cosmos has decided that you don’t rate a break.  Fifteen years in your old career?  So what.  Now you are overqualified, you cost too much and “oh my gawd I think that was a man in a dress” doesn’t even factor in anymore because the few and far between interviews that you have had resulted in good handshakes and feelings all around, but the cherry-picking of employers means that you aren’t being hired.  It’s time to try something else, and this is where you start investigating technical schools.  “Become a motorcycle mechanic!  Learn to be an accountant!  ITT Tech wants you!  Welding is in high deamnd right now!  Investigate an exciting career in comestology!”

A little research yields the information that student loans and grants are actually quite available these days, and sure enough, there are a number of career fields where being trans isn’t really much of an issue.  A tough mechanic chick who looks a little burly turning a wrech becomes a turnon rather than a liability.  A tall hairdresser with big hands and a winning personality is popular in any salon.  The little stout welder guy is handy to fit into those small repair spaces.  And there is a surprising amount of money to be made in those fields.

So therein hangs the lesson for today’s column; if you find the deck stacked against you and the rules of the game are getting you down, don’t keep trying the same thing expecting different results- that’s the very definition of insanity.  Instead, change the game and change the rules.  Find a new career field that suits you, get some loans- and with your name change, you might be surprised that suddenly you are elligible for all sorts of loans and grants now that you may previously have been cut off from.  Do your research, see how much money is out thre, and find a new niche to go with your new life.

After all, with all of the changes happening inside and outside of you, why not change the environment of your career as well, to match?  Because there’s nothing like a good transition and a fresh start!

Written by: Sabrina Pandora


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Filed under Job Market, Spout Out

REWARDS WHERE DUE

Sabrina Pandora

So here of late transwomen have taken a bit of a beating in the news, it seems.  There was the SNL “Estro-Maxx” skit which featured bearded guys in dresses mocking the hormone treatment of transsexuals.  Hey, lookie there, what a surprise, here we are again- the punchline of a joke.  Ha ha,  Look at the funny bearded men in dresses growing breasts.  They aren’t making much of an effort, just growing boobs and wearing dresses, and it’s funny because that’s what MtF transsexuals are, see?.  It am funny, am it not?

Yeah.  Belittling the struggle of transsexuals is super funny, so long as you view them as something other than, yannow, human.  I know.  We’re oversensitive and need to grow a sense of humor.  Here, have a laugh on me.

http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/estro-maxx/1279560/

Again, I have to point out… if it was a commercial about taking a drug to make black people become more white, would it still be funny?  Watching them wearing hip hop clothes with perhaps some awful plaid Bermuda shorts and white knee socks?

So then we move on to The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.  Craig loves the gays.  Craig is sensitive to the gays and their plight.  So that’s why we get his “half-sister” played by a bearded hairy man in a skirt named “Peg”.  We get jokes about his naughty bits being on display while he sits there in a skirt with his legs open, he gets called a “he-she”, and it’s all oh so funny, isn’t it?  So long as being a transsexual is a joke, then you betcha.  It’s freaking hilarious.  Here, look for yourself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1J1TDKptQs

Oh yeah, that was a barrel of laughs right there.  But is it really a serious problem?  To answer this, I think that Meghan Stabler, a member of the board of directors of the HRC of all places managed to sum it up best.

“We should all be shocked and appalled with what was coming out in the
current narrative of comedy. The lives of gay and lesbian people are
being woven into the fabric of TV shows such as GLEE and Modern
Family. Even though we have a long way to go before full rights are
afforded to us, we can still be shown as equals to our peers. Comedy’s
ability to mock that part of our community has significantly lessened,
but has it done so at the risk of emphasizing the focus on the
transgender community?

I think it has, and it needs to stop.

To many of us who have journeyed along the deeply emotional and
stressful path to transition our gender, the parody and acting
portraits were utterly offensive. Hidden behind and along that journey
is significant stress, deep emotion, extreme risk and even worse —
suicide or homicide.

To live our lives authentically takes deep courage mirrored with the
real fears and deep-rooted societal prejudices that all too often
manifest themselves as workplace bigotry, un- and under-employment,
loss of family and friends, and most unfortunately, harassment and
homicides.

Some will likely argue that the portrayal was humorous, a joke, but in
true comedy there is always a punchline. Unfortunately for this one,
and for us, there was no punchline, unless you regard transition as a
joke and therefore transgender people as a human punchline. In doing
so, the comic must also understand that in conveying it as humorous
comes the risk that sometimes transgender people will be the punching
bag.”

But then we get to the Living Social Super Bowl commercial.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33jb2Ns7yaQ

Now, at first, I wanted to sigh and call it yet another cheap shot at our expense.

But then I started looking at it and considering it.

The big burly lumberjack starts getting great deals.  They open his horizons.  He moves fluidly from one experience to the next, exploring life and tasting the sweetness of it until finally we see him as a transwoman, elegant, well-dressed, hair done up nicely, makeup just right for the occasion.  She appears to be happy, confident and in control of her life.  She comments that Living Social helped her blossom, and changed her life.  And it could change yours too.

There is no mean, harsh jab here.  There is no belittlement, no human punchline.  There is no lack of a joke if you are trans.  Only a montage of the journey of one man to discover all that life has to offer and exploring what he wants from it and who he wants to be… and eventually finding herself.  It is a transwoman being shown with dignity… yes, with some humor, but it is still better treatment of the condition than I think I’ve seen in a very long time.

We are quick to come to the forefront and say when we are angry.  When we see oppression, we jump to the defense, because people need to understand that it is wrong, and that we will not sit quietly and be mocked.  We are human beings and deserve respect.  Yes, we are quick to fight, because it is still so much a part of who we are, and who we must be in a world where we have so few rights and we are fifth class citizens.

But let us not be so confrontational as to forget to take the time to thank those who see that struggle and turn a kind and even eye to it for us.  To those who might show us in a kinder and nobler light.  To those who may see us not as a joke, but instead as brave and courageous explorers of the human experience.  When someone takes the time to show us in such a light, let us take that same time that we would to vociferously defend ourselves, and instead thank those who see us as people.

So thank you, Living Social.  Thank you for painting us in a positive light.  Thank you for not making us a punchline in an unfunny joke.

Thank you for seeing and portraying us as human beings.

Written by TQ Nation Contributor:
Sabrina Pandora

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Filed under Entertainment, Spout Out, Support