Disclosure?

Within the transgender community, there are regular discussions on whether someone like myself need to disclose his/her transgender status to prospective employers. In my recent job applications, I’ve been very upfront about my “trans”-ness. But I also expect other transwomen to have come to different conclusions, and for different reasons. So I posted this question in a Facebook discussion group:

So I’m in the process of changing jobs amidst my transition. I’ve been very upfront about being transgender in my cover letters, and, for the most part, I haven’t had any issues. (May be this is an advantage of living in Canada?) My question is: is it wise to disclose that I’m trans? Not necessary? Bad idea? What are your thoughts?

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A Job Seeker, Once Again

In the past few weeks, I’ve sent out another round of job applications. Although I had a very productive July and August teaching summer school, fall and winter months are far quieter. I’m down from 20 hours of teaching in the summer to just 9½. While that’s still a very respectable amount of hours, I need, well, more. Now I’m looking for an additional 20 hours of part-time employment each week. The question is, would anyone (other than my current employer) hire a transgender woman? I consider myself to be incredibly lucky to be hired for the teaching job back in January. That said, looking for jobs as a transgender woman is not without difficulties. The jobs that I’m applying to teaching or tutoring position, which is by far my strongest ability. So far I have sent out 8 applications, and I have received one phone interview, and two in-person interviews. My interviews have gone well enough that I’m confident that I could be hired for at least one of them. We’ll just find out how things actually turn out…

Physics Tutor Kate

On the same day that I applied for my teaching job, I also applied to a few tutoring services. Within days, two of these companies called me. One of them was a tutoring service near York University, which, you may imagine, caters to first-year students at York. I went to an interview, trying to look as much a professional as possible. (And yes, as pretty as possible too, because, well, I like being pretty dammit!) My supposedly 15 minute interview lasted close to an hour. I got along very well with the manager, which I think is why I was hired at the end. I also got the feeling that the manager found me attractive; I think it was when he unintentionally gasped when he saw me. (That may be a whole different story for another time. Sufficed to say, I don’t feel creeped out when working alongside him.) Since the beginning of this month, I’ve been working 6 to 10 hours there.

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Physics Teacher Kate

Early in January, I applied for a part time teaching job at a private enrichment school on the north end of the city. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, but I’ve felt that being transgender my future in teaching was dim, especially in high schools. Nevertheless, within a few days of submitting my resume, I got a phone interview on short notice, then a couple of days later, a face-to-face interview. Not surprisingly, the school has never hired a transwoman before, so they didn’t know what to do with me. I was nervous as hell at the interview, until the second part of the interview, when I gave a mock lecture on the wave property of sound. At the front of a classroom is where I feel the most comfortable, and I think my passion (and my skills?) for teaching were on full display. I got an offer to teach their Grade 11 physics class on Saturdays, mostly on the strength of my Ph.D. and that mock lesson. I was skilled enough, well educated enough, and charismatic enough (as I found out later) to have done better than other candidates.

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