Thursday, 03 November 2011 04:08

Exploring Gender: The Interview

Written by  Cael

 http://www.careerealism.com/home/jtodonnell/careerealism.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/04.14.11-3-Rules-for-Effective-Informational-Interviewing-300x199.jpgI had a job interview today, the first one in about a year. And though I now go by Cael on a day to day basis, I have still not changed my name legally, so I still must legally apply as Mary. In the course of past interviews, it has always been difficult to try to figure out how to dress as my life has progressed. At first, it was easy—though uncomfortable—to put on some tight pin stripe pants and a spaghetti-string tank top under an equally tight button up shirt. Then as I grew more comfortable with myself, I would trade the tight pants for some men’s slacks instead. Little by little, my style changed to reflect my male identity, and I no longer own any women’s clothes.

 

 

The information sent to me about this interview recommended that I wear professional interview attire, which now means nice slacks, a pressed, button up collared shirt, and a tie. So I put on my clothes and headed to the appointment. I had a good conversation with the interviewer. The only point in time where it was noticeable that my attire was unexpected was when the interviewer came out to greet me and didn’t realize I was the one waiting for her. She overcame that set back quickly, though, and we had a pleasant conversation. No spark of judgment passed her face while we interacted.

But there is always that hesitance when approaching an interview. How do you interact? How do you dress? When being interviewed, it is always best to present yourself honestly in your mannerisms and the way you dress, if possible. In some places, it is unsafe to do so, and for those of you who face these challenges, things have gotten better and will continue to do so. Sometimes when you are transgendered and living somewhere not accepting of your identity, it can be best to move to some place safer and more supportive, especially during transition.

If you are looking to join a bigger corporation, it is always best to look up the company on the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index, which lists what kind of benefits are extended to LGBT people through the company. If the company supports transgender coverage, it will have practices in place to protect you within the workplace and in the hiring process, to some extent. All people have prejudices, though, and it is very easy for a potential employer to discount an applicant who is transgender by saying that applicant is not qualified. In this way, there are few true protections for transgender people who are seeking employment. You cannot police personal prejudice; you can only try to find people, companies, and areas where acceptance is more likely.

These are the things I try to keep in mind while pursuing my job search. If anyone else has any helpful suggestions, please post in the comments.

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