I have been up north now for two weeks and have been busy applying for jobs and trying to get unpacked and moved in and set up a space in which I can work. I am a little frustrated that I haven't got a job yet or even an interview for something permanent and promising. As it stands now, I will be working a few hours a week (for trade in commodity or pocket money) building working bikes from other bikes. Maybe in this endeavour I can build myself a good bike in lieu of a pay cheque and upgrade from my Wal-Mart special.
Applying for jobs is the easy part. It is the interviews that are going to be tough. Are you a girl or a boy? is not usually a typical question that arises in a job interview but I am always afraid that it will. When applying to work at a mine, it didn't occur to me at first that I might be able to work there. Mine workers live in camp for two weeks at a time- in dorms. I asked a friend of mine who works away and found out that where she works only the workers employed by the mine get private rooms at camp. Anyone that works as a contractor or for a contractor lives in a dorm, of which there are only two: one for women, one for men. So now I am worrying if I do get an interview with one of them and have to decline a really good job because there is no place for me to sleep.
And exactly how do you approach that subject with a prospective employer? Right now there is absolutely nothing legally preventing someone from hiring me because I am transgendered. I have no protection under the charter of rights and freedoms. Bill C-389 seeks to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code to add gender identity and gender expression as prohibited grounds for discrimination. It had its second reading in parliament only two days ago. Welcome to the 21st century.
So what am I to do? Look around where you work, how many transgendered, transexual, gender bending, gender queer, or androgynous individuals are at your workplace? Would you work with one of us or are we too scary? Would your boss hire me or use the excuse that it would be too awkward for everyone else in the workplace? Is it okay for your boss to make that decision for you?
Okay maybe you don't care, maybe it doesn't matter, or maybe working with me really scares the crap out of you. I mean it's like working with any queer or person of a different culture, some of that will rub off on you right? You might suddenly wake up one morning and just feel more Chinese than you've ever felt. You might choose a tie that actually matches your shirt. Or worst case scenario, you might suddenly be open minded and willing to try new things, like Indian rice, flannel shirts, or warming lube. The horror!!
How terrifying would it be if you wake up one morning and feel like you could actually ask me a question, have a conversation, and educate yourself. What happens when you realize we have something in common? What if we enjoy the same things like fishing, hiking, bad jokes, and discover we both hate lima beans, horseradish, and little pink umbrellas in a cocktail? How scary is that? I mean there has been loads of horror movies made about just that, hasn't there?