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I’m a transgender student worried about job hunting

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a junior in university. I’m transgender and have a mismatch between my gender identity and my body. I’m biologically female. I’m now preparing for my job-hunting activities. I’m worried about whether to indicate male or female for my gender on application forms and whether to wear a men’s or women’s suit.

In all honesty, I would prefer to choose male for both and live my life as a man in society.

However, I’m not certain whether people like me are understood and accepted by society. I’m filled with anxiety, worried that I may be excluded by the screening process on the grounds that my documents are inappropriate.

I can imagine I’ll have to live an enormously stressful life if I choose to take the appearance of a woman.

I am now looking for companies that do not require applicants to state their gender on employment application forms, but such companies are few.

I may not even be able to apply for jobs in the industry I want to work in.

I’ve come out as transgender to a few friends. However, I have yet to tell my parents. There are no adults I can ask for advice.

K, Shiga Prefecture

Dear K:

It’s true that many people are more understanding of sexual minorities than a generation ago, but there are still many prejudices and misunderstandings about them. So I can see that you live a very tough life.

I suggest you personally discuss this with seniors who have had work experience before you begin your job-hunting activities. Today, there are organizations that support job-hunting activities for sexual minorities. Seminars are held for these people, too. You may not find such an organization in your area. But I strongly suggest you find and contact one as soon as possible, attend a seminar and ask for advice, even if the event is held in a distant location or it takes time to attend such an event.

For transgender people, their situations and how seriously they wish to live in accordance to their gender identity vary. So I believe you can find useful advice that can be applied to your personal situation and wishes when attending such an event.

I hope you will make an effort to hunt for a job while cherishing your identity as a member of a sexual minority. However, I’ve heard some people came out during their job-hunting activities and were negatively affected as a result of people being too inquisitive about their situations.

If you have a job you really want, it may be a good idea to take the work as a woman first in order to achieve financial independence.

In any case, people with jobs who have experienced similar problems can give you good advice.

I hope prejudices against sexual minorities will disappear as soon as possible.

Masahiro Yamada, professor

(from Feb. 27, 2016, issue)Speech

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