Hate Crime Blood Lust
April 20, 2009
KRXQ Morning Show Apologizes
June 7, 2009

No Match, No Job, No Surgery

Maybe it was my naiveté, but I always thought when I got my documentation changed, I transitioned, and was passable, that I’d be able to live the nice normal life I did before transition. It hasn’t quite worked out that way. Recently I was interviewed a few times and offered a job… and then I got that dreaded call.

“Marti, we were doing our normal background check and we have a problem. We keep getting a rejection with your gender.”

I had to tell my potential future employer that I am a pre-operative transsexual. In this circumstance, I was lucky. I am a skilled worker and the HR person that I was dealing with had family that was transgender. Had not both those things been in my favor, I’d probably still be unemployed.

There’s been talk about repealing Title II of the REAL ID Act, but so far there hasn’t been a lot of movement. As it stands now,  you can have all your documentation changed but one call to the Social Security Administration will reveal your transgender status. This is a form of ghettoization that subjects transgender employees to humiliation and exposes them to discrimination. For many transgender people, this is part of an ugly cycle of workplace discrimination that is almost impossible to prove (that being discrimination in the hiring process). This discrimination leads to increased rates of unemployment or under-employment. Unemployment/under-employment can lead to decreased health care and an increase in risky behavior (especially “pumping” silicone and black market hormones). Because the Social Security Administration requires sexual/gender reassignment surgery (GRS/SRS) to change a gender marker, this also mandates surgery for anyone who wants consistency in their documentation.

In many instances, this unemployment/under-employment causes transgender people to not be able to afford the very surgeries that will fulfill the SSA’s requirements. This vicious cycle of poverty forces many transwomen into pornography or sex work, in order to pay for the required surgeries and therapy.

In the end, there are very few reasons for an employer to know what genitals you possess. Until this section of the REAL ID Act is repealed, transgender people will continue to have skyrocketing numbers of unemployment, HIV/AIDS exposure, and poverty. Gender shouldn’t ever be allowed to be used as a weapon of discrimination and oppression.

  • Jamie Shiner

    3 years ago I faced the same issue. because of Social Securty I could not even get an interview as a CNA. I had 2 years experence and training but couldnot even get one interview even though most Homes had jobs posted in my area. I went to the Social Securty officein Green Bay, Wi and tried to get my marker changed with a letter from my doctor stating I had had my testicles removed. I was told this is not the surgery required. I then asked the Manager to get me a definition of what Sex Change is. I also asked for the definition for M-Fand F-M. 2 weeks I got a letter stating no such definition exhists. So I summitted a vague letter from my Surgeonthat did my FFS and it worked. This was accepted by SS and I got my marker changed even though I was still Pre-OP( I am Post Now). I wonder if the government has a good definition now days? Likely not.

    • Marti Abernathey

      It’s pretty random, I’ve heard similar stories like yours. It really does depend on where you go to have it changed.

  • Jamie Shiner

    3 years ago I faced the same issue. because of Social Securty I could not even get an interview as a CNA. I had 2 years experence and training but couldnot even get one interview even though most Homes had jobs posted in my area. I went to the Social Securty officein Green Bay, Wi and tried to get my marker changed with a letter from my doctor stating I had had my testicles removed. I was told this is not the surgery required. I then asked the Manager to get me a definition of what Sex Change is. I also asked for the definition for M-Fand F-M. 2 weeks I got a letter stating no such definition exhists. So I summitted a vague letter from my Surgeonthat did my FFS and it worked. This was accepted by SS and I got my marker changed even though I was still Pre-OP( I am Post Now). I wonder if the government has a good definition now days? Likely not.

    • Marti Abernathey

      It’s pretty random, I’ve heard similar stories like yours. It really does depend on where you go to have it changed.