Why Shouldn’t Employers Want Trans Employees?

Elsewhere a friend of mine was asked to put together a presentation to business executive about “why should employers want trans employees?” Someone else aptly pointed out that the question is backwards: “Why on earth WOULDN’T you hire trans people?”

That said, my wise and bad-ass friend, Grace Alden, had a stellar response:

“First select for the skills you need, and work hard to NOT be selecting on things which should not matter initially, like gender, race, trans/cis-ness, etc. All incoming résumés should be shorn of identifying information, to the extent possible.

Once you’re down to the pool of people where any of them would theoretically work, and you’re looking for the best of the bunch:

Understand that we are desperate for income, and when we find it, we tend to be very loyal and to work hard.

Understand that because so many people treat us like crap that we will tend to regard you as a cut above the average just for treating us decently.

Understand that our presence in your workforce will flush out the bigots in customer-facing positions who have gone unnoticed but who have quietly and subtly damaging your business by leaving certain customers feeling cold. Those bigots are the ones who will say they’re “just not comfortable” sharing a bathroom with us, and once you know who they are, you can monitor their behavior toward other minority customers, especially trans people. Understand that those bigots are the problem, and that their targets are not the problem.

Understand that like LGB people, trans people are brand-loyal to companies which demonstrate that they get it. When you see a trans person working at a company and apparently happy, it tells you a lot about the company. There’s a reason that medical providers who treat trans people like human beings suddenly find that they are trans specialists because 50% of their clients are trans. You want access to a loyal demographic? Hire a trans person to spread the word among trans people. Take advantage of the fact that most of the market treats us like crap.

Understand that trans people who are still alive have been through a hell of a selection process. We are, on average, smarter, tougher, and more focused. Some of us are twits, but some of every group is twits. Hire on the merits you see, but be aware that if you’re hiring a transitioned or stable-middle-path* adult trans person, you’re probably hiring someone with effective life skills. It’s not that trans people are smarter or tougher, because we’re not; it’s that the trans people who are LEFT are smarter and tougher, on average.**

Hire us for the same reason you hire veterans. Yes, some of us are damaged. But if we past muster for what you need done, we are a better bet than average. We are not a sure bet, but nothing is. We just stack your odds positively.”

Grace has given permission to share this wherever it might be helpful.

* “Middle path” is a term we use on that forum for people who live lives in more than one gender, but either cannot transition due to circumstances, or more commonly have no desire to transition (i.e. they’re on a middle path between genders). “Bi-gendered” is another term that’s often used to refer this group within the trans spectrum.

** 41 percent of trans or gender non-conforming people surveyed have attempted suicide — 10 times the general population. Yes, living in a largely transphobic society IS that hard on trans people.