Job fair aims to help in­te­grate trans­gen­der peo­ple into work­force

Around 15 em­ploy­ers will par­tic­i­pate, po­ten­tially in­clud­ing the Cana­dian Armed Forces, Toronto-Do­min­ion Bank and Indigo

The News (New Glasgow) - - CANADA - BY SAL­MAAN FA­ROOQUI

A Toronto trans­gen­der woman is hold­ing a job fair geared to­ward trans­gen­der and gen­der-non­con­form­ing peo­ple to try to spark sys­temic change in the Cana­dian work­force.

Biko Beaut­tah, who came to Canada as a refugee from Kenya 11 years ago, says trans­gen­der peo­ple of­ten strug­gle to find work in con­ven­tional jobs and turn to things like drug deal­ing and the sex trade.

She started Trans Work­force, an or­ga­ni­za­tion that is set­ting up next week’s job fair and sup­ports the trans­gen­der com­mu­nity in Toronto. Af­ter mul­ti­ple at­tempts to set up the job fair, Beaut­tah said she was able to set up the event with help from LGBTQ com­mu­nity groups.

“The idea came around based on my lived ex­pe­ri­ence and my in­abil­ity to find work de­spite hav­ing nine years of post-sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion,” said Beaut­tah, a trans­gen­der woman who iden­ti­fies as fe­male.

“The con­tin­ued marginal­iza­tion of trans peo­ple, you can see it with how we’re not rep­re­sented in the cor­po­rate struc­ture ... we’re not given enough op­tions,” said Beaut­tah.

The ab­sence of trans­gen­der peo­ple in the gen­eral work­force is some­thing Beaut­tah sees as one of the ma­jor un­re­solved is­sues in the LGBTQ rights move­ment.

Beaut­tah said there will be around 15 em­ploy­ers at the job fair, which will take place on Nov. 20. Some po­ten­tial em­ploy­ers in­clude the Cana­dian Armed Forces, Toronto-Do­min­ion Bank and Indigo.

As more com­pa­nies be­gan to show their in­ter­est in the fair, Beaut­tah said that pick­ing em­ploy­ers who ac­tively wanted to nor­mal­ize the pres­ence of trans peo­ple in their work­force was an im­por­tant fac­tor.

A Face­book event page for the group shows more than 200 peo­ple are either in­ter­ested in the event or plan to at­tend.

While Beaut­tah hopes that events like these will catch on in other cities, she also said that the trans­gen­der and gen­der-non­con­form­ing com­mu­nity could soon reach a point where they don’t need to rely on her or­ga­ni­za­tion.

CP PHOTO

Biko Beaut­tah poses for a por­trait in Toronto, on Sat­ur­day.

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