Hey, whoa, sorry, its been a while!  I have been busy teaching marching band all day everyday, so I’ve been passing out immediately after getting home.  Y’all, I love my job!  It is literally the best job ever, partly because I am really good at it, but mostly because it is the most fun thing ever, and the students are just so awesome!  I still go by my birth name at my job for a variety of reasons: the parents of my students already give me enough hell about having a lip ring and short hair, my job is to teach marching band, not spend all my time explaining queer theory and gender identities (which is exactly what I would do if all of my students knew…the questions would never cease), most of the staff at apex is VERY conservative, and this is my last year working with this school so I feel that it will just be easier (for the record, I rarely ever justifying things by saying they are easier…this is different because I feel like I could absolutely lose my job over something like being transgendered at the school that I work).  So, it was awkward getting use to the “she’s” and “hers” and “Beth’s” and I definitely had a few slip ups. First of all, there is a kid named Peter in the band, so every time someone was talking to him or correcting him or yelling his name then I immediately answered:

Peter, stop jumping around and get on your dot! 
My dot?  I’m on staff I don’t have any dots!
Um…I said Peter…
I know. 
Your name is Beth. Beth doesn’t sound anything like Peter.
Oh…hahaha…yeah…

Multiple times.  Then there was the night that I introduced myself as Peter to some band parents in front of the rest of the staff and some students:

Band Dad: Sorry, I didn’t catch your name.
I’m Peter!
Band Dad: What? (this dad was genuinely being honest and didn’t hear me and I have the feeling that he would have been totally cool with it if we left it at that)
Peter
Band Dad: Okay, Peter, well welcome to our home! (the staff eats dinner at a different student’s house every night for band camp)
Band Student:  HAHAHA her name isn’t Peter, that’s Beth!  HAHAHA
Oh, yeah, hahahaha, just making a joke….(oops!)

I guess I didn’t realize how hard it would be to try going by my birth name for a week.  WAY harder than expected.  Anyways, band camp was fun and I loved it and sorry I was gone, but now I’m back, so let’s kick off with something that has recently been a complication for me that the average human being probably wouldn’t think of as a problem: job applications.

Lets jump right in, here is the problem:  job applications require social security numbers (for background checks and stuff) and my SSN is connected to my birth name.  So, I have a decision to make, either I put Peter as my name and run the risk of them doing a background check before the interview and seeing that my name doesn’t match my SSN and then not even giving me a chance to apply for the job…OR I put my birth name on my application so that it matches my SSN and then show up to the interview totally male-identified having to explain my situation without making it look like I lied on my application (why would I put Beth when I go by Peter?).  It is sticky sticky and it makes me feel sneaky.  Either way, I’m not able to accurately represent myself on the initial application, therefore I am misrepresenting myself, therefore I feel like I’m doing something wrong and I easily confuse potential employers.  It is one hell of a hassle.  I usually just put my birth name on the application, because I am more scared of not having a chance at the job than having to explain myself to people (because let’s face it, I am explaining myself to people every fucking day of my life).

So then if I get the interview, I will show up totally masculine and the manager is expecting someone feminine and before I can even begin the interview I have to try to explain my situation as briefly and simply and casually as possible.  I think the key is acting like this is an everyday occurrence (which it definitely is when we are talking big picture, but on a smaller level individual managers probably don’t deal with trans issues on a regular basis).  I have to try not to confuse them (because the truth is, if there are multiple people qualified for the job, a majority of managers will probably choose the less complicated applicant, the one with less baggage, and the one who won’t easily confuse customers…now, I don’t know if that counts as discrimination, I guess maybe in an indirect way, regardless it is reality and it is a huge trans problem) and I have to make them comfortable around me. Usually, I rehearse it in a mirror before going into the interview and it goes something like this: Hi!  I’m Beth, but before we get started you should know that I’m transgender and I go by Peter.  Short, simple, casual, and honest.  And you know what? Most of the time the manager is just like, oh, okay, cool, nice to meet you Peter! And it is easy-peasy.  Of course, I have had negative interactions, I’ve been turned away before the interview even started, I’ve been accused of lying on my application, I was even publicly called a “she-man” (which, first of all, what the hell does that even mean?  Second of all, I have never in my lifetime heard someone use the word “she-man”, totally out-dated. Third of all, I am definitely calling corporate and showing my ass to them about how fucking rude you were to me in front of your customers!).

Despite all of the complications and possible negative outcomes, here comes some good news: I just got a job at Banana Republic (I know, right?  I thought they were super conservative too!  I thought I was basically completely opposite of anyone they would want working in their store…but I was wrong!) HOLLA!!!  Come drop in and say hey!

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