Held this year at the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Village at Ed Gould Plaza on Thursday, November 7, the 11th annual job fair for trans, non-binary and intersex people is occurring at a time when the employment needs of this population are firmly in the spotlight.
“There is a bit of a cultural shift happening right now,” observes Eden Anaï Luna, manager of the Center’s Transgender Economic Empowerment Project (TEEP), which is co-hosting the event with the City of West Hollywood and Citi Community Development. “For example, Patricia Arquette spoke out at the Emmy Awards for more job security for trans people. POSE stars MJ Rodriguez and Indya Moore have also been bringing visibility to the fact that finding employment as a trans woman of color is incredibly difficult —especially for folks who engaged in survival sex work or other economies that they had to resort to—because no employers are willing to hire them.”
The unemployment rate for trans and non-binary people is three times higher than the U.S. average. The unemployment rate among transgender people of color is four times higher, according to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey.
“Access to job opportunities is a fundamental part of financial stability,” said James Alva, South California Market Manager, Citi Community Development. “By supporting the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Transgender Economic Empowerment Project, we aim to expand access to critical resources that boost long-term economic success for transgender, non-binary, and intersex individuals.”
TEEP has invited more than 40 companies and organizations to participate in this year’s job fair, which is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“You can expect a very safe space to be yourself, to present as you wish,” Luna says. “The intention is to have a space where people can look for these jobs without fear of judgement. Even if you don’t get hired on this day, you’re going to meet community members and friends who are supportive of your professional development.”
Since 2008 participating companies have met with more than 1,500 potential candidates from the trans, non-binary and intersex communities, resulting in hundreds of them being hired. More than 100 job seekers attended last year’s fair.
On the morning of the fair, participating employers are provided with a 90-minute diversity training on gender identity, sexual orientation, different terminologies describing non-binary and intersex communities, best practices for hiring and asking questions, and an update on the latest employment laws in California.
“Even though these companies have been known to be allies, we want to make sure they are ready and willing to interface with the community as respectfully as possible,” Luna explains.
Other components of the fair include one-on-one résumé assistance; workshops on interviewing skills, personal finance, and wellness in the workplace; a photo booth for professional headshots that can be downloaded on USB flash drives; and a panel discussion on what trans or gender non-confirming people can expect to experience when seeking corporate jobs.
The free event’s community partners are Trans Can Work, JVS SoCal, and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.
“The work we are doing together with the Center and TEEP is some of the most important work to be done in the transgender community,” says Trans Can Work Executive Director Allison Vankuiken. “At a time of low unemployment, our communities continue to struggle with poverty, violence, and disparities in health and well-being stemming from discrimination. In this, we believe that education and building bridges to economic opportunity can not only reduce many of the challenges we face today, but help our community thrive and rise to our full potential.”
Job fair participants are strongly encouraged to pre-register here.