Los Angeles, CA–South Los Angeles saw the first ever Transgender job fair yesterday thanks to the work of Jason Hill, a social worker and trans rights advocate.
“For trans people, there is so much anxiety around interviewing because of how people respond to your outward expression. If you have a trans job fair, you have employers who have already said we want to hire you.”
Over the span of three to four months, Hill partnered with various organizations and companies to centralize employment opportunities to the trans community in South L.A.
The trans community continue to face barriers which makes their journey of securing employment more challenging. The national unemployment rate for the trans community is said to be three times higher than the national average, due in part to the stigma those who are trans and non-gender conforming face for their gender expression.
“In South L.A, this event is so important because the focus is always on West Hollywood and that’s not where we are. Trans people are the most impoverished, marginalized community; specifically trans people of color. We are not in West Hollywood. We are in DTLA, we are in South L.A, we are on skid row. It needs to be here.”
The trans job fair was made possible through collaboration. Hill contacted almost everyone that he knew and did the footwork to get companies involved.
Hill said that first he went to retail locations he knew were used to seeing trans people and asked for a contact in corporate.
“Honestly, people were down, that’s the surprising part. I did not have to beg employers to come here. I think that’s the really important message. This can continuously happen, it doesn’t just have to be once a year through St. Johns.”
He said that although he was the lead organizer, he would not have been able to make the event happen alone. Hill relayed that his employer St. Johns Hospital, as well as the organization Transcend, were tremendous in helping the event come together.
“Rex Wilde was an incredible business partner from Trans Can Work. Jesse Garcia, who works at St. Johns was also incredible. Robert Jimenez was amazing. We would not be able to do the work without the full team.”
Hill also relayed that he was very surprised and pleased with the turn out of the event, which was held at Los Angeles Trade Tech College. Over 80 employers from companies such as Viacom, Planned Parenthood and Bank of America set up information tables. Some even held interviews on the spot for some of the 400 job seekers who attended the event.
Companies present at the job fair included:
- Aids Healthcare Foundation
- Los Angeles LGBTQ Center
- Bank of America
- UCLA Health
- Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science
“The event for job seekers started at 1:00 p.m. By 2:00 p.m we had 400 people here. That shows we are here. We are in South L.A, we are in Los Angeles and we want to work, we are capable of working. People came with resumes. It’s not like trans people are this weird thing that maybe exist somewhere. I’ve never been to a job fair with these many attendee’s that quickly.”