The other day at dinner a good friend, one who cares about me quite sincerely, suggested that I might actually be unemployable as a result of having transitioned. He was obviously reacting out of skepticism born of his own cultural bias, but still, I wonder how correct he is?
In the course of my transition in a rather public career in high-tech sales, I "came out" very visibly, to hundreds of people; family, friends, customers, vendors, and co-workers alike. I have to say, my greatest surprise through this experience has been how gracious, understanding, and encouraging my various work relationships have been since my transition. This attitude has become so common, that I suspect anyone who might feel contempt for me and my situation may actually feel their opinion has become socially marginalized. They may feel they must keep those opinions to themselves, both because HR has made it clear they would not approve of any discriminatory behaviors, but also because more of their co-workers would disapprove of their attitude than would disapprove of my life as a transsexual. Societal attitudes really have changed quite remarkably in my lifetime.
I can't help but wonder though, even with a graduate business degree, about 35 years experience in my career, many successes to my credit, and many career referrals, how many of those people and companies would actually have the courage to offer me a job today if I were looking? So many people have been so wonderful to me since my transition, I would like to think someone would recognize my value, and consider it an opportunity to both hire a talented employee, and one who might feel particularly loyal as a result of their belief in me.
Still, I wonder? Discrimination often hides in plain site.
Please comment if you have some thoughts. Feel free to share this with others. I would really like to get some feedback, personal experience, and opinions on this question.
ps: If you're a prospective employer, or just curious, my education and career experience are available at my LinkedIn profile from a button at the top of the column to the right.