Corporate Pass

Friday, June 18, 2010

Question

Why are you yelling at Lewis? I am a trans woman who's been trying for 10 years to have a corporate career. I go to interviews dressed as the woman I am, and the same thing happens every time: they see my masculine features and turn right off. No matter how qualified I am, I'm locked out as a reasonable candidate time and time again.

So what have I done to survive? Welfare doesn't give me enough to keep me alive, so I'm relegated to turning the odd trick to keep food on my table. I'm at a point where I'm so frustrated that I'm thinking of dressing and acting like a man just to get a decent job so I can live and raise enough money to finally get sex reassignment surgery.

What cause am I helping by being out of the closet? I'm starving. And you sit there on your high horse enjoying the privilege of your biological femininity and act like you know what it's like to be me? Are you going to wave your finger at me if I finally decide to hide my true identity just to earn a living at a respectable job of my choice? Are you going to tell me that I'm perpetuating the bigotry, just like you've accused that other reader of doing?

And from what I understand, Nina Arsenault paid for all of her surgeries through sex work. How is that fighting the system? She went with the flow and went underground to get where she needed to go; she worked within the bounds of this marginalization, just as I would be doing if I went back in the closet and pretended to be a man.

So fuck you, Sasha. Don't sit here and pulverize us girls just because we want to put food on the table with a normal—albeit oppressive—job. No matter which way we go, we lose.?

Bobby

Answer

A corporation can do decent things in order to raise its socially conscious profile, but by virtue of its business principles, fundamentally speaking, it cannot be decent. Nor is it necessary normal, unless you consider oppression normal. Therefore, a corporate job can hardly be described as decent or normal.

From the synopsis of the film The Corporation: "Self-interested, amoral, callous and deceitful, a corporation's operational principles make it anti-social. It breaches social and legal standards to get its way even while it mimics the human qualities of empathy, caring and altruism. It suffers no guilt.... The institutional embodiment of laissez-faire capitalism fully meets the diagnostic criteria of a psychopath."

You seem to want the same rights and privileges available to every thoughtless, greedy asshole in the world, and you're looking to me for some empathy because you may have to pose as a thoughtless, greedy asshole to get them. Sorry, Bobby, no can do.

I can see how a woman wanting to transition may see my femininity as a privilege. But I try to work for and with people who have policies against gender, orientation and race discrimination, which has hardly put me in a position of financial privilege.

Mark my words: in the corporate world you'd have similar problems if you were outwardly gay or—and I'm being presumptuous here—if you were racialized. That's the environment in which you've chosen to work.