The creation of a guide to assist transgender students in their search for employment is underway at SFU career services.
It is intended to address specific concerns and experiences faced by transgender job-seekers and cover tips for resumes, interviews, and references, according to Edna Batengas, a co-op student who is developing the guide.
The guide will be made available to the community online this fall and act as a resource for advisors at career services when offering guidance to transgender students.
“Right now, we don’t have a resource for that,” noted Batengas. “It’s a resource that not only we can look at, but the students and support staff can look at.”
The office will be hosting a discussion group this week for transgender students to share their insights and feedback on the topics covered by the guide.
“We want to have this transgender discussion group so that we can actually hear experiences from transgender students and understand what they are going through,” Batengas explained.
“The discussion group is supposed to be a safe and open space for individuals to share their experiences [with] job searching and employment and just give us a sense of what they personally need and how we can support them.”
In the development of the guide, Batengas consulted local organizations that work closely with the transgender community, including Qmunity and Trans Care BC, as well as the SFU Women’s Centre and Out on Campus.
According to her research, Batengas said she found that transgender people often face discrimination based on their gender identity, especially during the process of applying for work.
A 2011 report by the advocacy group Trans PULSE discovered that, of 433 transgender Ontarians who participated in a survey, 18% of respondents reported being turned down for a job because of their gender identity.
The report also noted that transgender individuals may have to navigate outing themselves to past or potential employers when providing references or filling out documents.
The guide by career services is intended to inform students of their rights in employment and offer advice on job-seeking, such as what name to use on a resume.
“A resume is not a legally binding document so in that situation you do not have to use your legal name,” Batengas explained.
The facilitation of a discussion group, which is being organized with the assistance of Out on Campus, will help make sure that all the issues are covered by the guide.
“We want to make it as exhaustive as possible so just to make sure we haven’t left out anything, if we’re hearing a recurring topic,” Batengas noted.
The participants will receive an honorarium for their participation in the project.
“We understand that this is sometimes a difficult or sensitive topic to talk about so we’re not just taking this for granted,” she said.
The discussion group will take place from 12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m. on July 27 at the Out on Campus space in the Rotunda.