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TJobBank — An Interview With Jillian Barfield

| Sep 29, 2008
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04work-600.jpgA few weeks ago, TWIT Notes mentioned a new online job search site for the transgender community. This week, we talk with the woman behind TJobBank: Jillian Barfield.

How did it get started?

“Well, it’s kind of a long story, but in short . . . In 2006, when I disclosed to my employer that I was planning to transition I was physically threatened and fired. Afterwards, I found it difficult to get a job. Although interviews seemed to go well and my resume was good, the background check always seemed to do me in. So, I decided to start an employment service for transgender people. While I was developing the site, I attended the First Transgender Career Expo at the Southern Comfort Conference. The experience reinforced my resolve to put the project into overdrive. I’d like to thank Kristin Reichman for that.”

What’s been the response, so far?

“The response has been wonderful! The TLBG community has really come through and there are some great opportunities listed on the site from all over the country. Also, the media has been really helpful in its reporting. We’ve gotten a lot of press and support from the community.

“As for the corporate response. . . It’s really an ongoing process. The way that the site is designed is as follows’:

Jillian Barfield1. Purported inclusive employers listed on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index as being 100% inclusive are personally invited to post opportunities on TJobBank and their company is then added to our ‘invited’ list.

2. If and when they post a job, their company name is added to our ‘inclusive’ list.

3. If a candidate verifies that they have been hired by an inclusive company, we add that company to our ‘truly-inclusive list’ whether or not they post a job on the site. If they knowingly hire transgender people – they get on the list.

“It’s not a high priority right now for corporations to hire transgender candidates. They have no incentive to do so. We’re there to give them that incentive.”

Where do you see it going from here?

“I think that one of the important things to know about TJobBank is that it is here to stay. It will always be there for the trans community and it’s going to continue to grow. Whether you are a trans-person needing a job or someone in a position to hire a transgender candidate, the challenge right now is to get the word out that this resource exists in any way you can.”

What is the job market like for transgendered applicants? Is it getting better?

“Of course there are still employers who will not hire transgender candidates. That’s why TJobBank is so necessary and why I feel that it’s crucial that it succeed. As time goes on, inevitably there will be more and more exposure to trans-people in the workplace and eventually the uniqueness will wear thin. But it’s not going to happen overnight.

“Things are much better than they used to be, but they’re still a long way from the way they should be and from the way they will be. The recent federal court case ruling that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to trans-people is huge. Only time will tell what the ramifications will be from this groundbreaking decision.”

Any advice for job seekers?

“I guess that my number one piece of advice would be to hang in there and don’t give up. It can be done and I’m living proof.

“Be careful that you don’t read too much into people’s interactions with you during interviews. I think that sometimes trans-people can be overly sensitive and may see discrimination or prejudice where there is none.

“Finally, one of the things that I think is HUGE when interviewing for a job and even after you are hired is to be pleasant. Make people like you and SMILE. I know it’s scary, but I can assure you that if you go into an interview with a positive attitude and a smile, you’re halfway there!”

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Category: Transgender Community News


About the Author ()

Ronnie Rho has been writing for Transgender Forum since May of 1999. One of these days, she'll get it right. She's been described as the "world's most famous recluse," but only by people who don't know her very well. She is unmarried, and lives in Cincinnati.

Comments (1)

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  1. cddon cddon says:

    I think you are doing a great service. If you can do a job , than who cares if your tg.

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