Trans Workers Breaking Barriers In Brazil
Faizan Hashmi 13 days ago Thu 22nd July 2021 | 08:40 AM
Rio de Janeiro, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 22nd Jul, 2021 ) :For 15 years, Rochelly Rangel, now 34, struggled to find a formal job in Brazil. As a transgender woman, she faced repeated rejection, insults, and once overheard a prospective boss saying: "We cannot hire a transvestite." She ended up working as a prostitute for six years despite having a high school technical qualification in administrative management, and also dabbled in hairdressing.
Then last year, thanks to one of a growing number of training programs aimed specifically at transgender people in famously macho and homophobic Brazil, she finally found formal employment at a bar in Rio de Janeiro.
"It was hard to get here," she told AFP.
About 90 percent of trans people in Brazil end up working as prostitutes, according to the Antra queer rights association.
The life expectancy of transgender people in Brazil is about 35 years, less than half the national average.
Identifying as transgender since her teens, Rangel said that during her long and fruitless search for work, she was taking female hormones and dressing as a woman. But she was unable to legally change her male, birth name.
"I did more than 200 job interviews, but when they (looked at) my ID and resume and saw my name, they looked at me sideways or said that the vacancy was already filled." - 'Exponential increase' - In 2004, fresh from school, she applied for an administration post at a multinational company in Sao Paolo, where she lived at the time, and made it to the shortlist.
"I overheard a manager tell an HR employee: 'We cannot hire a transvestite'," Rangel recalled.
For Rangel, her chance came at the Boleia Bar, where she now works with other women.
The Transgarconne platform, started in 2019, also provides training and advice for bosses on dealing with LGBTQ+ issues.
"We have more than 24,000 CVs and a thousand associated companies," she told AFP.
"There has been an exponential increase in companies that hire trans people; there are more than a hundred multinationals with available posts," said Rocha.
- Ending prejudice - Advances for Rangel and others like her has been slow.
Transgender people have been able to choose their name on their ID documents without a court permission, a letter from a psychologist, or proof that they are undergoing hormone treatment only for the past three years.