Gendered Policies Are a Struggle

Hi Everyone,

So the past few days have been somewhat eventful. I was approved for a medical discount card for use at our local clinic, so now I can have a doctor or dentist appointment and only have to pay $30! Now I just have to wait until we have $30 extra in our budget, which should be in a couple of weeks as long as everything at work keeps going well. Speaking of which, both my partner and I made it past the first and second round of layoffs! Now we just have to keep our fingers crossed that we don’t get laid off after the winter holidays and things should be alright! However, they have started scheduling us for progressively fewer hours which is concerning because we are going to have to get second jobs if this is the new norm… which will be no mean feat, considering that we don’t have regular schedules at our current job and they don’t put up the following week’s schedule until the middle of the week. They say that’s going to change, but my partner and I don’t really have that much time to wait for the scheduling to get more predictable.

I got called in to work earlier than my shift was supposed to start because someone called in sick. I was not really thrilled about starting work earlier but I was happy that we would at least have a little bit more money to add to our budget. Unfortunately, the person who called in sick was scheduled to work in the fitting rooms… “why is that unfortunate?”, you might ask. Well, the company we work for has a gendered policy about who is allowed to work in the fitting rooms: only women employees are allowed to be the fitting room attendants. The reasoning behind this is that, apparently, it’s alright for women to go in the men’s fitting room, but it’s not alright for men to go in the women’s dressing room (who knows about non-binary folks, we are left to guess what this means for us, as usual). I’m not going to get into the complicated implications behind this policy right now, because while it is a valuable conversation, it is not the point of this post. The point here is that, I have told my managers I am trans* (well, I was mostly outed to them and I just confirmed that it is true) and yet they schedule me to work in fitting rooms, where “only women are allowed to work”)… Not only do I feel like this goes against their policy but I also feel uncomfortable working there. As a non-binary trans* person, people are often unsure of my gender identity, based on my presentation. Typically, once they hear me speak they decide that I must be a woman because of the way my voice sounds (I assume). This means that gendered areas are tricky for me, if I choose the women’s area, I am often glared at, people do double takes, people visibly make it clear they don’t want to come near me, and sometimes I am informed that I am in the women’s area (as in, “shouldn’t you be in the men’s area?”). And I don’t really know what happens if I choose the men’s area because I’ve only worked up my courage to do it once or twice and it gives me so much anxiety and fear that I don’t think it’s worth it. So, as it is I currently try to wait until no one is in the fitting rooms to run back and check that they’re clean and/or do the cleaning. As you might imagine, this is an anxiety-riddled experience. Now some of you might be asking, “why don’t you just tell your managers you don’t feel comfortable working there?” and believe me, I have considered it. However, I am worried that telling them that just adds to my list of complications, and is therefore another reason to lay me off. So, for now, I’ll just do it. It’s just another example of how trans* people’s identities are often invisibilized/trivialized etc.

Well, I guess that’s all for now.

Until next time…

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