Social Issues

Trans people in Spain fill jobs nobody wants during pandemic

By Macarena Soto

Madrid, Jun 9 (efe-epa).- The coronavirus pandemic has transformed the world beyond recognition and devastated the labor market, but it has also presented opportunities for minority groups willing to fill the jobs on the frontline nobody wants.

“During the pandemic, more job opportunities are being given to certain groups such as ethnic minorities or migrants,” says Jorge Guerra, employment chief at International Rescue, an NGO that works with refugees.

“Within the trans population there are two paradoxes, hiring among professions that are most in-demand during the pandemic, but also records of temporary employment regulation (ERTE) or layoffs,” he adds.

Kim, who has lived in Spain for two years after leaving Cuba, got a job at a nursing home, which have been hotbeds of Covid-19 deaths in Spain.

“I had a great time, I did not suffer any homophobic attacks, but the replacement is over and again I am out of work. They told me that in the future they would count on me, but we will have to wait,” she says.

Despite being grateful Kim is aware she had the opportunity “because there was no one who wanted” to work on the front lines fighting the disease.

“I think trans people are being hired because nobody wants to do it, they have called me from the care homes where I was always a locum carer before,” Kim adds.

“Looking for work is very complicated because when they see you, they don’t give you a job,” she says.

The Cuban adds that when she hands in her ID and prospective employers see her old name, the male one, she experiences “pure rejection.”

Many tend to lumber members of the trans community under one label, often that of prostitution, but this is “unfair” says Guerra.

The trans population “is not as homogeneous as you might think,” he adds.

“It is very difficult to get a picture of the working reality of trans people in Spain because there is no data, but they indeed have a very high unemployment rate compared to the general population,”

Trans people often end up in precarious and irregular jobs, often as sex workers, the charity worker adds.

Britanny, a 33-year-old from Costa Rica, stayed in Spain after visiting four times.

“I started to realize it when I was 10 or 11 years old, it was very frustrating at school,” she recalls.

The young woman ended up on the streets and was forced into prostitution where she suffered from extreme violence and ended up in the hospital three times with serious gunshot wounds.

“It’s the only option one can have because they discriminate against you because you are transsexual or from the LGTBI community,” she adds.

“I remember it and my body stops. I do not ever want to experience that again. It is awful and once can go hungry and be at risk of dying. I suffered too much in the first months.

“Psychologically I was not well, I could not sleep, I could not walk in the day, at night, because there were only problems and problems. I moved here to this country alone and sought help,” Britanny says of how she found International Rescue.

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