“If you do what you love, you will do it well and it won’t matter what others think.”
Everyone has a dream of what and who they want to be when they grow up. For many trans, nonbinary and gender-diverse young people, dreaming big can bring challenges, mostly because they don’t have the opportunity to see people like them at work.
For Trans Awareness Week our ‘#TransatWork’ campaign is seeking to celebrate and showcase the many talented trans, nonbinary and gender-diverse people who are doing what they do best.
This blog is here to show everyone that gender does not limit what you can achieve. Whether you dream of going to space, working on cutting edge gaming software or touring the world as a musician, trans, nonbinary and gender-diverse people succeed in every kind of job you can imagine, and come from all sorts of backgrounds. Reminding us all that who you are doesn’t stop you from achieving your dream.
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Erin King, she/her, Senior Oceanographer
I really love my job as an oceanographer, I get to spend most of my time thinking about the sea, our coast and trying to solve problems that affect this beautiful environment and the people that live and depend on it. The most boring part? Long hours on the computer fixing bugs in my code or waiting for a model to finish so I can see the results. It’s a small price though!
During my PhD, we would sometimes go out to beaches before large storms to deploy equipment which measures the waves, currents, and levels of erosion of the beach and dunes. Being on a beach at low tide in the middle of the night taking measurements in the middle of a storm and seeing the power of the sea is fun, awe-inspiring and a little frightening all at the same time!
As a kid, I really wanted to be a storm chaser. I remember reading in a National Geographic book about people who would follow storms in the US to do science and learned they were called meteorologists. From then on, I would always say I wanted to be a meteorologist and people thought I wanted to be a weather presenter!
There were times – when I knew I was trans as a kid – that I tried to change myself and my dreams to fit in. There were times when I thought “if I try to act a certain way, or say I want to do a certain job, these trans feelings will go away and people will be proud of me”. If you do what you love, you will do it well and it won’t matter what others think.
Lack of diversity in the earth sciences is an ongoing issue and can be challenging. I have been fortunate in my experience, that my colleagues have all been very supportive and are more interested in my science than my trans history. I have been comfortable talking about trans issues to my colleagues when they have affected me. Outside my immediate colleagues, I have encountered some outdated attitudes towards trans people, but this has been rare.
Alex Carter, he/they, Children’s Nurse
I always wanted to be a doctor, and I always wanted to work with children.
The children and young people I work with inspire me with their courage and resilience. I love having fun with the kids, colouring and drawing, playing games when I have time; it always brings a smile to my face to build positive relationships with children, young people and their parents. My job can literally see the differences between life and death, but it is the most rewarding job I can ever dream of doing.
It can be a challenge when working with the general public as there is always a chance of being misgendered. Children are often curious and ask ‘are you a boy or a girl’ and it takes some getting used to but now I feel confident to just tell them.
I’d love to have the chance tell my younger self that I can achieve anything I dreamed of. I loved Music in school, and the freedom of expressing my trans identity through it. In relation to my job now, music has helped me with self-expression and I love to sing to the children to calm them during procedures.
I really struggled with school and exams, but there is always a way to get to your goal. It’s okay to not follow the path of everyone else – just be yourself and you’ll get to where you want to be.
Each day of my job brings excitement, challenges and new situations. You have such highs and lows in nursing, but it’s all so worth it.
Alex Gwynne, they/them, Paper Engineer and Paper Toy Designer
I’m Alex and I’m a paper engineer, specialising in the design of paper toys or ‘fold up toys’. That means that I design flat templates that people can turn into 3D objects or characters, it’s like designing a cereal box or some packaging, except the box is the shape of a car, robot or dinosaur.
I wanted to be everything when I was younger – an astronaut, an artist, an archaeologist, whatever my pet passion of the month was, that’s what I wanted to be when I grew up. I went through a brief phase where I wanted to be Dean Martin, but I didn’t understand that the career I want was a ‘singer’ so I just told people I wanted to be ‘a Dean Martin’.
When I was in school I loved art so much; it felt like there was always something else to learn and ways to apply the skills you’d learnt to other subjects.
It was in art-class where I found my love of paper toys and urban sculpture and I’ll forever be grateful. My favourite part of my job is designing the shape – starting with a rough idea of what a client wants I can really let loose and start thinking of clever ways to make interesting and engaging templates. It’s always such a rush of ideas and concepts seeing what works and what doesn’t. But tabbing is the worst! Tabbing is the part of the toy that shows people what order to put all of the parts together in. You switch gears from making a piece of art to staring at that art for three hours adding numbers to it one at a time, it can be very dull.
If I could go back and talk to my younger self, I’d say “Stop goofing off past Alex and make a portfolio!”. I spent so much of my early career just designing things that I wanted to make, rather than making things clients would want to see. Once you have a few recognisable brands and clients in your portfolio, future clients feel a bit more secure hiring you to work on a project, but you can also make things that look similar to what a client might ask for and that can help a lot in the early stages.
Ben Pechey, they/them, Writer and Content Creator
There is very little danger in my job as a writer and content creator, but the fact that my next job is always a question mark does hover over me, and can cause sleepless nights! The most inspiring aspect is how I can reach so many different people and the subsequent conversations we have over emails and direct messages on social media. Knowing that I can help people young and old is a very precious part of my job, and something that I would never give up.
When I was younger I was obsessed with cars, lorries and trains, and there is a family story that at 4 years old I declared that I wanted to be a lady truck driver, which looking back now is pretty iconic. Beyond that I had no concept of what I wanted out of a profession, so I drifted through education with very little drive or goals to keep me motivated. It is important to know that we don’t always have to know what we want!
I wish I could go back and tell my younger self that your dyslexia will never hold you back, and that if you want something you have every right to chase it relentlessly. School made jobs seem like a life or death thing, and that we could only measure our success in a linear fashion. Having a job where no two days are the same is far more enriching to me than one singular role. So I would tell myself never to be hemmed in by one concept of what a job means.
As a commenter on social issues, my very gender identity is a means to earn. However, it can be very draining and damaging when outlets are looking for a ‘hot take’ on a news story that affects the trans community. I think that cisgender people assume that trans and non-binary people are the ones that have to educate them on these issues, which is not correct for me, I think it’s the job of allies find their own information.
Sometimes we are just trying to protect ourselves from harm, and don’t want to write 900 words on the GRA reform or transphobia in the media, it can be very tough when your identity is tied to your income stream.
Ki Griffin (they/them), Non-Binary Intersex, Actor on Hollyoaks
I’m very lucky to work in an environment where I can be open about my identity as a non-binary person, my colleagues are very respectful of my pronouns and identity as a whole, especially because in previous jobs I haven’t been as widely accepted.
I’d say the most boring part of my job is definitely waiting around on set, a lot of established actors often say that actors are paid for the waiting and praised for our acting and I think that’s spot on! But I love getting to pretend to be someone else and putting myself in someone else’s shoes for a few hours a day – it’s surprisingly therapeutic and I really enjoy being able to react and play out situations I wouldn’t necessarily be in in my everyday life.
I’d want to tell my younger self that being yourself is going to be the thing that gets you places, I’d encourage them to be proud of who they are and to be loud about it! I think it’s gotten me to the places I am now and I think if I hadn’t had a support system that encouraged me to be myself, I wouldn’t have had half the opportunities that I have had.
Funnily enough, when I was little I wanted to be a paramedic! The idea of helping people was always top priority for me and I think if I had been better at sciences I would have gone for it. I think I still carry out a lot of my childhood ideals in what I do today but through the arts instead, now I help people through representation as well as the activism that comes with it.
Understanding people and being able to communicate that through arts has really helped me be empathetic towards people from all walks of life today.
Alexandra Forshaw, she/her, Senior Software Development Engineer
When I was younger I never had much of an idea what I wanted to do but from the day when we got our first home computer, a BBC Micro, I discovered an aptitude for and love of programming, and it became my main hobby. If I was to tell my younger self anything – apart from explaining about being trans – it would be that programming could be much more than just a hobby.
Like most jobs mine isn’t fun and exciting all the time and there’s one thing in particular that I find tedious even though it’s important. It’s maintaining the automated test suite. This involves analysing test failures to work out whether it’s the application or the test at fault and then fixing it.
I transitioned in my previous job, also as a software developer, and it went very smoothly. I spoke to my manager and HR beforehand, left work on a Friday presenting as male and turned up on the Monday morning as Alex. I’ve not faced anything that I’d call a challenge from being trans in my job. It’s not something I’ve disclosed where I work now although I don’t hide it either; the only time I did tell a colleague it was because we were having quite personal conversations and I felt awkward that she was obviously assuming I was cisgender based on what she was saying.
My job does have its compensations though, and one of the things I enjoy most about it is when I solve a technical problem for one of my colleagues. That feeling of accomplishment makes all the hard work and effort worthwhile!
Luc Riesbeck, they/them, Space Policy Research Analyst
It’s hard to have a boring day when you work in the space industry. The most inspiring part is that I’m doing my part for the “green” movement—just in space! I advocate for policy that keeps Earth orbit sustainable and safe for future generations, so they have the chance to keep innovating and dreaming up new kinds of space technologies. Right now, I work for a company that’s essentially building “mechanic” and “janitor” spacecraft—ones that can diagnose what’s wrong with satellites, repair or refuel them, and clean up old or defunct ones before they can break up or collide with other fragments up there, which turns them into very dangerous space junk!
Don’t ever think you’re not smart enough to work in space! Creativity and multidisciplinary skills from subjects like history, philosophy, sustainable design, and other humanities are crucial for STEM fields of all kinds.
I was always in my own world as a kid, drawing, reading and sketching. I always wanted to run away and be an artist. Luckily, I still fiddle around with art and try to stretch my creative muscles in my spare time!
Though I’m lucky enough to currently be working with a great company that is very forward-leaning on gender inclusion issues, the aerospace industry as a whole has a huge equity, diversity, and inclusion problem. It’s definitely been challenging at times to be openly out as nonbinary in my field.
There are still a lot of trans folks in the space industry who are closeted at work, but that’s part of why I decided to be as out and vibrant about my gender identity as I could. I get a lot of messages from other trans and nonbinary people in the space industry who may not be at that point yet, and it makes me happy to help them find community whenever I can.
Alec, he/him, Mental Health Social Worker
I’ve worked in lots of different teams, and at the moment I work in CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) supporting children, young people and their families when they’re experiencing a mental health crisis. The strength and resilience of every single young person I work with that I see as they pull through dark and difficult times, and the different ways that I’ve watched families support each other, never cease to inspire and encourage me every day.
It is such a privilege getting to spend time with young people and finding out what’s important to them – and sometimes the best way to do this is often by having a laugh, and doing things with the young person that they really enjoy.
I always find meeting new people really strange – you have to start right at the beginning every time and introduce yourself, and I always think it must be strange for other people having to meet me for the first time too! It’s also sometimes strange having to explain what a social worker does, because this can be difficult to describe. A social worker can end up doing lots of strange things during their day that they never see coming – from talking with someone about their anxiety through their giant cuddly toy carrot, to then spending an hour coaxing someone’s cat out from a tree! It’s non-stop, weird and challenging at times, but that’s what I love really about it.
When I was at school I had no idea what I wanted to do and I used to worry about finding something that I’d like and that would give me a sense of purpose, but pursuing the subjects I enjoyed and developing the things I was good at helped me to find this career. You never know what opportunities life will present you with, so I’d tell my younger self to remain open-minded and focused on exploring different ways of helping others, because this was always something I was passionate about.
When I first started my job I had only recently come out, and I quickly had to learn how to find ways of speaking up for myself and letting people know my gender identity and pronouns. The best thing I did was speak to my manager about this, who was really supportive of my transition – he helped me to have those conversations with others and spoke up for me when I faced criticism. Transitioning at work also allowed me to have constructive conversations with people in my workplace and teach them about what it means to be trans, so that’s been a huge privilege too.
Sayang, they/them, Self employed DJ, artist and producer
The most dangerous side of my job is perhaps being vocal about trans Malaysian rights and occupying space as a Malay trans person. In Malaysia it’s illegal to be LGBTQIA and trans people face a lot of harm there. However, as a mixed race Malay person with a British passport, I also have a lot of protection with that. I try to DJ, perform and work in places where the queer community faces censorship or threat when I can.
It’s super inspiring to meet, get to work with and listen to people’s stories who are doing incredible things for other TBIPoC and trans people, or living their lives at a party/space and being themselves in a world in which it is difficult to. The energy and creativity that comes from trans folx is always so so beautiful. It’s one of the only times I truly feel like myself and I can express myself as a trans person.
I don’t only play in queer venues or work with queer people and I always have to answer a lot of questions and can feel really alienated because of this. Having to ‘come out’ and explain your gender to new people time and time again can be demoralising and so exhausting. Also, as someone who is self-employed, there’s not really anyone to go to if something goes wrong, so I’ve had to really learn how to practice self-care, look after myself and deal with some pretty awful situations to be honest.
There are also boring parts, like the administrative side – it’s also my weakest part and my brain really freaks out with anything mathematical. So setting aside days to do invoices, finances and keeping up with HMRC is quite stressful.
To my younger self; Stop trying to fit in – you’re not what you were born in to. And you’re going to be skint but you’re going to love it – so get good at saving!
Ash Palmisciano, he/him, Actor
I’m currently playing a trans character which certainly comes with challenges. I feel a pressure to make sure the representation is correct. Of course, I can only tell Matty’s story, but I want it to be as authentic as possible. I’m an actor and also share the trans experience with my character so often I can be asked awkward questions on broad trans subjects, which isn’t part of my job. I have worked out it’s ok to set yourself boundaries and to not answer awkward questions and handle it in a way I feel comfortable.
There’s often a bit of waiting around on set before and during filming, but it’s still quite exciting being in the studio environment. For me the most inspiring part is that I learn something new each day and always come away wanting to be better each time, it’s a constant learning experience.
The strangest part is that people in the street often call me by my character name or think I look similar to someone they know. Once a guy recognised my face but couldn’t place it and thought I was his local baker and I didn’t have the heart to correct him! The fun part is that each day is different and I get to work with a lovely team of people. It’s a dream job and although some days are tough it doesn’t feel like work and I love doing it.
Don’t listen to negativity, nothing is out of reach and if you work hard and get yourself out there, you will do it. You are good enough! Don’t doubt yourself.
Morgan Riley Taylor, she/her, Web Software Engineer
The most fun part of programming for me is in the fact that it’s like a puzzle. Because it’s been left open-ended about how to accomplish the task, I need to fill in the blanks with my own logic until I achieve the desired result. Since I work for a company that deals with processing sensitive medical data, causing glitches that expose that data would be disastrous for me and the company, so it’s always important to be extremely diligent.
When I was 12 years old, I took my first trip on an airplane, and I was obsessed with becoming a pilot one day afterwards. Luckily that never happened, because with hindsight on my side, I can see I wouldn’t like that job nearly as much as I thought I would as a kid.
I think while you’re in school it’s important to fully explore your options. I started university with a couple ideas of what career I wanted to go into, but those plans fell through and I was left a bit aimless. I ended up taking a course called “Introduction to Programming and Problem Solving” after trying to find any other course instead, but within a couple weeks I fell in love and knew it was the perfect fit for me.
There are some challenges to being trans in my job, but I am lucky that they aren’t very major. I transitioned while working at my current company, and overall they have been good with my changes. Where I live, there are enough stories of trans people being fired for being different, which was a major concern of mine. But, I am very happy to report that I had no problems with the management because of my transition.
Miss Farrah Herbert, she/her, HGV Class1 Driver
My job is pretty fun. I’m paid to sit in a leather armchair and sing my heart out to cheesy tunes, riding high and taking in the views, in comfort. I do feel inspired knowing I’m a part of the key worker network, delivering essential PPE and goods at the start of the Pandemic. But it’s not always fun getting stuck in traffic jams and waiting for my lorry to be loaded/unloaded, and it can be really dangerous when my fully loaded 44 tonne vehicle meets fog or a stranded car is left in my lane.
I didn’t study too much at school, but returned to education later in life. I did an Open University degree and became one of the youngest managers for an international publisher. I later realised that the corporate race was toxic and unfulfilling. So I quit, took my HGV tests and pursued a career that I enjoyed, without pressure. Education is important, but a fun and fulfilling job is more important than money and status.
It’s a predominantly male and testosterone filled environment and I have to put up with micro aggression on a regular basis. It’s hard to prove to my bosses and they seemed to value their customers more, so I feel like back up and support is rarely forthcoming. But the good times far outweigh the small mindedness of some individuals, so it’s worth it.
Tj, they/them, Technical Specialist
When I was little, I wanted to be a hairdresser or an Mi5 secret agent! I guess I’ve always been ambitious. I would tell my younger self to never give up and that eventually it will all start to make sense, and everything you have had to go through will all be worth it in the end. I would also tell them that they are going to become so authentically beautiful and they are going to help people everyday by being themselves.
The most inspiring part of my job is coming across younger individuals who are within the same community and instantly seeing their face light up when they realise I’m going to be serving them. Although having to explain myself can sometimes be tricky (in regards to my pronouns, identity, tattoos) it can also be fun to educate people who are willing to learn and try and understand someone like myself.
I would say the biggest challenge of being trans in my work is not having enough queer friends around you. Although, don’t get me wrong, my colleagues are extremely supportive of me. It’s more the general public. Some people are confused, which is fine until ‘cisgender males’ start apologising for addressing me with “mate”, why? I always reply with, I’m still a “mate”. I guess having to explain yourself or going through the same happening over and over can be a little tiring.
Sam, She/Her, Lead Website Developer
The most exciting and fun part of my job is pitching work to new clients and creating solutions to complex problems. Challenges in my job being trans? When I’m pitching work and being the public face of the company there can be barriers around acceptance when meeting new clients for the first time.
When I was little, I wanted to be a Palaeontologis., I was obsessed with dinosaurs growing up. That or to work in a conservation area for pandas, my other obsession. I would tell my younger self don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be a high achiever at school. Education doesn’t end when school does and exams aren’t the only measure of intelligence.
Emily Bennett, She/her, Opthalmic technician
As a kid I was always quite creative, and a bit of a dreamer. I ended up learning drums and nowadays I make music in my spare time!
The most fun part of my job is doing OCT scans, which let me see people’s retinas in extremely fine detail. It’s such an interesting thing to see, and the bizarreness of looking at eyes with my own eyes never fails to amaze me! I would say the most boring part is performing visual fields tests as they’re basically just sitting in a dark room for 10 minutes at a time doing not much. I use the time to learn Korean and sign language though!
I would say I had a bit of anxiety about working with the general public in regards to how people might see my face. Fortunately, working in an eye clinic, most people have terrible vision anyway so I usually get away with it! As well working with a mask these days it helps with those dysphoric days!
I would tell my younger self to study more in Biology. I never really got into it back then but now I am obsessed!
Chloe, She/her, Assistant Accountant
My job now is very different to what I wanted to do as a child. I wanted to be in the Armed Forces! If I could go back and tell my younger self something at school I would just say: keep positive and keep going.
I loved maths at school though so accountancy makes sense. I’m less keen on sending out reports and spreadsheets to GP practices for the monthly bookkeeping because that can get a bit repetitive but the unique bit is dealing with the many income streams for GP practices.
I don’t think there are challenges in my job because I’m trans. My work is remote currently and working in GP practices I feel welcome as many of the practices have dealt with trans people before.
Skylar, They/Them, Maths Teacher
The most fun part of being a maths teacher is bringing maths into the real world, especially because students often question what the point of doing certain parts of Maths is! Also, being the only member of staff who’s trans at the school brings about a lot of opportunities to teach more than just Maths which I feel like is what makes me love my job so much!
Tricky things about being a trans maths teacher? Misgendering is a thing which happens probably most often but the people I work with are really helping out. Some students can be tricky but that went away thanks to the staff standing up for me. I occasionally meet with staff because some days are more difficult than others, juggling personal challenges with classes that aren’t always a walk in the park!
I would tell my younger self that, despite all the bullying you faced, you can be the leader in this environment. Don’t be afraid to be who you are and what you stand up for.
Josephine Fowler, she/her, System Designer for ACCA
The fun part of my job is coming up with solutions that help people by taking the boring and repetitive bits out of their jobs, and allowing others to progress their careers. I write software that allows people to sit exams online, from around the world.
I wouldn’t say there are challenges really, being trans in my job. I am just another person in a team of people making software that allows people to do exams online. I was scared to begin with, now there are 3 trans people in our team, no-one cares, and the organisation is very diverse.
I would tell my younger self: trans is a thing. I did not know that when I was young, which was a long time ago. Ignore toxic people who will never be anything in your future life anyway. Don’t let them take your happiness away. Be yourself, trying to be someone else just leads to unhappiness.
Samantha Williams, she/her, barista
I started my transition while working in one of the most inclusive places I can imagine, a Greenwich Village coffee shop. My coworkers’ and regulars’ responses to my coming out ranged from chill to celebratory. The New York coffee scene is very diverse and progressive-minded.
I’m a budding screenwriter and being a barista is a great job for someone aspiring to break into a creative field because it offers a good deal of flexibility, and you often work with other artists, writers, musicians and actors. I would tell younger me to cut herself a little slack as she grows up and try to savor her victories. Overcoming setbacks is what great life stories are made of.
Oh and what did I want to be when I was a kid? My mother tells me I wanted to be a cement-truck driver, which I hear is a pretty solid gig!
Josie Tulip, They/Them/Theirs, PhD Student and research associate
The most fun part of what I do is definitely meeting lots of new people from all walks of life and collaborating with them, learning about what they’re doing, and in some cases becoming good friends. My PhD and research work has really enriched my life when it comes to seeing myself in the world with others.
What’s inspiring to me is getting to share my data and findings via papers, conferences or just telling people what I do! It’s great how much people get engaged with research and your topic when you are passionate about it.
Challenges? As with any job or environment some people are going to be transphobic. It can be more ‘subtle’ in highly professional environments, but the university is likely to be on your side, so challenging these people respectfully and professionally has been important. Basically, the most challenging thing is developing your ability and having enough energy levels to challenge ignorance and hostility — but really, most people want to know and do better, and genuinely hostile people are rarer and rarer nowadays!
Natalie Washington, she/her, Global Finance Applications Development Manager
I think I wanted to be a racing driver or an engineer when I was young. I sometimes wish I’d done the latter, but the former was never an option with my family’s resources! Later on I probably wanted to be a footballer or be in a band, but talent intervened. My favourite school subject was probably science, specifically physics, although I liked PE, geography & history too. I came to realise the value of English lit, Drama etc a little later!
The most boring part of my job, as you can probably imagine from the title, is the financial operations! Thankfully, the only real danger is getting some numbers wrong, but I’m lucky enough to manage a team of really talented, thoughtful & interesting people who are spread across Europe, Asia & North & South America, and I get to work every day with people from different cultures & experiences, and because finance touches every part of our business, I get to hear about everything that is going on – new products, new markets, new technologies – all the time!
There are some challenges to being trans in my job. Not least that there are places my company does business that I wouldn’t feel comfortable going to, which feels a little limiting sometimes. On the flipside, I work every day with people from countries which have a reputation for being hostile to LGBT+ people, and have a fantastic and open relationship with them, which is wonderfully reassuring. Like a lot of companies, it feels like mine is becoming aware of not only the opportunities it has in terms of making the world a better place for us all, but actually that there is a real responsibility which comes with being a global player.
If I could go back and speak to teenage me, I’d tell myself to remember that life, learning and growth isn’t just exam performance just as it isn’t just about being popular. I wasn’t as good as I’d have liked to have been at either, but I think I’ve done OK. I wouldn’t have my job if I’d spent all my time studying and not growing as a person, but I wouldn’t have got it without some qualifications either. There’s a good balance there somewhere.
Madeleine Coward, she/ her, Freelance Stage Manager & Theatre Technician
Theatre is generally a really accepting industry, but every time I start work on a new show with a different team there’s always that weird few days or weeks where I don’t know if people know I’m trans or not (I’m usually very open about it). I tend to try and get any conversations about it over with sooner so we can all get on with the job (whoever said coming out was a one time thing!)
Practically if you’re trans and on meditation, being in a different city for work can make it a bit trickier to get your prescription, but good planning definitely helps. Also it’s a very physical job so if you’re binding/ tucking that can get a bit much after a busy day.
The most inspiring and fun thing is getting to move a show from rehearsals onto stage – there’s always something magical (and slightly terrifying) about opening night. The most dangerous is any work at height, or with power tools, or when we have scene changes with lots of moving scenery (see why I need to write risk assessments!).The most boring is having to make a ‘scene breakdown’ after reading a script (basically it’s a big document with a LOT of notes about all the logistical parts of a theatre production.) Completing risk assessments and budgets are also fairly dull. The strangest moments are either trying to find really bizarre props or helping with a ‘quick change’ – this is where an actor needs to change from one costume to another VERY fast, sometimes there’s multiple people helping them get from one set of clothes to another.
If I could visit my younger self I would say there are so many more jobs in theatre than acting. We need people to: manage the stage, operate the lights, make the sound effects, design & make the set, costumes & props, cue the show, look after payroll, manage the budget, sell the tickets, maintain the theatre. I could go on, but I think you get the idea – there’s (covid notwithstanding) loads of different jobs, working both front and back of house, in the entertainment industry.
Sammy Iacob, she/her, Mealtime Supervisor
Thankfully, the management is super supportive at my place of work. But, everyone else is cis, so I feel a bit isolated. And the kids knew me before I was out, so some of them have some blunt questions that can be hard to answer in an infant school setting. My favourite subject in school was History.
Sometimes it’s boring to wait for the kids to finish their lunch! And the most fun part is playing with the kids, teaching them a new game, being surprised by them beating you at the game within minutes.
As a child I wanted to be a paleontologist, or even an astronaut. If I could speak to my younger self I would say “Just be yourself! Someone like you is out there and they’ll see you, and know that it’s ok to be trans from a young age instead of waiting years to figure it out”.
Jack Parr, He/him, Security Guard
The most boring part of my job has to be the silent hour shifts, weekend and night shifts can be tough, especially since they’re 12 hours! I’m not sure about danger or fun, but the most I generally have to deal with is refusing people entry to the site or deal with fire alarms. The nice part about my 12 hour shifts though is I have time to study during my breaks. Now that I have this job I would tell my younger self it’s not the worst job I’ve worked but I hope it’s not going to end up being the best either.
When I was little I remember wanting to be a teacher, or a chef, or an actor. My favourite subject in school was art and food tech, in fact i still love to draw and cook on my down time. There aren’t many challenges to being trans in my job as I work for the civil service. But when I first started in this job, I was outed by someone who new me through my auntie, it wasn’t a great start but my colleagues were okay about it and I’m now the lead for LGBT+ within the company throughout the whole of the UK.
Joanne Lockwood, She/hers/her, Inclusion & Belonging Specialist
I started my own business as I struggled to find employment as a trans person. So that was a challenge. I see being trans as a superpower. It’s a part of who I am, my authenticity and I am proud of it. In my job the clients I work with value it for my insight. Having decided to take my own path I am happy to have control over my life as I do now. I really couldn’t say the most boring part of my job, I don’t get bored these days. Except when maybe doing my accounts and paperwork. So much of what I do now is my passion and it drives me everyday and makes me smile
My favourite subject in school was physics, I loved physics. I was very interested in the sciences at the time. I also loved the opportunity to do photography and regularly borrowed cameras from the school and used their dark room. When I was younger I wanted to be a woman – lol. Looking back if I had my career again I would have looked at photography, but I ended up in electronics and then IT.
If I could, I would tell my younger self “Just follow your heart, you make some mistakes, you’ll learn lots of new skills on the way. Most importantly, keep on keeping on – you’ll get there”!
Aiden Costello, He/Him, Transport Support and Enforcement Officer
When I was little I wanted to be an animator for Disney or an Astronaut. I loved drama at school. Even though I was never very good at being on stage. I did enjoy getting involved in stage management for our school shows though.
As I work in a frontline role my biggest challenge is the general public and the assumption people make of which gender they think I am. But I have a supportive workspace which is the most important thing to me and helps me overcome those challenges. I don’t think I have a boring part of my job as it’s all very new and is adapting and evolving every day. It can be exciting when I visit new stations and meet new people. Dangerous when I deal with people being aggressive and possibly violent to others. Inspiring when I meet members of the public that tell me their life stories or thank me for being there. And fun when I have a laugh and a joke with my team to pass the time.
I would tell my younger self don’t feel pressured to be what everyone else wants you to me. Push boundaries, take chances and most of all be yourself. Sometimes your first choice is not always the right one but you will find your path.
Jack Lopez, They/he, Assistant Professor/Medical Anthropologist
The most boring part of my job is admin and meetings. There’s nothing really dangerous about my job. The most inspiring is talking about the world with my students, reading all the time, learning, having ideas about everything. The fun part of my job? Aside from the students I find so much fun in travelling for research. And the strange part is people thinking you have the answer to everything. Challenges in my job are I can’t hide in the bad days, no matter how I feel I must show up in front of the class and teach. The other challenge is the toilets in University are really poorly designed!
When I was younger I wanted to be a stuntman or lorry driver and my favourite subject in school was history. If I could speak to my younger self I would say “Intelligence is more than how many GCSEs you have and trust your instincts more”.
Charlotte, She/Her, Doctor of Emergency Medicine (A+E)
I always wanted to be a musician as a child, I played a lot and it was my few comforts. I would sit at my piano until I fell asleep. I was playing piano before school and after school, and during school at every opportunity. When my feelings were hidden in a depressed malaise music gave me an outlet for them. Now I play for fun, and once Covid is over I will go back to performing again! My favourite subject in school was sciences, I got to learn the basic rules of the universe and manipulate them to bend reality to your will, explore distant realms with bizarre gravity and environments too extreme to imagine from earth – sounds more like a fictional magic system than a real subject. I am a doctor in part because it allows me to study science in a practical way.
The first challenge of been transgender in medicine was simply changing my name. I had to notify 6 different organisations prior to being able to work under my real name, to get the ducks in a line I took a week of leave and even then it was an only just case!I do not tolerate offensive language directed towards me or my colleagues. I won’t discuss the full area of security and capacity in ED here, as it’s an essay in itself, I have compassion and empathy, and will always try to de-escalate first. I am fortunate to have a team which can and will back me up; but I still have to work in the very front line of health care. The few occasions I have been subject to abuse of this variety I have been able to disengage and allow a colleague to deal with the patient.
I transitioned in A&E, and now offer support to my local university for healthcare students dealing with gender issues during their course.
If I could see myself I would simply say: it will be alright. You will get there. These feelings aren’t wrong, they’re part of you and you should let them out. You might get rejected, but faking something is not real either. Talk to someone about it.
Zoey Kim-Zeggelaar, She/her, Crown Prosecutor
My favourite subject in school was geography and to no surprise when I was younger I wanted to be a geographer.
I am fortunate in my job, I have encountered no real issues ever. The most “difficult” part was that I was already established in the job when I transitioned and had to re-establish a new identity. It was mostly fun, especially when meeting people I hadn’t seen in years. Most important for me was to be understanding when people messed up pronouns. My approach is “if they care enough to try, then I care enough to be understanding if a mistake is occasionally made”. These are people I care about. There are no boring parts. It is the most intense, rewarding, and difficult thing I have ever done. Every day I give all I can to achieve just and fair outcomes in our system. Some days are heartbreaking.
I wish I could tell my younger self that people are the most important part of every single day.
Muir Dragonne, he/him or they/them, Content Creator
As a Content Creator, video is my main content. As such, there is a lot of video editing that I have to do each day. It’s by far the most boring part of what I do! I am openly transgender which puts me at risk of trolling and other forms of online harassment. It’s important to put myself out there as a transgender person though, so any negative attention that I get is worth the positive aspects.
It is really inspiring to me when I learn that my content and online presence has encouraged another transgender or LGB person to create either IRL or online content. I think that being open as a trans person helps to make us more visible and thus “normal” to others. My main content is doing live streaming on Twitch. It is by far the most fun thing that I do. Being able to interact in real time with my community and viewers is always a highlight of my day and a real laugh most times! Most of the challenges at work relate to dealing with online trolls and transphobic people. Putting yourself out on the internet requires a bit of a thick skin as well as decisiveness when dealing with the negative and toxic people.
I honestly never really knew what I wanted my career to be when I was growing up. Mainly because every time I said “I want to do this!” I was told I couldn’t because of (usually sexist) “reasons”. My final year of high school though, I decided to major in Psychology when I applied to a local University. I only attended for one year though, so it didn’t work out. When I was in school, I loved Psychology. My favourite class was a Psych 101 course taught by a super awesome teacher who also loved the subject and you could really feel her enthusiasm!
When I was at school, the internet wasn’t a thing like it is today, so my younger self would have been super confused about it! Saying that, I think I would tell my younger self to never let people tell you what you can and can’t do in life. If you want to want to pursue a career, then go for it! Figure out what you need to do to make it a reality and chase that dream!
Malachi Clarke, He/Him, Hotel Manager
I joined Travelodge in 2017 and during the last three and half years, I have created a career within the hospitality sector and climbed the career ladder into management in one of the UK’s largest hotel brands.
I started with the company as a night receptionist at Stafford M6 Travelodge. I was eager to make a success of this role and I put 100% effort in being the best I could. I had a great manager who recognised my potential and coached me in learning new skills and I took on extra responsibilities and learnt other aspects of managing a hotel which included managing the reception desk and housekeeping.
As Travelodge has over 550 hotels dotted across the UK and is totally committed in developing and supporting its people, I took the opportunity to move down south and I got a position at Cambridge Central Travelodge. This is a large hotel situated in Cambridge city centre and has an on-site restaurant called the Bar Café. It was a great opportunity as working in a large city centre hotel is so different from operating a smaller hotel.
Once again I had a great manager and District manager who appreciated my passion to succeed and put me forward for the in-house fast track management development programme called Aspire. This programme teaches you all the skills to operate and manage your own hotel. Within nine months I graduated from the programme and now I am the Assistant Manager at Marlow Travelodge Plus. This hotel only opened a year ago and is the company’s premium product offering. It was a dream come true moment to get this position.
Travelodge is dedicated and committed to supporting and helping its people and I have first-hand experience of this policy. I cannot believe how supportive the management and company has been and they have totally supported me not only to develop my career but also through my transition and most importantly build my confidence. I have also supported the Travelodge HR team in developing a Transgender policy and a Trans-friendly environment at work too which is a great honour for me.
Travelodge was recently ranked within the top UK companies for Diversity leadership in a list of 850 companies compiled by the Financial Times newspaper. This is a great example of how progressive Travelodge is.
I love the 24/7 nature of working at Travelodge and that no two days are ever the same. There is always a buzz at the hotel with business and leisure travellers. As I am a people’s person, I love meeting and helping new customers every day and it is also very rewarding looking after and developing my team.
I am so grateful for the support and help from my Managers and District Managers through my career advancement at Travelodge. I have grabbed every opportunity presented to me over the years and my hard work and passion to succeed has helped me to climb the career ladder and most importantly build a career that can take me anywhere in the world.
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