While working in community care, I visited a female transgender person. She wore football clothes, had a male name and had short boy hair. Apart from that, she looked, walked and talked like a female. She made a comment that she found me sexually attractive. During work hours, I would be unhappy for a male client to say this, and I felt even more uncomfortable with a female who believes she is a man saying it to me. As this transgender person has been female in the past, you would think she would remember what it feels like for a male to objectify her without seeking consent, and now that she is apparently a male, would refrain from doing that in her new male life. Her mother was there. She looked embarrassed but also amused.
I changed employer, not because of this reason but because of another. While working for this employer, I met a transgender man in a nursing home. I wasn't quite sure if he was transgender or not at first because I was standing across the room, but his face certainly looked unusual. I had to walk past him to get to another resident.
With a friendly smile and voice, he said, "Hi my name is (female name). I'm transgender, but I'm not wearing my paraphernalia today."
I thought that was a strange way to start a conversation with a stranger. I never say, "Hi my name's ____. I'm a heterosexual female" when I meet people. I also thought it was strange he called it paraphernalia and that he didn't wear it every day. I'm a female and I've never worn paraphernalia in my life. I am a female every day by birth not by clothing/make-up on days that I choose to be female.
Fortunately, I was not assigned to this man that shift, so I didn't have to help him dress but the thought of dressing a man in female underwear and make-up was very upsetting to me. I have avoided being involved in this man’s care by telling my employer a lie.
Another trans-identifying man I met was wearing a non-sexual female top and skirt. He had a menacing look in his eye and a menacing demeanour and every part of him besides his clothes were masculine (face, shoulders, hips, arms, legs, voice, walk, talk). Fortunately, once again, he was not assigned to me, but the thought of having to dress him was very upsetting to me once again. I can’t keep lying to my boss to avoid dressing trans-identifying people (I’m quite sure you can get fired for telling your boss lies), but every day I live in fear that I will be assigned to his care.
I rang a discrimination/human rights organisation to ask if there is a way I can honestly avoid dressing trans-identifying men in women’s clothing. They said they couldn't help me and gave me the number to another organisation who gave me the number to another organisation until I received the number for the first organisation. I'm quite sure one of those organisations put me on fake hold while they pretended to be reviewing with their team about what could be done about my situation. So, I sent an email to a union about the situation saying if I join your union, could you help me with this situation? They said they couldn't give me an answer until I had joined. So, I paid a couple of hundred-dollar membership fees to join. Then they said they couldn't help me. I felt like I'd been robbed.
Once my membership renewal came up the next year, I ticked that I didn't want to renew my membership. They sent me a perky email asking me why and if there was anything they could do to improve their service. I told them they hadn't been able to help me with my transgenderism problem. They sent an abrupt reply saying, okay, don't worry about renewing with us.