LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Hundreds of transgender men and women came to a career fair in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday in the hopes of landing jobs and networking.
“It’s hard for our community to find jobs. Just the fact that this exists is amazing.” says Jasmine Mosbar, a job seeker.READ MORE: Walter Mondale, Former Vice President, Has Died At Age 93
Today’s event is believed to be the largest of its kind. More than 400 job seekers came to talk to hiring managers from 80 companies including some heavy hitters like Starbucks and Bank of America.
CBS2’s Hermela Aregawi spoke to the hopefuls.
“It’s a really big deal to me,” said Herinn Palacios, a gender non-conforming job seeker.
Palacios drove from Sacramento for the event.READ MORE: Hester Ford, The Oldest Living American, Has Died
“It’s really important to me cause finding work is like being gender nonconforming or trans or just like queer in general. It has been kind of difficult,” Palacios says.
“There’s lots of companies that want to be supportive — and they talk a big game but then when it comes to hiring it doesn’t necessarily show up in applications,” says Mosbar.
Rizi Timane is one of the lead organizers of the event. He now works as Director of the Transgender Health program at St. John’s Health Center and says a lot of his clients were struggling largely due to a lack of job security.
“A male born person transitioning to female would take estrogen and start looking feminine and start dressing feminine at work and there would be chaos, the employers didn’t know what to do. The staff didn’t know what to do, there were issues with where they would use the restroom,” Timane says.
Before the fair, there was training for company reps — “What are the right pronouns, what happens when people are taking hormones, how can you keep trans people safe?” says Timane.MORE NEWS: Garcetti Proposes Nearly $1B To Battle LA Homelessness Crisis
Organizers said they were blown away by the amount of interest in the event and support. They say the next stop is following up with the companies that are here and doing sme more training with them — but this time on site.