Philadelphia Inquirer Coverage of TransWork - Philadelphia Airport Job Fair

"Why the Philadelphia airport hosted a job fair for trans and nonbinary people"

by Juliana Feliciano Reyes
Published in The Philadelphia Inquirer
Wednesday, September 11, 2019


When Celeste Divinity was a server, she found herself making constant calculations: Should she tell her customers about her gender identity?

Divinity, 23, a trans woman, knew that if she didn’t, she’d risk getting misgendered — a painful and all-too-common occurrence on the job. But if she did tell them, they might feel uncomfortable being corrected, or worse.

Ultimately, she said, “that can come at your tips.”

And in Philly, where the minimum wage for servers who work for tips is $2.83 an hour, that could be the difference between making rent or not.

It’s just one of the difficulties trans and nonbinary individuals face at work — and why a group of volunteers has started a program to connect those communities to jobs.

TransWork, a program of the Independence Business Alliance, Philly’s LGBT business association, hosted its first job fair Tuesday afternoon at the William Way Community Center in partnership with the city’s Division of Aviation, which runs Philadelphia International Airport. Speakers presented to a crowd of about 20 on topics such as trans workers’ rights -- including the city’s nondiscrimination law that says it’s illegal to be discriminated against on the basis of gender -- the ins and outs of changing your name and legal records so that it doesn’t get in the way of security clearances, and the kinds of opportunities available at the Division of Aviation.

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