Being Yourself as LGBT <3> Job Hunting Support
Distress and anxiety are an unavoidable part of the job hunting experience. It is even greater for LGBT university students.
“Because there isn’t anyone like me around, it’s difficult to envision my future.”
Rui is a transgender university senior in Saitama Prefecture. He is in the midst of job hunting.
He was born as a female, but identifies as male, wearing his hair short and avoiding makeup and feminine clothing. At the moment, he’s not thinking about receiving gender reassignment surgery and officially changing his gender on his family registry. He’s just looking for a company that will understand his situation.
“Coming out during an interview would probably put me at a disadvantage. I want to be accepted by the company.”
With doubt and worry, he continues to attend information sessions and job hunting seminars.
This past March, an “LGBT Job Hunting Public Talk” event was held with the goal of helping university students like Rui.
Jun Nakashima, a native of Fukuoka Prefecture, spoke about her experience job hunting while being openly transgender.
“There are companies that turn LGBT people down, but there are also many that accept them. It’s not to say that the only LGBT-friendly companies are foreign ones.”
She also felt a sense of loss regarding which gender to pick on her resume, or whether to wear men’s or women’s suit to interviews. She wrote about the fact that she is a sexual minority in the “reason for applying” section of her application. However, it came out sounding more like a thesis about how she would overcome the barriers LGBT people face when searching for jobs. “After working at a company for three years, I have finally come to feel like I can be myself.”
The event was a collaboration between the NPOs “ReBit” of Musashino, City Tokyo, and “NEC”. They have been holding similar events for two years, supporting job hunting college students with seminars and other activities. This year, they established the website (http://www.lgbtcareer.org/). The site assists LGBT college students in their search for a job, and users can also read about the experiences of others who have had similar experiences. Mika Yakushi, the representative, indicated that “Due to the fact that it’s hard to see the affected parties, it’s been difficult for us to visualize the problems they face and find ways to support them.”
Nevertheless, the situation continues to improve in Kyushu. The NPO group “FRENZ” held for the first time a seminar in Fukuoka about being LGBT in the workplace and job hunting last September. One participant, Anri Ishizaki, said “Because it seems easier to work in Tokyo, the number of young people who leave Fukuoka is quite large. We want to increase conversation regarding different business models and working conditions.”
This past April, Ouga began working in Kumamoto Prefecture at an engineering firm as a carpenter in training. Though he is listed as “female” on his family registry, he works as a male. Since graduating high school two years ago, he has been working various short term part-time jobs. This time, he was assisted in finding the job by the Kumamoto City job hunting support organization, “The Kumamoto LGBTIQ Association for Moving Forward Together” (Japanese: ともに拓（ひら）くＬＧＢＴＩＱの会くまもと).
The amount of requests for the services of the organization have been piling up. It offers advice for interviews, at times even accompanying the individuals. Its representative, Hiroshi Imazaki(62), a former teacher, broadened his understanding of the plights of LGBT people and began to focus his energy on supporting them following his retirement. “There are children who have experienced bullying, quit school, or are unable to think of a dream. We must create an environment where they will be able to cultivate their dreams.”
With the exceptions of full names, the names used in this article are pseudonyms.