+
trans job connect facebook
Photo by paje victoria on Unsplash
brown vehicle on road under white sky
True

Technology brings us together in the most innovative and powerful ways. We can see the faces of loved ones from miles away. Online classes make learning more accessible than ever. Entire communities sharing common interests and passions are built virtually. Though it can distract us, and disconnect us, technology also has the potential to remind us that we are not alone.

That was the case for transgender activists Jim and Kat Blake.

using facebook to create groupsJust two people in love and trying to live their best lifeAll images by Charles Ommanney, used with permission

Before they created the Trans Job Connect Facebook group, to say life was lonely would be an understatement. Both grew up in Mississippi, and after coming out were met with anything but a welcome embrace. Instead, their families ostracized them, friends stopped returning their calls, and fellow employees harassed them. Kat was even assaulted at work – a much larger co-worker knocked her on the back with a shovel and threatened to murder her if he ever saw her again. It was clear that this was no longer their home.

Finding belonging wouldn’t be easy. Their adventure began when they packed up their belongings (along with their two kiddos) and hit the road in a camper van. Little did they know that it would evolve into a 10,000 mile, three year journey. Along the way, they soon realized that Mississippi – or the South for that matter – wasn’t the only place where transgender people were refused resources. Even institutions designed to offer humanitarian support like churches, charity organizations, and homeless prevention programs denied the Blake family help in their time of need.

Securing a new job proved to be a near insurmountable obstacle. Jim would commonly receive the generic response of, “We’ve decided not to move forward” or “ We don’t feel you’re the best fit” following an interview. That is, if he heard anything at all. Many times, it would just be crickets. But the message was still clear: he wasn’t wanted.

Knowing they weren’t the only ones experiencing these kinds of hardships, Jim and Kat were determined to not just create a supportive, affirming community for themselves, but for as many transgender folks as possible.

Kat began working with Trans Lifeline, a peer support group call center, talking to multiple people a day, while Jim researched job discrimination, finding some pretty overwhelming statistics. Helping others relieved some of the isolation, but not all. And it didn’t spread any education for finding work.

Then Jim had an idea that would set them on a brand new path. “What if we made a Facebook Group?”

Facebook’s platform allows for super specific, ultra niche interest groups. You’ve seen them: “Millennial Women Who Love Ducks,” or “Marathon Runners Who Only Listen to EDM.” Facebook Groups make it easy to form friendships based on common interests from anywhere in the world. It can also make it easy for specific (and often underepresented) demographics like transgender, queer, and non-binary people to access a support group made just for them.

And thus Trans Job Connect was virtually born.

trans job connect

The first thing people receive at TJCnis a warm welcome

Trans Job Connect, as the name implies, helps transgender people gain access to all the tools they might need to find secure employment. And for many, the major challenge is the interview. Namely, in interview clothes. As Jim notes, 34% of transgender people have a yearly income of less than $10K, and aren’t able to afford a wardrobe that expresses their new gender.

Couple this with gender dysphoria (the sense of unease a person may feels when there’s a mismatch between their biological sex and their gender), and it’s a recipe for low confidence. As anyone who has bombed an interview due to not feeling your best knows, being comfortable in our own skin is crucial. Trans Job Connect partners with an organization to provide binders and transition specific clothing, so that candidates can present themselves authentically and self-assured.

inclusivity for trans

One (of many) sweet messages sent to TJC members

In addition, the group holds resume workshops, matches candidates to trans-inclusive businesses, and hosts in-person and virtual job fairs. Though Jim noted that the first bit of the virtual fair was a tad wonky (as in, the awkwardness of first time dealings with technical issues), the group still succeeded. 100 people were interviewed. 10 moved onto a second round. 13 were hired on the spot.

Using Facebook Group Insights, an analytic tool that tracks member engagement and post performance, Trans Job Connect has been able to curate content that its members are interested in the most, making it an invaluable resource. Delivering potentially life-changing knowledge to those who often receive very little in “the real world”, it’s no wonder that TJC now boasts a total of over 1600 members. And since it’s humble beginnings in 2017, the group has assisted 348 trans/queer individuals with their job search.

Jim and Kat have nothing but pride for their virtual community, and they have no plans to stop growing it. They currently use the group to recruit volunteers, set appointments, converse with clients, and announce events. For them, Facebook remains a “great hub for organization, recruitment, fellowship, and support.”

jobs for trans people

This is what inclusivity looks like


When the Blakes set out on their road trip back in 2015, it might have been for survival. But now, they are fearless – and on a mission to help others reclaim a sense of belonging. They might have not expected Facebook to play such a large part in that endeavor, but it’s helped make their vision a reality. When we use technology to connect us to our humanity, great things happen.

via FIRST

FIRST students compete in a robotics challenge.

True

Societies all over the world face an ever-growing list of complex issues that require informed solutions. Whether it’s addressing infectious diseases, the effects of climate change, supply chain issues or resource scarcity, the world has an immediate need for problem-solvers with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills.

Here in the United States, we’re experiencing a shortage of much-needed STEM workers, and forward-thinking organizations are stepping up to tap into America’s youth to fill the void. As the leading youth-serving nonprofit advancing STEM education, FIRST is an important player in this arena, and its mission is to inspire young people aged 4 to 18 to become technology leaders and innovators capable of addressing the world’s pressing needs.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Marlon Brando on "The Dick Cavett Show" in 1973.

Marlon Brando made one of the biggest Hollywood comebacks in 1972 after playing the iconic role of Vito Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather.” The venerable actor's career had been on a decline for years after a series of flops and increasingly unruly behavior on set.

Brando was a shoo-in for Best Actor at the 1973 Academy Awards, so the actor decided to use the opportunity to make an important point about Native American representation in Hollywood.

Instead of attending the ceremony, he sent Sacheen Littlefeather, a Yaqui and Apache actress and activist, dressed in traditional clothing, to talk about the injustices faced by Native Americans.

She explained that Brando "very regretfully cannot accept this generous award, the reasons for this being … the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry and on television in movie reruns, and also with recent happenings at Wounded Knee."

Keep ReadingShow less

Co-sleeping isn't for everyone.

The marital bed is a symbol of the intimacy shared between people who’ve decided to be together 'til death they do part. When couples sleep together it’s an expression of their closeness and how they care for one another when they are most vulnerable.

However, for some couples, the marital bed can be a warzone. Throughout the night couples can endure snoring, sleep apnea, the ongoing battle for sheets or circadian rhythms that never seem to sync. If one person likes to fall asleep with the TV on while the other reads a book, it can be impossible to come to an agreement on a good-night routine.

Last week on TODAY, host Carson Daly reminded viewers that he and his wife Siri, a TODAY Food contributor, had a sleep divorce while she was pregnant with their fourth child.

“I was served my sleep-divorce papers a few years ago,” he explained on TODAY. “It’s the best thing that ever happened to us. We both, admittedly, slept better apart.”

Keep ReadingShow less