Many groups, organizations, and individuals, both on and off campus, can help you navigate your career and explore your options. Meeting new people and joining new groups can be difficult — this can be especially true if you’re unsure whether expressing your gender identity in front of others will be safe and welcomed. Whether it’s a group that’s in the 2SLGBTQ+ community, or one that aligns with your interests and career aspirations, what’s important is that you get involved and get connected.
Friends, family, and familiars
It can be easier to start by connecting with people you’re already familiar with through your social, school, and professional circles. These familiar contacts may or may not know the career goals you’ve clarified, so sharing these goals will help them better support you in your career journey. If you have a sense of the type of job or industry you would like to work in, start by identifying some people you already know that may be in that field or in roles similar to what you’re looking to do. You can also specifically ask people you personally know — particularly trans and nonbinary people — about how well organizations they know treat trans staff and whether it will be a good fit for you. Keep in mind that you might receive mixed feedback across a variety of experiences; use your best judgement and rely on the perspectives of those you trust most.
Refer to some of the question prompts in the section Identifying Companies Where you want to Work.
Support at school
At U of T, the Sexual & Gender Diversity Office (SGDO) provides a host of programs, events and services that can help you in a variety of ways. Programs and events hosted by the SGDO can help you get connected to others, such as our conversation cafés for 2Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, trans and nonbinary students — and the “U of T 2SLGBTQ+ Alumni & Student Networking Night”. The SGDO also supports students who have experienced discrimination or harassment while on campus and/or related to university activities.
The many 2SLGBTQ+ student clubs and organizations across the universities three campuses, including college and professional faculty student organizations, can help you get connected to and network with other 2SLGBTQ+ students, staff and faculty. Also, consider getting involved with student groups or clubs which align with your career aspirations to gain insight into the profession and meet people who share your career interests.
The SGDO can help you to find your community. For a list of groups, visit uoft.me/LGBTQstudentgroups, subscribe to SGDO listserv, or visit the office in person.
Expand your circle
Trans and nonbinary people infrequently see themselves reflected in the workforce and are often presented with visual images and environments that align with binary gender norms. Your trans and/ or nonbinary identity is one of many intersectional identities that you hold — such as race, age, (dis)ability, and more — which can also impact feelings of representation and belonging. Connecting with professionals, employers and U of T alumni — particularly those who identify as trans and nonbinary — is a great way to envision yourself doing what you want to do. Reaching out to your personal and community contacts, and connecting with student groups, campus and career resources, can feel intimidating and can take time, but is a necessary part of the job search process.
Practicing these skills in familiar environments and using campus supports designed for students and recent alumni can be less intimidating. You can use platforms such as LinkedIn or other industry specific platforms as another entry point for making connections. Another option is to reach out to professional associations and organizations geared towards supporting 2SLGBTQ+ employees and aspiring professionals. However you get connected, it’s important to find people who you can talk to and learn from – it is often through personal and professional connections that people find out about jobs and better prepare their applications.
Don’t forget, you have access to tri-campus career centre programs, services, and resources for up to 2 years after you graduate.
“As trans and gender nonconforming folks, we have additional worries about being accepted, supported, and not tokenized in workplaces. But being part of the LGBTQ2S community also grants you access to LGBTQ2S organizations in Toronto trying to connect queer job seekers and professionals with a professional network and job opportunities, so make use of those! I was surprised at how friendly and willing people were to meet for a coffee and give job-seeking or career advice — people like to share their stories and be of help because they’ve been there too.”
– Elliot, Faculty of Law, Class of 2017