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Transgender Job-Seeker Told to Dress Like a Man

Transgender Job-Seeker Told to Dress Like a Man


A U.K. transgender woman says she was told by her local employment office that her chances of finding work would improve if she dressed as a man.

Eighteen months ago, Andrew Cook was laid off from a construction job and began collecting unemployment benefits. Last February, Cook--who has felt like a female since age 6 and has been cross-dressing for decades--started gender-reassignment treatment and began living as Tina.

Cook, 54, alleges that last week at the Darlington Jobcentre she was advised to dress like a man for interviews to increase her chances of finding work.

"I have been living in the wrong body for 53 years and have only recently summoned up the courage to be the way I want," she told The Northern Echo. "I have given up so much for this. My family don't really talk to me and I have no friends. How can they expect me to give it up to get a job? I think it is really insensitive."

According to the terms of her treatment, Cook--who is only a quarter of the way through the reassignment process--must dress and present herself as a woman to avoid being dropped from the program.

Emma Roebuck, joint project coordinator at Gay Advice Darlington, called the Jobcentre's advice "unprofessional," saying that "people need help and support through this process. If you have a Government agency saying you are never going to get a job dressing like that, then they are effectively saying you are a failure."

A spokesman for the U.K. Department for Work and Pensions said the Jobcentre is committed to providing fair treatment to all individuals and that the incident is under investigation.

Read the full story here.

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