‘Insensitive’ Jobcentre tells UK transsexual to dress as a man to get job

February 9th, 2011 - 5:50 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Feb 9 (ANI): A transsexual in Britain has considered taking legal action after Jobcentre workers told her she would have a better chance at getting a job if she was dressed as a man.

Tina Cook, 54, who was born Andrew and used to work as a labourer, claims she was given the “insensitive” advice last week while discussing unsuccessful job interviews.

Cook is technically still a man and is yet to undergo the physical transformation of her body through hormone treatment and surgery, which will take a further three years.

She says she must live and dress as a woman every day for a year as part of her gender realignment treatment, and should she follow the advice of the Jobcentre employee she would have been withdrawn from the programme she began last February.

“I’ve only recently summoned the courage to be the way I want. I have given up so much. My family don’t really talk to me and I have no friends,” the Daily Mail quoted her as saying.

“How can they expect me to give it up to get a job? It’s really insensitive. I don’t go to the Jobcentre for disrespect and abuse. All I need to do for that is walk down the street or go into any pub.

“I don’t expect it when I am trying to get off benefits and get back into work,” she stated.

Cook said workers at her local Jobcentre in Darlington, County Durham, also referred to her as “darling”.

“They wink at me and say it - I know they are making fun. I get the feeling when I go to the Jobcentre sometimes that they don’t want me there,” she said.

Cook first signed on for Jobseekers allowance in February 2010 after losing her job as a labourer for engineering firm Carillion.

Campaign groups have branded the comments by the Jobcentre “unprofessional”.

“If you were to ask a homosexual to act straight, or suggest to an ethnic minority that the reason they were not getting work was because of their race, there would be an outrage and quite rightly,” Janet Scott, of the Beaumont Society, a charity to help transgender people, said.

“This is exactly the same kind of thing,” she added. (ANI)

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