Being a closeted girl in the trades, im curious how youre prwceived and treated by your peers and clients
Hmmm, interesting question, snowyard7! It very much depends, as my work encompasses several different aspects of “the trades”. As far as just making custom things for folk, people who seek me out know that I’m a lass, and if they have done any research they probably know that I’m trans, too, so as far as clients go. They’re pretty much a self-selectingly accepting bunch.
As far as classes go, that’s a bit different. Both of the schools have been amazing about the fact that I’m trans, and I’m extremely lucky in that. Everyone at The Steel Yard and Prospect Hill Forge has been amazing. On the websites for both of the schools I have a bio, but not every student reads it, and even when they do, they still have preconceived notions about smithing. I (sometimes, though not often) will have students come in, and be utterly shocked and confused that the little lass in the apron with the hammer is <gasp!> actually the teacher. When people are shits about it, I say something along the lines of (Carl West of PHF came up with this) “Yes. I am the instructor. I am here to teach you some blacksmithing, if my gender doesn’t get in the way…” and then I give them a raised eyebrow. Usually helps, but sometimes the best thing that I can do is just to be as good a teacher and smith as I can be to hammer the point home.
Mind you, my current situation is pretty amazing! It hasn’t always been so. I’ve had a few jobs where my being trans was an “issue”. I had to leave a job at a glass blowing school that I had loved because they were no good about it. It was just massively awkward and they weren’t getting the memo, so.
Theeeeeeeeeen there was the murderer. Long story short, I worked for a blacksmith who was a murderer on parole (didn’t learn that until a while into the job) and called me his “hot girl friday”, and tried to get me to drop my then girlfriend now wife, and start an affair with him, and when I told him I’m trans it only got worse. He tried to get me to commit tax fraud, and a whole bunch of other stuff. It’s a long long story. Anyhow, I left, but it was a sub-optimal situation.
All of this has taught me to trust my gut about people, not work of criminals, and to be upfront about being trans. If someone is cool with it, and affirming, and it’s no problem for them, it’s likely that you can work for them no problem. If they’re shits about it, or get creepy, manipulative and worse? Well, let’s just stay away then.
I hope that helps! Good luck with your tradeshumaning and transing and everything! 😀 😀 😀