This is the sentence from Caroline Paige, who was recalling her life 20 years ago, in a recent interview. She said, “I had to live two lives. I had to keep who I was a secret“.
She said this is subject to the transgender life she was living in secret.
Caroline Paige was a Royal Air Force Navigator who was living as a man as a course of her life and career journey. She spent 35 good years in the air force and during the course of her career. She flew jets and planes like the F4 Phantom, fighters which intercepted the Soviet bombers during the cold war. After serving her service for the cold war, she then moved to serve the war of Gulf and switched from flying jets to the helicopters in Afghanistan, Iraq and Bosnia.
Despite having to hide her true identity from friends, family and her colleagues, she still loved her job. However, after years of personal struggle, when she was outed, she had to face horrendous outcomes. She had the option of leaving the military, but she decided to set her foot down and fight for her rights.
Transgender discrimination on the frontline
Despite facing the challenges from the workers, she came across a woman officer to fight her case and understand her right to equality and employment in the field of military. Hence, after years of fighting the case and standing for her rights, she was considered the first transgender officer who served the British armed forces.
Even though she got many turned backs, giggles, laughter, mocks and comments, she still remained vulnerable and stood her ground to prove her value to the military.
Over the course of her struggle, she won various awards for her bravery and protecting the nations, after which people started realizing her worth and quoted “It’s not about who you are, it’s about what you do”.
Meanwhile, during the drama in Britain military, people started realizing the importance behind the protection of the transgender community. In 2000, the UK military and government removed the ban on the gay and bisexual people serving the military. However, the global struggle for the recognition of the transgender was ignited and was regarded as an explosive debate across her work.
The protection of transgender from workplace discrimination was a serious issue. One of the best actions against discriminations in certain countries was when the country allowed to legally changing the gender in their official documents, without having to go for “certifications” for the same. This is because if you arrive at a job interview as a woman and your documents and ID mentions you’re a man, how can the company process or believe such a candidate? Hence, in order to terminate the bias, the workplace documents demanded the actual gender of the person or the employee.
The reforms across the world
Currently, there exist almost 12 countries that allow the people and the employees to change their gender legally, on any government and private forms with a self-declaration and determination. Most of these countries are in Europe and Latin America.
However, the issue of transgender employment has become a serious call to action in some of the counties. For instance, the UK was one country for the idea of self-determination, but in recent years, they have voted against this procedure. In countries like India, the Supreme Court and the government allow for self-determination, however with some form of certification to avoid people from exploiting the job opportunities and other measures.
In addition to this, India is also one of those countries that have mandated the action of the workplace for all the transgender. However, the stigma attached to them is in favour of widespread recognition.
From Caroline Paige’s statements and situations, it is clear that transgender employment has created a new wave, especially in the employment sector. There is still a constant dance between social changes and factors and legal recognition. Generations are increasing their identities for the conforming of certain expectations for a man or woman and gathering at a greater pace. Although many counties across the world encourage transgender sections of the society to work in the field of beauty in entertainment, they’re frowned upon and discriminated in the professional fields.