Lo scorso 6 luglio Vladi Luxuria ha partecipato al Global LGBT Workplace Summit, dibattito sul lavoro organizzato da OUT and EQUAL l’organizzazione americana che lavora per l’uguaglianza LGBT nei luoghi di lavoro.
Questo è il testo integrale del suo intervento:
let me first thank “Out and Equal” for giving me the opportunity to talk today to this wonderful audience. I thank Ivan Scalfarotto, Parks Italy, for creating a contact with you. And thanks to Denise Norrise, Toni Charles and Cécile Rochet for the extremely interesting session I participated yesterday on “Accomodating Transgender Employees into Global Workplace”. Last but not least I thank my parents for making me so natural.
I want to start my speech thinking positive: things have changed, the world we live today is better than the world people like me happened to live in the past.
The word “transexual” was coined around the middle of last century, “transgender” was in common use since more or less the last decades of the same century, while “transphobia” is even more recent.
Well, that’s because we did not deserve an appropriate name, we were not considered ‘normal’ people. Normal people instead considered normal to denigrate us, beat us and kill us. There was no need to define as “transphobia” such a negative behaviour towards us. Let me tell you, if this is ‘normality’ I’m glad I am not normal, I’d rather be what I am, not a normal but a special individual.
WE were neither transsexual nor transgender, we were just considered transvestites, perverts, freaks. We’ve been condemned to death, confined in mental hospitals, put into jail, we’ve been treated with electroshock because somebody thought we could be cured. The fact is these people, these missionaries of compulsory gender conformity, never managed to make us different, they only managed to make us more miserable.
In Italy, the country I come from, not centuries ago, just in last century’s seventies ‘Article One’ was sticked to us, article one defined us as “habitual criminals”. We had no civil rights, no passport to go abroad, if it rained we couldn’t take our umbrella out ‘cause it could be considered as an offensive weapon.
I wonder whether tweezers were also considered as an offensive weapon, can you imagine?
Transgender people holding tweezers manacing humanity: “WE will pull out all of your hair!”
How could we imagine to look for a job under such circumstances in the past? The only possible way to earn a living was prostitution, in many cases to be double discriminated, as transgender and as prostitutes.
I know today it’s not all roses, there is still a lot to work on, there are even now parts of the world where it’s hard, very hard, to be openly transgender, but thanks to science, to surgery improvements, to a more open mentality and advanced laws in luckier countries to the question “Can transgender people have the right to work like anybody else?” our answer must be: “YES, WE CAN!”
There are countries like UK and Spain where we can have a gender reassignment regardless a genitalia change, countries, like mine, where you can’t. During my brief experience in the italian parliament as MP I tried very hard to make it possible, I didn’t manage to.
I’m not only satisfied with gender reassignment without sex change, an important step to have less problems applying for a job, since you can be more discrete, “stealthy”; this depends partly on your appearance, what you are, what you wanted to be, what you achieved to be.
To avoid discrimination based on ‘discretion’ that’s to say how feminine you managed to be as Male to Female, and how masculine as Female to male, we must make any possible efforts for a cultural revolution where regardless your ‘look’ and your personal data you should have all the freedom to talk about your past, if you want to, with your colleagues and your manager.
I’m sure many of you know what it means to be discriminated, there are many gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people who don’t come out because they are afraid to be discriminated. I can’t blame a young guy who doesn’t come out in Teheran where he runs the risk to be hanged in a public square surrounded by people throwing stones, spitting and yelling at you.
For many of us it is not merely fear, it is terror.
Try to figure out a transgender individual applying for a job, being face to face with someone who can decide you’re in or you’re out. You may have studied, you’ve been practicing for this job, you feel confident you’re capable of, nevertheless in those moments tension is high in the air, there’s tension for everybody, I know, for straight people as well, expecially nowadays with crisis and lack of work, but there’s a difference:
transgender people feel that we need to show not only the ability as workers, we are requested to undergo a test to see whether we deserve a place in society, a place in the sun.
When running an interview it isn’t easy to demonstrate you’ve been discriminated when you heat them say: “Ok thank you so much, we’ll let you know” while you can see the embarrassment if not disgust in their eyes. It isn’t any better when you have a job and you decide your gender transition and gender change expression: mobbing, isolation, obstacles to get a higher position in your career, compelled task changes often to avoid public contact.
Nonetheless I want to keep on thinking positive: I’m glad it is not always so, there are managers, companies that prefer meritocracy to discrimination, enlighted employers who know that a fully realized employees is more productive, economically more useful, socially more enjoyable.
In Italy transgender associations together with CGL UNION New Rights and UNAAR (Anti-discrimination national Office) are making all their best to make “transgender” and “work” not two opposite words, even though our Parliament seems to be impermeable to the various indication given by the European Parliament to avoid any possible discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Transgender people should have the opportunity to show ability in different fields, and I am a living example, a role model: I’ve been working on tv, in theatre, on the radio, I’m a writer, I’ve been been member of the Italian Parliament, and what’s more important I’m very good at gathering grape to make wine. I think I’m the only human being in the world who won both a political election and a reality show, a kind of “Survivor” on television, starving for two months and a half on a little island scattered in the Carribean Sea, learning how to fish and how to survive to mosquitos… I can tell you they can be more annoying than transphobic people.
I did so many things… not because I’m old, trans never get old, we get vintage!
I’ve been teacher too. At school.
I remember the very first day I met the headmaster of the scool. He said, looking at me “I was expecting a Mr. Vladi…” and I said “I am the one… I am Vladi”.
The headmaster was kind of shocked. There was a crucifix hanging on the wall behind him. So he looked at me, he looked at the male data on the document. He turned and looked at poor Jesus asking for help or mercy. I gave him help, I just told him in a smooth tone of voice: “I know, I am a transgender, it’s not usual to have a person like me as teacher, I can assure you I’ll do my best to
It has been a wonderful experience, students loved me, no problem, no discrimination. I may have been lucky. I don’t know.
I just follow four principles:
1) understand reality you live in so as to think globally and act locally, otherwise it’s not action it’s science-fiction
2) do anything you can to make this place a better place for you and the best place for next generations
3) remember: our best judge is our conscience, we know that to become a better person is a daily struggle with the others and with ourselves, this doesn’t depend totally on our sexual identity.
4) make the strongest decision: in our family, at school, with friends, in public, at work, let’s live the only and one life we’ve been allowed to live at the best: OUT AND EQUAL!
Queste alcune foto scattate durante il Summit
© Foto dall’Album Ufficiale dell’Evento »