I’m looking for a room to share in someone’s house because I can’t afford more than the $1500 it now costs for that luxury here in Southern California. I’m a single occupant who does freelance work as an illustrator. Oh, and I’m Transgender. Let’s not forget to figure in that wild card.
How many ways have I heard no in the last 6 months? Normally it’s just no response at all. That’s probably because there are hundreds of other people looking for the same thing. Although most of them are younger with better jobs. They’re also more than likely Cisgender or Gay, but more than likely, not Transgender. I’ve come out to people and had them openly discriminate against me. One prospective landlord said that they were “full-up on Trangenders.” These days I generally don’t out myself because it’s just another potential strike against me. Ironically I had another homeowner tell me she didn’t feel a “vibe” with me. She presented rather butch, and I felt she was judging me not because I’m Trans but because I’m tall, blonde, and well, attractive. How ironic is that? I mean I’m being discriminated against for both being Trans AND transitioning too well??
Yesterday there was a new one. The landlord wanted me to supply them with a background check. I guess they wanted to see if I had a criminal record? What also shows up on these is every place you’ve ever lived AND the names you had when you were at those addresses. So in essence I was faced with the choice of outing myself or not applying for the room. I don’t present Trans, and had a really nice conversation with my prospective housemate when I looked at the room. She was very excited that I might be the one renting the room. But I had to wonder how she might feel if I was revealed to be Transgender in this background check? I couldn’t really say I would prefer not to do the check could I? Saying that would be the same as saying I had something to hide. Do you really need a background check? I’m 60 years old and pay my bills on time. I have great references. I’m a great roommate. I get along well with others. I’m respectful and quiet. Isn’t that what matters?
But I’ve learned landlords here have turned ruthless. You are not allowed to be a human being. I was recently going to sign a lease in thirty minutes and I asked the landlord if I could have a copy of the lease before I came over just to double-check the details. Next thing you know I got a message saying they decided to rent to someone else. Seriously?? That was too much to ask??
I finally found a place recently after months of searching, only to be given notice 2 months later. They have a “family member” coming back, so they gave me notice. I couldn’t help but wonder why this suddenly came up? The landlord even wrote me saying I was an exemplary tenant. Then what is it? I see now why other minorities begin to get paranoid. I certainly am. When the door slams in your face enough times you have to start believing that it’s more than just bad luck.