‘I Can’t Get A Job Because Of My Past’ – British Youngest Transgender


A transgender woman who became Britain’s youngest person to be accepted for gender reassignment aged 16 claims she cannot get a job because prospective employers google her past.

Rihanna Cooper, now 21, says her dream is to make a living as a care worker but she has applied for more than 100 jobs and is yet to secure a position.

Miss Cooper thought she had landed her dream job with a care provider, but claims she was summoned to their head office on Tuesday and told there was no longer a post for her.

She claims a manager told her they had googled her name and found an article featured in a national newspaper earlier this year.

Rihanna admitted to resorting to “dribs and drabs” of escort work in the past but says: “Being transgender does not make me any less of a person. I am no freak. I am not a murderer. I am a normal human being.

“Yes, I have made mistakes in the past, but haven’t we all?

ITV/Sunday Mirror GrabRia Cooper
Ria Cooper

“When I was 16 I got into escort work. I had no choice. How else was I keep a roof over my head? I couldn’t find a normal job. No one would touch me.”

Miss Cooper, who insists she gave up escorting “a couple of months ago”, says the latest setback in her goal to securing long- term work has left her feeling dejected.

“In the past year, I must have applied for over 100 jobs,” said Rihanna, of Hull, East Yorks.

“I’ve had three interviews. I was offered the carer’s position.

“Before Christmas I completed training courses. I was given a uniform to wear. I spent three days shadowing carers as they went into homes.

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“The other girls said I was brilliant, but I had a phone call two days before Christmas asking me to go into the office.”

Ria Cooper as a boy (Bradley Cooper)
Ria Cooper as a boy (Bradley Cooper)

Miss Cooper claims the company had told her she was “unsuitable”.

Another manager told her she had googled her name and found an article featured in a national newspaper earlier this year, claims Miss Cooper.

“The article stated that I’d become an escort worker to pay for surgery,” she said.

“But that’s not right. I became an escort worker to put food on the table. To survive. But I no longer do that.”

Miss Cooper says she is close to despair at what she perceives to be a lack of job opportunities for transgender people in East Yorkshire.

“What else can I do?” she said. “I am not getting anywhere in life. No way do I want to claim benefits. I am proud. I have always supported myself. I want to work for my money.”

Miss Cooper’s mother, Elaine, 46, said: “I’m so worried. She was the happiest she has been in a long time when she was given that carer’s job. We need someone to give her a chance.”

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