After eight years and almost twice as many jobs, El Scherker was done with the auto industry — or at least, that’s what they thought.
Scherker, who uses gender-neutral pronouns, grew up with a grandmother who epitomized the power of DIY. With her help, Scherker quickly learned how to fix up an old Chevy van, fell in love with the process and decided to pursue a career in auto repair. But in shop after shop, their experience was largely characterized by transphobic harassment and confrontation, and it took a toll.
Scherker hit their breaking point in 2013. They sold most of their tools and took a job at a coffee shop in Seattle, where tips were good and cars were irrelevant. But, like most detours, it didn’t last long. About a year later, after fixing a co-worker’s car, they found themselves once again in an auto shop, and this time