Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Worth a read – NYT shares moving story about being transgender in the workplace

Post by Director of Upstate Organizing Sheilah Sable

The New York Times recently published Brittany Lynn Roche’s brave account of her transition from male to female, making that journey in both her personal and professional life. This story is a vivid depiction of Roche’s transition in today’s workplace and the broad support she received from her colleagues, bosses, and friends.

Though Roche had the support of her employer and colleagues, there is no guarantee that all transitions on the job will be positive. Currently there are no legal protections federally or here in New York State for transgender individuals, underscoring the vital importance of including gender expression and identity in the state’s anti-discrimination laws, to protect individuals from losing their jobs and homes.

A recently published survey from the National Center for Transgender Equality illuminates some of the striking and debilitating inequality faced by transgender people including that 74% of transgender people reported experiencing harassment or mistreatment on the job.

Here in New York, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), protects transgender New Yorkers from discrimination in the workplace, education, credit, housing and public accommodations, enjoys support from 78% of New Yorkers. This bill passed through the Government Operations committee of the New York State Assembly on March 8 with a bipartisan vote of 11-2 and is now on its way to passing the Assembly for the fifth time.

Protecting transgender New Yorkers is literally a matter of life and death, and the New York State Senate should follow the Assembly and pass GENDA in 2011.

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