Recently, I was a panelist on HuffPost Live to talk about my experience with workplace discrimination due to being trans. My story was turned into a feature on the Gay Voices vertical, and while it’s completely accurate, some of what I said may have left an inaccurate impression of certain relevant facts. When you’ve only got a minute or two to tell your story, sometimes you have to skip important facts to save time. Any inaccurate perceptions are based on the way I told the story, and so I own them. In the interest of accuracy, I want to clarify the record and tell the rest of the story.
The first thing I said that may have been perceived inaccurately was that I was fired immediately after I told my boss that I’d be transitioning from male to female. This is true, and my dismissal was clearly due to my being trans, but it didn’t happen quite as immediately as my on-air comments might make it seem.
It was actually a few days after I told my boss I’d be transitioning that I was officially fired, though I did know immediately after telling my boss that it was only a matter of time, based on his reaction. I’d been a good and well-liked employee up to that point, but once my impending transition was known, my boss’ demeanor toward me changed drastically. He became openly hostile and said almost exactly what I said on-air, but it was actually a few days after I’d told him. However, there was no doubt whatsoever as to why I was being summarily fired after several months on the job with no disciplinary issues or problems with the quality of my work.
The other issue I want to clear up is the timing of my interaction with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. I contacted them immediately after being fired, and a hearing was scheduled for a couple of months thereafter.
By the time of the hearing, I’d fully begun my transition and was in an “in-between” mode, presenting in an androgynous manner, my hair somewhat femininely styled, and my body was already beginning to develop womanly curves from the estrogen I’d been taking for a while by then. The company sent the manager I’d worked for and a company lawyer to the meeting, and both they and I told our sides of the story. My former manager claimed that he had no idea what transition was and that he’d fired me for misbehavior. Of course, I knew this was a lie and asked for them to produce the disciplinary notices. They had none to show, because they didn’t exist.