Fear and Discrimination: Bad for Workers, Bad for Business

interiors of an officeBy Kylar Broadus

Most people would agree that at the heart of everyone’s “American dream” is securing a good job. Along with that dream comes the right to work hard, provide for yourself and your family and, above all, keep that job and advance in that job based on merit.

We all share the fundamental sense that no one should have to live and work in fear of being victimized or bullied or even fired for simply being who they are. In fact, this sense of fairness is so ingrained in our value system that polls show that 80 percent of Americans believe that there are strong legal protections against workplace discrimination in place already.

The reality is quite different. There is no federal law that bars employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Every day across this country, hardworking people are being discriminated against and fired simply because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

I am a transgender American, a man who transitioned from female to male approximately 20 years ago. I was raised in a working-class family with a strong work ethic. I had my first job at the age of 5, working for my father at his evening job. He would take me and my sister to work with him, and this was how we earned our spending money. I recall very vividly cleaning the water fountains in the offices. It was during this time that I learned to take pride in my work. My father showed me how to make the water fountains clean and shiny. I then graduated to the trash cans. From that point on I have always worked a job, and since college I’ve always held two jobs at a time in some form or fashion. My employers have always praised my work.

Prior to my physical transition, I began working at a major financial institution. After I announced my gender transition, only six months passed before I was “constructively discharged” from my employment.

Continue reading at the Huffington Post.

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