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On National Coming Out Day – Come Out at Work

October 11, 2013

By Kylar W. Broadus, Senior Public Policy Counsel, Trans Civil Rights Project, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Growing up, my family taught me the value of hard work and a job well done. They believed that a person should be valued by their skills, qualifications and job performance – and not be judged by their identity.

One of my former employers didn’t share that same belief. When I announced my gender transition, my employer took almost no time to fire me. I was sure that it must be illegal to fire someone just because they’re transgender, but it turned out I was wrong.

I lived in Missouri, one of the 33 states where there’s still no law protecting transgender people from being fired just because of who they are – and in 29 states, anyone can be fired just because they’re lesbian, gay or bisexual.

Today I’m fortunate enough to work here at the Task Force, a place where not only can I be completely open about who I am, but where I can tell my story to help create change. It’s a great feeling to bring my whole self to work.

working_out_300x232On this National Coming Out Day, I’m encouraging everyone who can come out to do just that – come out at work. It’s only by talking with our coworkers about the truth of our lives – that people like us can be fired just for being who we are – that we can get laws passed that will protect us on the job.

Share this graphic to spread the word. You could even use it as a conversation starter with friends, family and coworkers so they know what we’re up against.

I know that coming out can be risky. If your employer has a nondiscrimination policy or you live in a state with protections for LGBT workers, do me a favor and consider coming out – for all of those who can’t.

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