Stories of transgender employees highlight need for workplace anti-discrimination protections

The Marketplace Morning Report spoke with transgender people about their experiences in the workplace, particularly around discrimination based on gender identity.

Kristen Schilt, a sociologist, related the story of a transgender man named Thomas, a lawyer who transitioned on the job at a law firm. Thomas has heard that colleagues at other law firms, who are not aware of his transition, associate his previous name with an entirely different employee. What's more, these colleagues refer to that "former employee" as being "very incompetent" while praising Thomas as a welcome replacement.   

Another transgender man, Chris Edwards, works in advertising and discussed how he's been perceived differently over time. “As a creative director, and as a male creative director, I started to notice differences with the way women were treated," Edwards said.

For transgender woman Lisa Scheps, the experience of transitioning at work has come with increased discrimination. After telling the three male partners with whom she ran a business that she is transgender, her ability to do her job was called into question. She was pushed out of the company, and has only been able to find administrative work.

Scheps' experience is unfortunately common. According to findings from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 26% of respondents reported losing a job because they are transgender or gender non-conforming, and 50% were harassed. Transgender and gender non-conforming people experience unemployment at twice the national average, with rates for people of color up to four times the national average.

See the full story from Marketplace here.