Carolyn

Virginia Beach, VA

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My name is Carolyn. I’m a retired librarian living in Virginia Beach and I’m married to a trans woman. We’ve been married for forty-two years, but twelve years ago, after therapy and a faith experience, my husband transitioned to be the woman she is now. We stayed together because we love each other. It’s as simple as that. We had new challenges to face as a couple because this was before marriage equality and we were worried.  And Virginia didn’t (and still doesn’t) have employment protections for transgender people or same-sex couples. Fortunately, my wife worked at the New York Times’ Norfolk office and the company already had an inclusive policy and a protocol for someone transitioning on the job.  But I worked for city government so I could be fired without recourse, simply for staying married. I couldn’t hide the change because my coworkers knew my spouse and now I was married to a woman. So I explained, and my confidence in my boss and the city government was justified. I kept my job, but I knew I was lucky. It would have been a comfort to have been protected by law.

 

My wife and I have been through a lot together in the last four decades and we’ve seen a lot of change for LGBT inclusion. More still needs to be done. I’m retired now and my wife and I own our home. Nondiscrimination protections in housing and employment don’t really apply to us, at the moment, but they apply to so many others. We have had concerns when accessing public spaces, especially early on. Everyone needs to buy clothes and my wife was no exception, so I would run interference if she needed to use a fitting room just to be sure she was safe. Public accommodations, like stores, should accommodate everyone. We know what it’s like to worry about potentially losing a job or being denied service but this shouldn’t be a fear people have to live with anymore.  I support nondiscrimination protections in housing, employment, and public accommodations because I want the next generation to feel more secure than we did.