Charley

Charlottesville, VA

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My name is Charley. I am 58-years-old. I love baking and reading. I’m very involved in the recovery community in Charlottesville. I am also a transgender man and I have experienced discrimination in employment because of who I am.

 

For context, I am one of the co-founders and Chapter Leader of Black Trans Men Inc of Virginia. We advocate for acknowledgement and equal access and protection under the law. This is largely accomplished through education. We are active in our community and I happened to be the one running our table at Charlottesville Pride. I was interviewed by a local newspaper and ended up on the front page. I went to work the next week and found the paper in the break room. People were clearly talking about what they had read about me; one woman even approached me to tell me she would pray for me. Two days later, I was told that my job was being phased out. I later found this was not the case and that two additional people were hired in my absence. I’m certain I was let go because I am trans.

 

Recently, I have found it hard to find work. Background checks mean that I have to explain my name change, which means outing myself. What really hurts is that I was happily employed before, and I would have continued to work there with no issues. I had a history of quality work, but they fired me simply for being transgender.  I do my best to be an example for my community, which is why I’m sharing my story: to show how real this issue is. I’m getting older and it is scary to know that I don’t have security in employment or housing as I age. We need nondiscrimination protections so that people feel secure today and in the future.