Newport News, VA

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My name is Ezri and I’m 31 years old. I work as an in-school sign language interpreter. I enjoy board games, video games, listening to music, and theater. I’m also a transgender woman.


I came out at work about a year and a half ago and since then I have been facing discrimination. I was originally working with the elementary school-aged students and, when I came out, someone in Human Resources told me that they didn’t think it would be “good” for me to work around kids that young. They then moved me to the high school and now my contact with students is pretty restricted. On top of that, some of my coworkers have been very clear with me that they don’t approve of my transition. Since I’m in a new work environment, it’s been hard to find peers who are allies, let alone make new work friends.


With nondiscrimination protections in employment, I could enjoy my job again. Before coming out at work, I loved getting up early every morning to work with my students. It was so amazing seeing them soak up knowledge like little sponges! I played a key role in their ability to access the world because, outside of school, the world is very limited for children who need sign language. But because I’m transgender, I’m no longer allowed to serve my elementary school kids and I was never given the opportunity to explain to them what was happening or why I had to go.


I know the school administrators are concerned that the students won’t understand what it means to be transgender, but that’s simply not the case. Students across the country are already going to school with teachers and support staff who are LGBT, and they are thriving. We can do the same here in Virginia. I just want the opportunity to be who I am and do my job well.  Nondiscrimination protections would allow me to do my job effectively, reach my students again, and give them the quality education they deserve. I support nondiscrimination protections in housing, employment, and public accommodations so that everyone can be treated equally, no matter who they are.