Newport News, VA

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My name is Katelyn. I’m 30 years old, I dance ballet, I’m a comic book nerd, and I like to watch roller derby. I’m also a transgender woman.


I grew up in Richmond, VA, and I have lived in Newport News for 10 years. I have a history degree from Christopher Newport University, but when I first started looking for a job after graduation, I wanted to work for a company that had nondiscrimination protections in place that protected employees on the basis of gender identity. I knew that Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) had such a policy, so, rather than pursuing a career related to my degree, I decided to choose a path that would ensure my job security.


I have worked at NNS for six years now, and I have experienced financial stability that many transgender people in Virginia don’t have. In fact, when my mom needed some assistance a couple of years ago, I was able to help her out. That situation made me realize, nondiscrimination protections don’t just protect transgender people, they also protect the people who depend on us – our friends and family.


Personally, passing nondiscrimination protections in housing, employment, and public accommodations would open up a lot of possibilities for me. I’m still young, and I’m interested in exploring other career opportunities, but I’m scared to take the risk right now.  I know that changing the law won’t end all unfair treatment overnight, but it’s one more step towards ensuring that all people in Virginia are treated fairly and equally.