Richmond, VA

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I am Molly and I’m 36-years-old. I live in Richmond, Virginia and I love supporting my local women’s basketball teams (Go UR and VCU!). I enjoy the creative process of writing poems and short stories.  I am also a transgender woman and I have experienced discrimination in both employment and housing multiple times since I’ve come out. When I was young, living in Newport News, I knew I was different. I related so much more to the girls in my neighborhood and at school. I didn’t really have the language for what I was feeling until I started to go to therapy as an adult. I had the unfortunate experience of seeing mental health counselors who were not trans-affirming, and they actually convinced me that my life would be worse if I transitioned. So, I kept my true gender identity buried inside myself until I mentally and emotionally couldn’t take it anymore.


In 2009, I was working at a call center and was on the phone with a customer when I had a panic attack. Because of this, I had to take medical leave for my anxiety and depression for a few weeks. Before I left, I decided to mention to the HR department that I am a trans woman and transitioning on the job would help me to not have incidents like this in the future. When I came back to work though, I was fired the same day. I made an appeal, and was told that I had been fired for being absent for a month without filing the proper paperwork, which was not true. It was clear to me that I was fired simply because I had come out as a transgender woman. I have lost two other jobs since then for the same reason.


I currently work at an agency where I am able to live as my true self. There were some roadblocks, but ultimately I was able to transition on the job. I’ve only ever wanted to be able to be myself, and I can do that now. Most employers want to do the right thing, but there will always be a few people who only do what’s right when the law requires it. For those times when good judgment breaks down, we need laws so that transgender employees are hired, fired, or promoted based on professionalism, qualification, and job performance – nothing more, nothing less. That’s all we’re really asking for.


*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.