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 employment, housing, and public accommodations 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 and have been denied the ability to rent apartments a few times 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 now I have some spaces where I can do that. I still have some issues when accessing basic public accommodations. Doctors’ offices are especially hard because I’m often told that anything I come in for is related to being trans. For example, I once had a concussion and the doctor told me it was migraines related to taking estrogen, when actually I had hit my head.  I also don’t go anywhere unless I know for sure a place is trans friendly because I’ve been kicked out of places several times, simply for being transgender. Most people 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 people are treated like any other person – nothing more, nothing less. That’s all we’re really asking for.


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