Connect through storytelling:
There are two common misconceptions about the issues gay and transgender people face in the workplace. First is that, even in states without legal protections, instances of unfair workplace practices are extremely rare. The second is that gay and transgender people wouldn’t have problems if they just acted and dressed appropriately. In actuality, workplace discrimination is much more common than most people realize, it is just harder to prove so victims of workplace discrimination often have no recourse. ((Movement Advancement Project-MAP, “Equality Maps: Employment and Nondiscrimination Laws,” 2012: http://www.lgbtmap.org/equality-maps/employment_non_discrimination_laws))
Next, the concept of what is appropriate dress is based upon a heterosexual or straight definition of appropriate and does not take into consideration factors such as a person’s gender identity.
There are also misperceptions that gay and transgender people are generally affluent. The fact is gay and transgender people actually earn less than straight people and gay and transgender families have lower rates of home ownership. ((Movement Advancement Project-MAP, Family Equality Council, Center for American Progress “All Children Matter: How Legal and Social Inequalities Hurt LGBT Families,” 2011: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/10/pdf/all_children_matter.pdf.))
Like the examples below, sharing personal stories about how people have been hurt addresses these misconceptions.
- Ronnie had a stellar record of performance at her job and no indication that her position was in danger. When she was assigned a new manager, Ronnie was fired because she was transgender. The new manager felt that Ronnie’s appearance was not in line with company culture. Despite this injustice, she had no legal recourse in her state.
- Nicole and her partner, Ashley, had just moved to a new city. They both had good jobs, good credit scores, and a strong rental history. Still they were legally denied the opportunity to rent an apartment in their favorite apartment building because they were a lesbian couple.
of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people,
to deny their humanity, their dignity, and their personhood.”