Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-06-24
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

My boss fired me from my funeral-home job for being transgender
VIWEPOINT By Aimee Stephens
2018-11-07

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


I was in funeral services for nearly three decades before I was fired in 2013 for being transgender. In March, a federal appeals court agreed that it was wrong to fire me just because of who I am. Now, the Supreme Court will consider whether to review that court ruling.

While studying to be a pastor in college, I needed a job, and I found one in a funeral home. There are a lot of different ministries people can pursue, and I realized comforting people during one of the most vulnerable points in their lives was my ministry. Some of my co-workers became my closest friends. It meant a lot to me that one co-worker once trusted me to handle the funeral arrangements for a family member.

My performance reviews were always positive. For the nearly seven years I worked specifically at R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, I received regular raises, including one just a few months before I was fired.

Deciding to share my identity with my employer followed a lifelong journey to understand my gender. I knew, from around five years old, that I was different, even though there was no internet to help make sense of what was going on with me. As a child, I would swipe some of mom's clothes as she was discarding them. It was nice to wear them and feel like the real version of myself, even for a just a few minutes.

My whole life, I tried to live as a man. Eventually, I told my wife Donna the truth: I am a woman. She encouraged me to see a therapist, who I expected to tell me something was wrong with me. But after a few sessions, she told me there was nothing wrong with me. In fact, she helped me think through the steps I could take to become more comfortable expressing myself.

It started with going grocery shopping dressed as a woman, and then going out to eat with Donna. I remember when we first walked into a restaurant. Everybody naturally looked up to see who was coming in. There were no comments from anyone, and I felt relief. The more time I spent being me, the more I finally started feeling right.

There were rough patches—like being shunned from our church. I was worried about family members and how they would take the information about my identity. So was Donna. But both our families have been more understanding than either of us could have expected.

It took longer to talk to my coworkers. One day, in November 2012, I felt that I couldn't go any further. I couldn't come out at work—I had overheard coworkers make derogatory remarks at times and I didn't feel I could face them. But I also couldn't keep living two lives. I felt ready to kill myself, because I couldn't think of a way out.

After a long hour, I realized I had too much to live for. I put down the gun that had been in my hand and picked up a pen. I started writing a letter to my co-workers, a letter that I would eventually hand to my boss.

The first coworkers I told were ready to support me, which made me feel so much better. A few months later, I handed my boss the letter while sitting in the chapel of the funeral home. It said that after an upcoming vacation, I would start using the name Aimee and following the home's dress code requirements for women. My boss didn't say anything at the time

A couple weeks later, he came up to me and said, "This isn't going to work." He handed me a letter with a severance package.

I had given almost seven years of my life to the funeral home, offering countless families comfort when they needed it most. Being discarded so coldly was hard to understand. With the help of the ACLU, I sued my former employer for bias.

My case made its way up, and when the federal appeals court said this past March that what happened to me was both wrong and illegal, I started to see that not only did I have the support of my wife Donna and many of our family and friends, something not all transgender people have—but I had the support of the law.

I brought this lawsuit, in part, to extend that support to all transgender people. No one should be fired because of who they are. I hope the Supreme Court sees the same.

This piece is online at https://www.aclu.org/blog/lgbt-rights/transgender-rights/my-boss-fired-me-my-funeral-home-job-being-transgender.

This article was run with permission from the ACLU.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

WORLD Russian trans woman's win, Pride marches, museum CEO resigns 2020-06-29 - In Russia, a transgender woman won a landmark decision for trans rights and recognition after being fired from her job—but is now living ...


Gay News

Grassroots march focuses on Black, Brown trans lives 2020-06-28 - Organized by a host of grassroots organizations focused on assisting marginalized communities around the city, the Pride Without Prejudice/Reclaim Pride march kicked off ...


Gay News

LETTER Standing up against racism 2020-06-27 - Dear community: June is Pride Month. Over 50 years ago, on June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar ...


Gay News

Lambda files suit over Trump anti-trans policies 2020-06-26 - Lambda Legal announced June 22 that it is suing the federal government over rollbacks the Trump administration announced June 12 to protections against ...


Gay News

Groups respond to Indianapolis archdiocese's anti-trans guidelines 2020-06-25 - Pro-LGBTQ organizations responded to news about the Indianapolis archdiocese issuing new guidelines warning that transgender students may not be able to enroll in ...


Gay News

At least two marches centering on Black trans Chicagoans planned for June 28 SEE UPDATE 2020-06-24 - UPDATE: ACTIVATE:CHI march and rally cancelled. http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/ACTIVATE-CHI-march-and-rally-cancelled/68818.html . The grassroots activist organization ACTIVATE:CHI announced June 19 that it is collaborating with ...


Gay News

Local transgender man on being affected by healthcare rollback 2020-06-24 - Oli Rodriguez is a transgender man who hopes to carry a child and become a father in the near future. Following news ...


Gay News

Organizations respond to murder of trans Chicagoan 2020-06-24 - A number of organizations released statements on the May murder of a Chicago Latinx transgender woman who, at the time of her death, ...


Gay News

MOMBIAN Supporting LGBTQ families requires that Black Lives Matter 2020-06-24 - Black lives matter. Black LGBTQ lives matter. And we will never have a just world for LGBTQ families until we have racial justice. ...


Gay News

TELEVISION Marvel's first openly trans actor on Pride, BLM and Hollywood 2020-06-24 - Zach Barack made cinematic history as Marvel's first openly trans actor in the 2019 film Spider-Man: Far from Home. He talked with Windy ...


 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.