Transportation screening officer Ashley Yang got hired by the TSA for a two-year probationary period. But when they discovered that she was transgender, they told her she would have to work as a man, cut her hair or wear a men’s wig, use the men’s bathroom and pat down male passengers who routinely sexually harassing her. She refused and so they fired her just a couple days before her probationary period ended.
Luckily, Yang teamed up with the Transgender Law Center and successfully sued for back pay as well as pain and suffering. Now the TSA has transgender training for its employees, but that does little to end trans workplace discrimination in other places.
At the heart of her case, Yang’s employer decided they didn’t like her expression her gender and wanted her to undergo a “complete transformation”… whatever that means. The narrative pushed by trans-phobic politicians is that transfolk are just guys who decide to dress like women to gain access to the ladies’ toilet. But actual trans individuals know that the transformation is an ongoing process that—far from being a whim—goes to very the heart of their self-expression.
That’s why TBGLs (that’s right, why is the T always last?) need a nationwide Employment Non-Discrimination Act that includes gender identity. Even cis-gendered butch females can get fired regardless of their sexual identity if their employer disapproves of their non-conformity to gender-typed hair and clothing. And while the Supreme Court still hasn’t ruled on whether employers can force their female employees to wear skirts, a trans-inclusive ENDA would definitely settle the issue that troubled Yang.