Forum, Nov. 30: Reasons to Be Hopeful (*Editor’s Note: Read Second Letter Down)

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Nondiscrimination Protections for NH Students: 17 Victories and Momentum Growing

November 29, 2017 by admin

On Tuesday, November 21, the Pembroke School Board adopted a nondiscrimination policy which will allow transgender students to use the restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their gender identity. In addition, the policy also lays out explicit disciplinary actions for those who would harass or attempt to discriminate against a transgender student.

With this most recent development, the number of school districts with transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination policies rises to 17: Pembroke, Gilford, Rochester, Dresden, Dover, Epping, Greenland, Hooksett, Monroe, Northwood, Oyster River, Portsmouth, Sanborn, Concord, Londonderry, Merrimack Valley and Somersworth.

In 2015, the New Hampshire School Board Association released a model policy outlining how schools should treat transgender students; among the guidelines included were using proper pronouns, allowing restroom and locker room access to students based on their gender identity, and allowing students to participate in the team sport that best corresponds to their gender identity.

However, these were only guidelines—it is still up to the state’s 221 remaining districts without explicit protections to determine how or when nondiscrimination policies will be enforced or created. Further complicating the issue is the rollback of federal guidelines regarding transgender students earlier this year by President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy Devos.

With local action in New Hampshire cities and towns and judicial activity across the country favoring transgender people, the momentum has built even more steadily for House Bill 478, also known as #TransBillNH, which would provide comprehensive nondiscrimination protections to transgender people in housing, employment, and public accommodations like hotels, hospitals, and restaurants.

A coalition of diverse voices including businesses, faith and civic leaders, educators, and Granite Staters from all walks of life are coming together to support this legislation. If you’re one of them, click here to send a message to lawmakers urging them to support it.

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Pembroke adopts policy for protecting transgender students

November 22, 2017 by admin
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Transgender Day of Remembrance in Exeter

November 22, 2017 by admin
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Christmas Tree Farmer Says #TransBillNH Offers Crucial Protections for Transgender Small Business Workers & Owners—like Her

November 22, 2017 by admin

Thirty years later, Brooke Matthews finds herself right back where she was as a kid: farming Christmas trees in Colebrook, New Hampshire.

Brooke has been in the Christmas tree business since she was 13 years old. She worked, on and off, for a family in town who had their own tree farm. Then, three years ago, the owner asked her if she wanted to buy a plot of land and run her own farm.

She jumped at the chance. And though things have been pretty typical for her as a new small business owner—that is, busy, and barely breaking even—she’s happier than she’s ever been.

Brooke says she spent most of her life as an “overachiever.” But even after graduating from the University of New England in Maine, marrying, and landing a great job teaching at Thornton Academy, she was miserable, and couldn’t shake the idea of something she’d always felt, but never been able to put into words: She is transgender.

“I had achieved the quintessential American dream—but I was miserable, in every aspect of my life,” she says. “But then I came to that realization, and pushed through my shame and guilt and fear. The process made me stronger, and I came to grips with who I am.”

“I had achieved the quintessential American dream—but I was miserable, in every aspect of my life. But then I came to that realization, and pushed through my shame and guilt and fear. The process made me stronger, and I came to grips with who I am.” —Brooke Matthews, Freedom Firs

At first, she was pretty nervous about the change. She didn’t know how people would react, and—because she knows New Hampshire has no explicit non-discrimination protections for transgender people—a negative reaction could mean being shut out of public life.

“I kinda just said screw it. I’m going to be me and not care anymore,” she says, and made the decision to live as the woman she knew herself to be. “I was always very self-conscious. I put on a mask for everyone, and then I took that veneer off.”

Happily, though, Brooke found that the people who are most important to her were accepting. They include her sister, her grandmother, and “the most supportive, accepting, loving person” in her life, her partner Krissy. Though she and Krissy divorced at what Brooke describes as her “lowest point,” the two remained friends, and during Brooke’s transition, Krissy became—and contintues to be—a rock of support.

Her employees at Freedom Firs have also been really great, Brooke says. But other situations have been challenging, including interactions with her parents and at her church. Some people called her a sinner, and eventually she had to stop going.

“As an individual who is well educated, a hard worker, and who could be a benefit to any company, the idea that one would miss out on the opportunity to have me as an employee because of my gender identity is mind-boggling. I pay my bills, do my job, like everyone else, and it’s irritating that I can’t get equal protections.”

For the most part, though, life as a transgender woman has gone smoothly, even though it’s always in the back of her mind that, under New Hampshire law, she’s not protected from discrimination. New Hampshire is the only New England state without explicit protections from discrimination for transgender people.

“I walk down the street freely, and don’t get harassed—to my face. There are comments behind my back, and muttering.”

It helps that Brooke is self-employed. If she were to seek out other employment, she could be turned down just because of who she is.

“As an individual who is well educated, a hard worker, and who could be a benefit to any company, the idea that one would miss out on the opportunity to have me as an employee because of my gender identity is mind-boggling,” she says. “I pay my bills, do my job, like everyone else, and it’s irritating that I can’t get equal protections.”

“My business is about freedom. Freedom to celebrate, regardless of religion, race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, you can have a tree and enjoy it. That’s why I’m adamant about making sure everyone has equal opportunities.”

And because she’s committed to non-discrimination at Freedom Firs, her employees are protected. But she knows that without explicit, statewide transgender-inclusive protections in New Hampshire, many transgender workers won’t be so lucky.

“My business is about freedom. Freedom to celebrate, regardless of religion, race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, you can have a tree and enjoy it,” she says. “That’s why I’m adamant about making sure everyone has equal opportunities.”

Ensuring equal opportunity means passing #TransBillNH, to explicitly protect transgender Granite Staters from discrimination in employment, housing and public places, like restaurants and retail shops.

Join our movement to pass these critical non-discrimination protections by signing our Freedom New Hampshire pledge.

And if you’re in need of a Christmas tree, starting December 1 Freedom Firs will be selling in Chichester (east of Concord) at 126 Dover Road and in Belmont at 73 Daniel Webster Hwy, across from Belknap Mall. Brooke will be staffing the Belmont location personally, if you would like to meet her. 

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We’re Thankful — And We’re Moving Forward on #TransBillNH

November 22, 2017 by admin

We know there is still much work to be done to pass #TransBillNH and ensure non-discrimination protections for our transgender friends and neighbors. However, Thanksgiving is a time of year when we can take a breath and look back on successes so far in 2017.

In February, the House’s Health, Human Services, and Elderly Services Committee recommended that the House “ought to pass” #TransBillNH. The vote was a resounding 15-2, and occurred after nearly 100 supporters packed the initial hearing. Although the bill was eventually tabled in the House, our bipartisan legislative coalition saw approximately 179 lawmakers vote against the tabling, showing broad support across the board for transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination legislation.

This year, many municipalities moved to add transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination policies that would protect city workers. The cities of Somersworth, Lebanon, and Keene all voted to expand existing protections to include transgender employees. Somersworth also elected its first ever transgender legislator to public office when Gerri Cannon won her race in early November for a seat on the city’s school board.

The Gilford School Board voted—with no contest—in early January to pass explicit non-discrimination protections for transgender students. This brings the number of schools with these inclusive protections to 16.

Perhaps most importantly, New Hampshire lawmakers voted on October 19 to lift the prohibition in the state’s Medicaid program regarding gender affirmation surgery. This allows transgender Granite Staters the ability to make their own medical decisions, without their care being dictated by a discriminatory government policy.

We know we’ve still got a fight ahead of us. #TransBillNH will be introduced again for the 2018 legislative session, and we must continue to fight to ensure that it is passed. But for today, let’s reflect on everything we’ve accomplished so far, and use those successes to propel us forward to victory in 2018.

If you support #TransBillNH, click here to sign our pledge!

Read the stories of Granite Staters who would be positively impacted by passage of #TransBillNH here.

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To Wrap up Transgender Awareness Week, Two Transgender Granite Staters Share Their Stories

November 17, 2017 by admin

From November 13 through 17 of this year, individuals and organizations around the country will commemorate Transgender Awareness Week, in advance of the annual Trans Day of Remembrance on Monday, November 20.

This week serves to elevate the voices of transgender people and raise visibility nationwide. In New Hampshire, it is more important than ever to hear the stories of our transgender friends, family, and neighbors as we work to pass #TransBillNH, which will ensure comprehensive non-discrimination protections for transgender people across the Granite State.

In our campaign to pass this law, we know there’s nothing more important thank putting the voices of transgender people—and the friends, family and neighbors who support them—front-and-center.

What follows are two stories from transgender Granite Staters who are using Transgender Awareness Week and Transgender Day of Remembrance to share their stories. They’re also thanking transgender advocates who have come before them. Visit our Voices page to read more stories. 

Jess MacFadzen

A 27-year veteran of the NH State Police, Jess MacFadzen works as a dispatcher, making sure that emergency services are available to people in need, and they are cared for efficiently. Today, Jess lives openly as a transgender woman, but her journey has been a difficult one, with many stops along the way.

Jess first began to understand what it means to be transgender at the age of 16, but it wasn’t until the age of 45 that she started leaving the house as a woman, gaining more confidence as time went on. However, she knew all along that if something were to happen to her, there were no explicit laws in place protecting her from discrimination in public accommodations.

Jess’ worst experiences, unfortunately, came at her place of employment. She was working with the NH police when she began living as a woman, but at work she continued to present as a man. After about a year, a co-worker started spreading rumors about Jess, which led to cruel jokes and derogatory comments. Jess felt extremely disrespected and dreaded going to work. At one point, she even considered suicide.

“I really think one of the most important things we can do to advocate for ourselves and for the young people coming up behind us is to be out and visible, living our lives, not only showing them that we can be healthy and happy but that it does get better.”

However, one day, two co-workers pulled her aside and asked, “how can we help?” this made Jess realize that she was cared about as a person, and she began her transition at work to live openly as the woman she’s always known herself to be.

Jess is keenly aware of the fact the there are currently no protections in the law for transgender people in housing, employment, and public accommodations. She has vowed to fight to pass #TransBillNH, to secure dignity and equality for all.

“I really think one of the most important things we can do to advocate for ourselves and for the young people coming up behind us is to be out and visible, living our lives, not only showing them that we can be healthy and happy but that it does get better.”

Brooke Matthews

Brooke Matthews owns a Christmas tree farm, Freedom Firs. While helping her customers get in the holiday spirit, Brooke is also aware of the opportunities that come her way to be a teacher to people about what being transgender means.

“If people ask, I will engage in conversation and answer questions,” she says. “I enjoy educating the public when opportunities present themselves, and my experiences have been positive.”

Brooke says she has only ever had one occasion where she was made to feel uncomfortable because she is transgender, but she says there was a silver lining as well. She was at a gas station where a man began harassing her; however, the person working the counter told the gentleman he had to leave the premises, which made Brooke feel valued and welcomed.

“I have great respect for all the transgender men and women who came before me. I’m not sure I would have had the conviction I have to be me if it wasn’t for their examples.”

“It was nice having someone see me for who I am and show their support in such a way,” she says.

For Transgender Awareness Week and Transgender Day of Remembrance, she’s keeping in mind the history of how transgender people have worked to fight against discrimination. It inspires her, she says, to fight by being visible in the community.

“I have great respect for all the transgender men and women who came before me. I’m not sure I would have had the conviction I have to be me if it wasn’t for their examples.”

If you’re a transgender Granite Stater or ally who also wants to raise your voice in support of #TransBillNH, share your story with us.

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For #TransWeek & #TDOR, NH Police Dispatcher Urges Fellow Trans People & Allies to Speak Up

November 15, 2017 by admin

On Monday, November 20th, communities around the country will commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day that is dedicated to honoring transgender people we have lost to transphobic violence.

The week leading up to that day is recognized as Transgender Awareness Week, when we lift up the voices of transgender people as well as the hurdles transgender people face, like discrimination. That’s why this week, we’re highlighting an open letter from New Hampshire police dispatcher Jess MacFadzen, who has experienced discrimination as well as acceptance during her 27 years of service.

Jess was able to turn around a challenging time in her life and her career because of the strong support she received from allies—and the strength she drew from finally raising her own voice. For Transgender Awareness Week and Transgender Day of Remembrance, she’s urging fellow transgender Granite Staters and allies to raise their own voices, and speak out about why they support #TransBillNH.

You can read more of Jess’s story on our Voices page. Her letter full letter commemorating Transgender Awareness Week and Transgender Day of Remembrance is below.

***

Transgender Day of Remembrance is a time to honor transgender people who have lost their lives, making the ultimate sacrifice just by being who they are.

But we should honor them not just by remembering their sacrifice, but by continuing the work of advancing our freedom and dignity. One of the ways we do that is by not letting the fear of violence silence us.

Since beginning my life as my true self I have experienced total rejection and threats of violence, but also full acceptance. Acceptance should be something all transgender people can feel, but for many it won’t happen until we are explicitly protected by the law.

That’s why I’m speaking out, because transgender voices are the best tool we have for advancing laws like #TransBillNH that will protect us from discrimination and violence.

My worst experience with discrimination—as well my best experience with acceptance—came in my job as a New Hampshire state police dispatcher. The 27 years I’ve spent on the force sadly haven’t always been happy ones. Earlier in my career I faced daily cruel jokes about the fact that I’m transgender, until a couple of very supportive coworkers stood up for me.

Now, not only am I working as the woman I’ve always known myself to be, I’m accepted for who I am. I even got to help craft the Transgender Employee Policy now used by the Department of Safety. None of this would have happened if I hadn’t spoken up, and if others hadn’t spoken up for me.

So whether you’re a transgender person, a family member of a transgender person, or a friend and advocate, for Transgender Day of Remembrance, you have a role to play.

Help us build a safer world, free from anti-transgender discrimination and violence, by sharing why you support #TransBillNH.

Thank you,

Jess MacFadzen

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NH State Police Dispatcher Urges Transgender People & Allies to Speak Up

November 15, 2017 by admin

Growing up in a small town in New Hampshire with a conservative family, Jess was raised to believe that being different was a bad thing. As a transgender person, she knew that at a young age that she was very different but didn’t know why or what it meant. “All I knew was that I needed to keep it a secret,” says Jess.

At the time, in the 1970s, there were no easily accessible resources about transgender people. There was no internet and Jess’s local library was a building the size of a very small house. So, as she grew up she knew she identified with the girls but she didn’t have the language to explain why.

When Jess was 16 she grew her hair out from a crew cut to shoulder length. One day, when no one was home, she played with her mother’s makeup and when she looked in the mirror her first thought was that she was Jessica—not Brian as she had been named. This experience validated what Jess always knew to be true: That she is a woman.

But she was scared. Jess truly believed she was the only person in the world that felt that way and didn’t dare say a word to anyone.

It wasn’t until she enlisted in the Air Force at 17 and went overseas that Jess learned about transgender people and realized that she was not alone in this struggle. At that time the military did not allow any LGBT people to serve at all. So as she learned who she was, Jess had to remain extra-vigilant in ensuring no one learned that she identified as a woman.  After getting out of the military, moving back to New Hampshire, and getting married, she began to quietly explore who she really was.

Jess was 45 when she finally left the house for the first time dressed as the woman she knew she was. And even then, she did so in secret—always being sure to leave the state and go only to areas that were known to be safe, such as Ogunquit, Maine.

“I was fortunate that most of my experiences out in the world were positive. I was acknowledged as a woman and treated with respect.” —Jess MacFadzen, NH State Police Dispatcher

As she gained more confidence, Jess started venturing out into New Hampshire and was fortunate not to experience any harassment or discrimination. Still, every step out of the house was scary—knowing that if something did happen, there were no explicit state laws to protect her.

“I was fortunate that most of my experiences out in the world were positive,” Jess says. “I was acknowledged as a woman and treated with respect.”

She says even bad experiences had a positive side. One day, Jess was refused service in a restaurant. But when she saw what was happening, another waitress stepped up and went out of her way to welcome Jess and make sure she was taken care of. About a month later, Jess was in Portsmouth and a man tried to stop her from using the public restrooms.

“He was determined not to let me use any public restroom but when other members of the public spoke up he gave up and left before it could become a problem. I felt lucky both times that there were caring, accepting people around that lent a positive light to what could have been very traumatic experiences,” says Jess.

Still Jess feels frustrated those experiences happened at all. If New Hampshire had explicit laws prohibiting discrimination against transgender people, these incidents could have been prevented.

***

For Jess, as for many transgender people, one of her biggest fears was that her employer would find out about her gender identity and she would lose her job. She was working at the New Hampshire State Police when she first started living publicly as a woman—but at work, she continued to present as a man and to hide her true gender identity.

“I really think one of the most important things we can do to advocate for ourselves and for the young people coming up behind us is to be out and visible, living our lives, not only showing them that we can be healthy and happy but that it does get better.”

After about a year, a coworker started spreading rumors about Jess. She started hearing derogatory comments, and jokes being whispered when she was around. For the first time in her career she felt disrespected and looked down upon—and she started to dread coming to work.

During this time Jess began to sink into a very deep depression. She began to think there was only one way out, and started to consider suicide.

“Most people don’t know I had gotten to the point where I had actually written a goodbye letter to my wife at the time and had even practiced how I was going to do it. I was so good at hiding it,” says Jess.

Thankfully, one day—after months of feeling like no one was noticing how depressed she was—two co-workers asked Jess the one question no one else had, “How can we help?” That was enough to make Jess realize that there were options and people who care about her as a person and not as a topic of conversation.

Realizing she didn’t have very much left to lose, Jess decided to turn a negative experience into a positive and to fully transition and stop living a double life. She was still terrified of the very real possibility that she might lose her job—but she knew she couldn’t afford to live in hiding anymore.

“It was very scary to actually make that announcement. But the command staff of state police supported me 100% when it came time for my transition,” Jess says. “After so many years of convincing myself that the world was gonna end if people ever knew, having the support of those people makes all the difference in the world for somebody going through that transition.”

***

Now, Jess has been at the NH State Police for 27 years. She’s participated in the governor’s roundtable and helped to craft the Transgender Employee Policy now used by the Department of Safety. She plans to be active in the campaign to pass explicit, transgender-inclusive non-discrimination laws to protect people in housing, employment, and public places across the state.

“Most people don’t know I had gotten to the point where I had actually written a goodbye letter to my wife at the time and had even practiced how I was going to do it. I was so good at hiding it,”

And in the meantime, Jess plans to remain visible: “I really think one of the most important things we can do to advocate for ourselves and for the young people coming up behind us is to be out and visible, living our lives, not only showing them that we can be healthy and happy but that it does get better.”

As for lawmakers: Jess urges them to speak out. She saw firsthand that when people in positions of power—like her employers at the NH State Police—speak out, people listen. It’s time for lawmakers to use their platform to create positive change and help grow public support for transgender non-discrimination.

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Meet the 8 transgender candidates who won elections on Tuesday

November 9, 2017 by admin
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Veterans—And All Transgender Granite Staters—Deserve Explicit Protection Against Discrimination

November 9, 2017 by admin

Transgender Granite Staters have served our country and our communities with distinction.

Yet they remain at risk of being discriminated against in those same communities because New Hampshire has no statewide law explicitly prohibiting anti-transgender discrimination in housing, employment and public spaces like restaurants and doctor’s offices.

If the legislature passes #TransBillNH in 2018, that can change—and these brave transgender Granite Staters are working to make that happen.

***

Dusty Fiero | Nashua

After growing up on her grandfather’s war stories, Dusty Fiero enlisted in the Marines in 1993. And when she was discharged after suffering a severe hand injury, she continued to serve by joining the local police force.

“I grew up with the idea that enlisting and serving your country was part of being a citizen,” she says.

Then, one day she was picking up a pizza in Nashua and saw a transgender person being made fun of by customers. Out of fear she said nothing at the time, but knew she needed to take this as a sign and start living as the woman she always knew herself to be.

“I grew up with the idea that enlisting and serving your country was part of being a citizen.”

Now, Dusty is comfortably living openly—but she still fears discrimination, a fact lawmakers could change by passing #TransBillNH next year.

***

Robyn Robison | Nashua

When Robyn turned 19 in 1981 she joined the Air Force, where she served until 1992. She joined to make her father proud, but also to embody that image of a “rugged guy”—even though she knew that’s not who she was.

After seeing the documentary Lady Valor: The Kristin Beck Story—a look into the life of the first transgender Navy Seal—Robyn knew she had made the right choice in transitioning, even though it left her vulnerable to discrimination.

“[Non-discrimination] should be the case for all transgender people though. Not just those who can access the Veterans First program.”

Luckily, she hasn’t faced housing discrimination because she is a veteran. But, she says, that’s not the case for so many transgender Granite Staters.

“That should be the case for all transgender people though,” she says. “Not just those who can access the Veterans First program.”

***

Rachael Booth | Landaff

After high school, Rachael joined the Navy in hopes of finding herself and seeing a world beyond rural Ohio.

And see the world she did, serving her country as a foreign language interpreter and communications technician for 9 years. It was the big change from her childhood she’s always dreamed of.

Then, one day she found the courage to make another change, one she’d been dreaming of for 40 years.

A complete stranger in her place of work said, “I will put my job on the line before I will let this company discriminate against you in any way.”

She told her employer she’d be transitioning. And to her surprise, a complete stranger in her place of work said, “I will put my job on the line before I will let this company discriminate against you in any way.”

But not all transgender Granite Staters are this lucky, and without supportive employers and coworkers, can be discriminated against just because of who they are.

***

Matt Aversa | Keene

From 1979 to 1982 Matt served in United States Air Force, first in the air force reserve and then in the air national guard.

When he completed his MSW in 1999 and got a job at the VA Medical Center in Manchester, he was elated to be serving his fellow veterans again.

But when he went through his gender transition, he faced discrimination at work. A supervisor even outed him to the entire workplace, forcing him to leave a job that he loved.

“It being a military culture, I didn’t know if anyone would be OK with that.”

Luckily, Matt found his niche treating LGBT patients at the Brattleboro Retreat, a mental health and addiction treatment center in Vermont.

“It being a military culture, I didn’t know if anyone would be OK with that.”

It’s clear that too many transgender Granite Staters face discrimination. This situation is especially cruel to veterans who have been willing to risk their safety to preserve our values—values like freedom and fairness.

Let’s ensure that no transgender Granite Stater has to live in fear of this kind of discrimination: Pledge to support #TransBillNH in 2018.

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Transgender Vet Protected Her Community, Even While Denied Explicit Non-Discrimination Protections

November 9, 2017 by admin

Growing up in Nashua, Dusty Fiero didn’t see anyone living openly as an LGBT person. That caused Dusty—who was aware from an early age that she was not the boy she was being raised as—to keep her transgender identity mostly to herself.

And New Hampshire’s Law Against Discrimination doesn’t include protections for transgender people, meaning that transgender Granite Staters who are open about being transgender can be denied housing, employment or service in public spaces like restaurants and retail shops just because of who they are. If #TransBillNH passes in 2018, however, that would change.

An Eagle Scout, Dusty was raised with a strong sense of responsibility and duty to her community—even if, as a transgender person who isn’t protected under current law, her community sometimes doesn’t reciprocate.

“I grew up with the idea that enlisting and serving your country was part of being a citizen.” —Dusty Fiero

Growing up she also heard a lot of her grandfathers’ stories from World War II. That experience, coupled with her sense of duty, made it seem like a good fit for her to enlist in the Marines in 1993, after graduating from high school.

“I grew up with the idea that enlisting and serving your country was part of being a citizen,” she says.

During her years on active duty, Dusty met transgender people throughout world, and counts that period in her life as one of the most fulfilling, both personally and professionally.

“I still have a hard time letting go of my service,” she says. “In many ways, that was the best time of my life.”

In 1998, Dusty was medically retired from the Marines because of a severe hand injury.

It was at that point, right after leaving the Marines, that Dusty first met a transgender person living openly in Nashua. Unfortunately, it was also one of her most memorable experiences with anti-transgender discrimination.

“I stopped into a pizza place on Main Street in Nashua and saw a young trans person,” she says. “People were laughing at her, and I wanted to talk to her, but I was afraid because of how everyone was treating her.”

That incident spurred a realization in Dusty: She needed to transition to female in order to be happy, but felt at a loss for resources. Things only got more complicated from there.

“I stopped into a pizza place on Main Street in Nashua and saw a young trans person. People were laughing at her, and I wanted to talk to her, but I was afraid because of how everyone was treating her.”

For 5 years after being discharged from the Marines, Dusty continued to fulfill her duty to her community by serving as a police officer. But after being put into a situation in which she would have to come out in order to keep her job, she chose to quit. She was worried about navigating a transition while serving on the police force.

After leaving the police force, Dusty started her own business and was happily self-employed for 10 years. In 2016 she started her transition. Currently she’s working at UPS as a package handler and as an independent carrier delivering newspapers. She finally feels comfortable living openly as the woman she has always known herself to be—even though that decision was still not risk free and has had negative repercussions on her life.

Dusty says that some of her co-workers initially reacted negatively to her wearing women’s clothing. But after she explained that she was transgender, her coworkers become more accepting.

If lawmakers pass #TransBillNH next year, it would protect transgender Granite Staters from this kind of discrimination, even in companies and communities that are less accepting. Click here to join our campaign to pass these critical protections 2018.

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