Post submitted by Michael Overholser, HRC regional field organizer
The work in Congressman David Joyce's district is going strong. However, we couldn't do any of it without the involvement and passion of volunteers, like Iris Nejedlik.
Nejedlik is a 27-year-old bisexual transgender woman from Cleveland. For the past six years, Iris has worked in the banking industry originating loans to small businesses in northeast Ohio. Fortunately for Iris, the company she works for has established anti-discrimination policies that include protections of sexual orientation and gender identity.
"When I finally took the leap and started transitioning my outward presentation to match my true self last year, I was able to do so without worrying I would lose my job," said Nejedlik. “That’s what motivated me to volunteer with the Americans for Workplace Opportunity's campaign in my area – I realized that I am privileged to have protections that most gay, lesbian, bi, and transpeople in this country don’t have."
Iris knows plenty of folks who are afraid to be themselves at work for fear of being fired or harassed.
"It’s depressing to see someone who has finally accepted herself have to take the backwards step of either covering it up, or else lose a job she’s relying on," she said.
However, she is optimistic that her nation will pass the Employment Nondiscrimination Act to protect Americans from blatant discrimination based on who they are or whom they love. Iris’s passion, bravery and altruism serve as an inspiration and I'm honored to work with her on my team in Northeast Ohio.