Post submitted by Beck Bailey, HRCDeputy Director of Employee Engagement
On Wednesday, June 25, I joined Ruby Jade Corado of Casa Ruby and Rachel See of Trans Legal Advocates of Washington (TransLAW) for a panel on transgender issues in employment at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). The panel was part of the museum’s Equal Employment Opportunity initiatives and was attended by staff, volunteers and interns.
After introductions by our host Jude Richter, social media community manager and historian at USHMM, the panel kicked off with framing the state of unemployment and underemployment faced by transgender and gender non-conforming people and the lack of federal level and holistic workplace protections. To set the stage, I traced the history of the HRC Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index as a tool for leveraging LGBT equality in corporate America. I highlighted the progress made in securing workplace non-discrimination policies for gender identity and gender expression and the great gains in transgender healthcare coverage since its inception in 2002.
Next, D.C. activist Ruby Jade Corado shared her personal story as a transgender woman and her work over the last 20 years as advocate for the inclusion of LGBT individuals in mainstream society. Corado’s personal experiences led her to found Casa Ruby, a drop-in community center. Its mission is to support the most vulnerable in the LGBT community when they need it most. Casa Ruby’s staff and volunteers provide basic human services to more than 150 clients per week including meals, clothing exchange, support groups and employment counseling and assistance. Corado’s presentation focused on humanizing the issues facing the transgender community around employment and offered a first-hand account of the struggles of the people she and Casa Ruby serve.
Lastly, Rachel See highlighted the work of (TransLAW) in assisting transgender people in the employment process. Noting that having appropriate identity documents are often the first barrier to employment, Rachel highlighted the work of TransLAW in assisting transgender people in the name change and gender marker change process.
In closing, See drew our attention to the intersection of the persecution of Jewish people and that of transgender people when she read from tweets by former South Carolina GOP chair Todd Kincannon. In 2013, Kincannon tweeted, "There are people who respect transgender rights..And there are people who think you should all be put in a camp. That's me."
The panel was in keeping with the mission of USHMM to encourage its visitors to reflect upon "their own responsibilities as citizens of a democracy" and to provide programming "designed to enhance understanding of the Holocaust and related issues, including those of contemporary significance."
It was an honor and a privilege to share time with the folks at the USMHM, as well as Ruby Corado and Rachel See.