September 06, 2016 Slideshows » News & Views

Trans & Queer in the Workplace 

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Lara Americo
(From Aug. 18 issue) “Trader Joe’s is very open to diverse people. I was amazed that their insurance covers same sex couples. I started in 2011 so this was before it became legal here in North Carolina. I have kids who ask their parents, “Is that a girl or a boy,” out loud. Kids will be kids, but it tells me that parents do not open their children’s eyes to diversity. We are who we are as humans and individuals and those that “have” to hide it — well that is sad for them. But I am not going to hide who I am. I have had many people tell me for years that I am in the wrong restroom. I tell them no ... it’s ok anyways ... a toilet is a toilet. We are also going to have gender diverse customers and having gender diverse employees makes those customers feel at home. We all are like family — even when someone is out sick for awhile, has a death or whatnot — we send food to their home, check in on them and such. We are like a big family. TJ’s is a whole other world when it comes to the work place. As they say ... it has to be in your DNA or you just don’t fit in." - Shannon Harlow, crew member at Trader Joe's, she/her/hers
Lara Americo
(From Aug. 4 issue) "This work is important because black and trans liberation depends on it. I don’t think of the work I do as representative of people. I hope that the work is representative of histories and traditions of black queer resistance. Learn from others. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel." -Ashley Williams, community organizer, they/them/theirs
Lara Americo
(From Sept. 8 issue) “We need transgender people in every industry so people can see that we are able to do the jobs that are given to us. It’s also important that kids have positive role models. In many ways, they are very supportive ... Although there were some significant stumbles along the way, their development of a transition team and execution of the goals of that team was nearly flawless. They have been patient with me as I adjust to post-HB2 North Carolina and they have not suggested I restrict my public advocacy work in any way.” - Laura Levin, pediatrist with Piedmont Pediatrics, she/her/hers
Lara Americo
(From Oct. 20 issue) “I feel like they’re should be more companies looking for transgender employees. Transgender unemployment rate is double that of the general population: 14 percent. Almost half of the transgender population are underemployed. Furthermore, a lot transgender people are forced to come out at very early stages of job applications given the current binaric hiring system we have. For example, having to answer the question — ‘previous legal name(s).’” - Charlie Comero, operations manager at Home Collection, he/him/his
Lara Americo
(From Nov. 10 issue) “Charlotte, North Carolina is my home and my family is here. I’m proud to be a part of such a strong community. When our communities’ lives are under attack, we stand up and fight back. Being a paramedic means protecting the lives of my community.” - Liam Johns, paramedic, he/him/his
Lara Americo
(From Nov. 24 issue) “I feel like if we can’t express ourselves freely then we can’t bring our full selves to the work. I’ve worked in spaces where I have to tone down my gender expression and I found myself more distracted and less open. Today was the first day I wore a dress to this job and it’s opened up a whole new world. I feel like now people actually know who it is that they’re working with.” - Jamie Marsicano, server at Tupelo Honey, they/them/theirs
(From Dec. 8 issue) “My work is very important to the queer and trans community. I work everyday to make sure we have the ability to be heard, to amplify our voices, to build our community, and to advocate for the changes we need to make our lives safer.” - Tamika Blue,project coordinator with Blueprint NC, they/them/theirs
Lara Americo
“We live in a society that doesn’t value trans and queer lives, especially when those folks are brown and black. That’s not stopping all of the amazing queer poc leaders in Charlotte that are working to dismantle this system that oppresses all of us. I am not a leader in this movement, I’m a white accomplice organizer. My organizing focus is to bring more white, trans, bisexual ashkenazi jews into the movement for black lives. Together we will destroy white supremacy and this capitalist society.” - Sam Poler, local field organizer, they/them/theirs
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Lara Americo
(From Aug. 18 issue) “Trader Joe’s is very open to diverse people. I was amazed that their insurance covers same sex couples. I started in 2011 so this was before it became legal here in North Carolina. I have kids who ask their parents, “Is that a girl or a boy,” out loud. Kids will be kids, but it tells me that parents do not open their children’s eyes to diversity. We are who we are as humans and individuals and those that “have” to hide it — well that is sad for them. But I am not going to hide who I am. I have had many people tell me for years that I am in the wrong restroom. I tell them no ... it’s ok anyways ... a toilet is a toilet. We are also going to have gender diverse customers and having gender diverse employees makes those customers feel at home. We all are like family — even when someone is out sick for awhile, has a death or whatnot — we send food to their home, check in on them and such. We are like a big family. TJ’s is a whole other world when it comes to the work place. As they say ... it has to be in your DNA or you just don’t fit in." - Shannon Harlow, crew member at Trader Joe's, she/her/hers

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