Thursday, August 1, 2013

Success in Ohio

From the Columbus, Ohio Dispatch:

"Returning to work after a long vacation can be a shock, but when some top brass at the Columbus marketing company Resource came back from the beach last year, a true surprise was in store. Shelly Moss, a creative director at the company, had some big news for HR director Jamie Barcelona and company founder Nancy Kramer: Moss is transgender and was transitioning into a man who thereafter would use the first name Decker. “My initial reaction was, ‘Wow! This is a day I thought I’d never have,'" Barcelona said. “ Then you instantly go into, ‘How am I going to handle this? What do I need to do?'"

"Decker (center)"
At Resource, that was definitely OK. For decades, the marketing company has been in the forefront in dealing with such issues. Resource was one of the first in Ohio to offer same-sex partner benefits; and in 2007, Kramer testified in front of Congress in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA. This revelation was entirely new ground, however, and Moss didn’t know if anyone had ever presented a similar case. Legally, he was in somewhat murky territory. Transgender status is not explicitly protected under federal or Ohio anti-discrimination laws, said Jim Petrie, chairman of Bricker & Eckler’s labor & employment practice group. However, “the U.S. 6th Circuit has held that persons identified as transgender may be protected under Title VII if the employer discriminates against them based on their inability to conform to sex stereotypes,” Petrie said. “Moreover, a Columbus city ordinance expressly prohibits employers from discriminating against a person because of his/her gender identity or expression."

Interestingly,  as most of us know who navigate society as a transgender person, what does the term mean to others?  Barcelona echoed that thought and said  the biggest thing was understanding what does transgender mean and going from there.

As always, there is more and you can read it here.

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