The world is becoming more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community. But this does not mean that LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly transgendered persons, do not continue to face discrimination.
Discrimination happens in both the workplace and the marketplace. Transgendered individuals can assert their rights by understanding what constitutes discrimination.
Discrimination in the workplace
Rhode Island is one of 22 states that explicitly prohibits gender identity discrimination in the workplace. But it still happens. Workplace discrimination against transgendered individuals often falls under the umbrella of sexual harassment, sex discrimination, and/or a hostile work environment. Transgendered or gender-nonconforming employees may experience exacerbated harassment, including:
- Pervasive use of incorrect gender pronouns
- Inability to use a gender-appropriate or gender-neutral restroom
- Intrusive questions that infringe on personal and medical privacy
You should notify your employer immediately if you are being harassed. Because state law prohibits gender identity discrimination, you can file a claim with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission or the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights if the harassment continues.
Public accommodation discrimination
Anytime you are outside your home or place of employment, public accommodation nondiscrimination laws protect your right to participate in commerce and recreation. In Rhode Island, businesses cannot create a hostile space for LGBTQ+ persons based on gender identity or expression. Shopping centers, medical facilities, financial institutions, parks, and other business or recreational facilities can face repercussions under the state’s public accommodation nondiscrimination laws if they deny you entry or services or you experience harassment on their premises.
Knowing the rules helps you stand up for yourself when businesses act unfairly or inappropriately.