Transgender Veteran and Parent of 3 Daughters Testifies in Support of Florida Non-Discrimination BillBy Adam Polaski • February 9, 2016 • 12:41 pm
On February 8, 2016, Denise Brogan-Kator, a veteran, grandmother, and parent of three living in Florida, testified before the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee, in support of the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, which would extend non-discrimination protections to all LGBT Floridians, adding gender identity and sexual orientation as protected classes in the state’s existing non-discrimination policies.
“Do any of you senators know what it’s like to be fired based on a personal characteristic that is unrelated to your abilities or your performance – and in fact, in spite of it? Because I do. Do you know what it’s like to work each day with the fear that you could be discriminated against because of who you are or who you love, and the knowledge that under our state law there is nothing you can do? Because I do.”
Denise shared her story of employment discrimination with the committee members. She recounted her experience working for five years to bring a company back from the brink of bankruptcy. Denise, who has an MBA and experience as a CPA, received glowing reviews and comments from her co-workers – until her employer discovered she is transgender. Denise told the committee:
“When they found out I was transgender, I was fired on the spot, the owner citing his personal belief against transgender people. I was professionally and personally devastated, ruined financially, and my family – including my wife and three daughters – was left without support. They even fought my claim for unemployment compensation with the threat to expose my gender identity to prospective employers.”
Denise now works as the State Policy Director for Family Equality Council and has a long history of working to move LGBT equality forward. We thank Denise for speaking out at this historic hearing in Florida – the first time Florida legislators ever held a hearing on LGBT non-discrimination – and for all of her work to push forward.
Watch the video here: