If you or someone you love is transgender, you might be feeling a little scared or uncertain right now. Between all the fervor around North Carolina's discriminatory bathroom law and the talk about passing similar legislation here, there are a lot of untrue and unpleasant things being said about what it means to be trans.
Know this: Minnesota law protects transgender people. Trans people are covered by Minnesota's Human Rights Act, which makes discrimination illegal.
If someone discriminates against you, you have the right to stand up and take action. There are people out there who will help you do it.
What does this mean for my job?
Employers cannot fire, refuse to hire, or take negative action against someone because they are transgender.
Some people report getting positive performance reviews that all of a sudden turned negative once they came out. This could indicate discrimination. Discrimination may also occur if your employer moves you out of a customer-facing role because they think customers might be "uncomfortable" dealing with a trans person. Of course, these are only two examples.
What if my coworkers are harassing me?
This is not acceptable. You have a right to feel safe and respected at work. If you are being harassed, report it to your supervisor or human resources department. They have a legal obligation to stop the behavior. If they do not, you may have a claim for unlawful discrimination.
Does the law extend to other areas?
Yes. While employment discrimination is often the most common, Minnesota's Human Rights Act offers comprehensive protections to transgender people.
For example, a landlord cannot refuse to rent to someone simply because they are trans. You cannot be denied credit or denied entry to public accommodations on the basis of your gender identity. You have the same right to any government services as a cisgender person.
What should I do if I experience discrimination?
If you have been discriminated against at work, or in any other area, your best option is always to talk to an attorney. The attorney will help you understand whether what happened was illegal, and, if so, what your options are.