A black transgender man living in Michigan, Brenden Watts works with the Trans People of Color Coalition to expand their national footprint by running the organization’s social media accounts and hosting workshops in various communities, including schools and businesses. Living in a state with no explicit statewide nondiscrimination laws, Brenden is very conscious about being a vocal and visible advocate to help familiarize his community with transgender people. However,he does still worry about encountering discrimination – particularly in housing and employment. Brendan is a transgender man, meaning he was born female but knew from a young age that that didn’t quite fit, and so he transitioned to live every day as the man he has long known himself to be.
“Nondiscrimination protections give hope to people in the sense that just being who you are won’t affect your housing, going out to eat, or providing for yourself,” he said. “It’s a big fear of mine, that right now people have leverage to discriminate without laws in place. I’m concerned that something about my past that will hinder me from getting another job, or hinder me from doing something I love to do, which is working with people and making a difference in their lives. I feel like if I can make you understand certain things, you have no excuse to not use what you learn to build a better relationship with people around you who are different.”