For decades, Julie Williams worked hard at farming and in the tree care business, building a successful agricultural business from the ground up. She felt distanced from her family in Eastern Pennsylvania from an early age because she is transgender, and so she threw herself into her work. Julie was born male but persistently understood herself to be female, and so she transitioned and now lives every day as the woman she has long known herself to be. Several years ago she secured a great job at an innovative recycling company. In off-hours, she lived as a woman, continuing her decades-long transition. But Julie worried about what would happen at work as a result of the hormone therapy she was undergoing for her transition. Julie decided not to wait until that happened. Fearful for a negative encounter at work, she returned to the tree care business.
“They gave one man on the crew a lot of grief for his eyebrow and ear piercings – if they did that to a man, what would they do to me? I loved that job,” Julie said. “I wish we had The Fairness Act [to bring statewide nondiscrimination protections to LGBTQ people in Pennsylvania] — I’d still be there today.”
Photographs by Kristy Lumsden Photography