Kaden Michael knew from a young age that there was something different about him. When he was 15 years old, he learned what it means to be transgender and was finally able to put language to what he was feeling inside – that while he was born female he understood himself to be male. After coming to terms with his gender identity and transitioning to live every day as the man he long knew himself to be, Kaden’s whole world opened up, until one day when his life was thrown into a tailspin. He was confronted at his hotel job by a coworker who outed him as transgender to several others. Although he took the issue to management, nothing ever happened, and no one was disciplined. Afraid to be around his coworkers for fear of hostility or worse, Kaden left his job. He unfortunately experienced similar discrimination at his next job as well.
“When we don’t have protection in employment, and we’re able to be fired and removed from positions because of how we identify, it’s not only damaging to us and our families, it’s really damaging to the entire community,” Kaden said. “We want to work. We want to live our lives just like everyone else.”