Every day for years Liam Magan would wake up, put on his uniform, and go to work at his local Five Guys. Liam would help customers place their order and help the kitchen staff prepare food. While he was satisfied with his work, Liam was also going through a major life change: He had begun his transition as a transgender male. Unfortunately, Liam says, he soon began to experience discrimination and harassment that concerned and frightened him. Coworkers would taunt him, mock him, and talk down to him in front of customers, constantly misgendering him and using his birth name as opposed to his correct name and male pronouns. Liam left his job, and now works in home maintenance for an employer who is completely supportive and respectful of him.
“The discrimination was so harmful to my mental health,” he said. “I had feelings of depression and was so anxious to go to work every day that I had to leave in order to feel safe. I want people to put themselves in our shoes as a person who might not have [nondiscrimination] protections, or what it would be like to have a family member go through something like that. If you can put a face to the issue, it’s easier to understand and get behind.”