From 1979 to 1982 Matt Aversa served in United States Air Force, first in the Air Force Reserve and then in the Air National Guard. So when he completed his Master’s of Social Work in 1999 and got a job at the VA Medical Center in Manchester, he was elated. Soon though, Matt soured on his job at the VA – his supervisor at the time became hostile after learning he was transgender. Matt’s supervisor confronted him about his transgender identity via email and cc’d the hospital director, effectively outing him to the entire office. From that day on, he said, he always felt uncomfortable at work. After the incident, Matt decided to leave the VA and pursue social work in other settings.
Now, he’s speaking out about the need for full nondiscrimination protections covering transgender people across the country, similar to those passed in his home state of New Hampshire in 2018. “I don’t think, had the laws been in place at the time, she would have been so open about cc’ing me and my director,” Matt said. “Now that more and more trans people are out and visible, I think it makes a lot of sense to make sure those protections are in place.”