In early 2016 Robert Steinke celebrated a huge victory when his work to encourage his local City Council in Stevens Point, Wisconsin to establish transgender-inclusive employment protections at last proved successful. Although he is a straight, non-transgender male, his parent Carla is a transgender woman – she was born male but has since transitioned to the woman she has long known herself to be. Robert knows that she and so many other transgender people are vulnerable to discrimination just because of who they are. For several years, Robert has been speaking out, calling for his community and others across the state to take a stand against discrimination.
“Discrimination is there – it really happens,” Robert said. “And it takes a really strong person to be able to deal with that. Even the strongest person can be beat down by discrimination. I’ve read about the high suicide rate in the transgender community, and I know it stems from this discrimination. My life without Dad would be earth-shatteringly bad. I want her to have the life that she’s entitled to – and she can’t do that when discrimination against people like her is permitted.”