New Law Protects Transgender Rights - 8 News NOW

New Law Protects Transgender Rights

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LAS VEGAS - His hands are precise, and his determination is unparalleled. Audio-visual work comes easy for Corey. Sharing his true identity, however, does not. The 34-year-old was born a man, but he is taking hormones and is in transition to becoming a woman.

His identity is hidden, because he fears it may be a hurdle to advance his career.

"I am who I am, not what I am," Corey said.

For nearly 50,000 transgender people in Nevada, a new civil rights law affords them protection from employment discrimination.

"It does take some of the day-to-day fear that at least that you're not going to be fired for being yourself," he said.

Finding a job in our state's economy is tough enough, but if you're transgender, it's far more difficult.

Jane Heenan started the organization Equality Nevada Community Services to advocate for transgender rights. She says job discrimination is evident. Many have impressive resumes and applications, but fail to get past the interview process.

"'Thank you very much, we'll contact you later,'" she said.

A quality that has nothing to do with their ability to perform a job gets them disqualified. Even those with advanced degrees face desperation.

"Even decades of experience in a particular field who have been unable to find work, working at Wal-Mart or who are working on the streets in sex work or selling drugs," Heenan said.

Corey is hopeful the new law will help. He doesn't want special treatment. He just wants to be equal.

"(I'm) a decent person, a professional, somebody who just wants to do their part in life and contribute," he said.

The new law only applies to companies with more than 15 employees. While advocates applaud it, they say Nevada still has far to go in terms of education and advocacy.

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