WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Giving transgender people a chance seemed to be one of the themes at this year’s Emmy’s Awards but it’s actually coming to fruition in the DMV. A local security company decided to change their policy and hire transgender employees.
One of those potential new hires told WUSA9 this may have just changed her world.
Washington Field Protective Services made the change after a recent incident in D.C. where a transgender woman said she was forcefully pushed out of a Giant supermarket woman’s restroom. That incident sent shockwaves across the transgender community.
Right in D.C., it impacted 24-year-old Alicia Woods. She talked to WUSA 9 about it on FaceTime while in-between college classes.
"It made me very sad because I never know when something like this going to happen to me,” said Woods.
Now, she’s excited to be one of the new transgender trainees with Washington Field Protective Services.
"It's very important to me, because I want to work hard and further my career,” said the Psychology major.
A friend said she also has a passion for forensics. But past jobs have not been easy for her.
"People are very cold and harass me, so it's really hard to keep a job,” she said.
"What this does is offer an opportunity for those like myself to get off the streets, those that are doing sex work they can make a live income in terms of being able to survive,” said longtime transgender advocate, Earline Budd.
Budd helped find the recruits and said this type of open work opportunity is something she and many other others who identify as transgender didn't have starting out.
"My father ended up putting me out and there were many struggles, having to survive on O Street. I ended up contracting HIV, but also I became substance abuse dependent,” she said talking about the difficulties she faced, in the absence of work and a support system.
Those who identified as transgender experienced unemployment at double the rate of the general population, according to a National Transgender Discrimination Survey posted on GLAAD's website. The security group involved could face backlash but Washington Field Protective Services only has one response.
"Washington Field Protective Services does not discriminate on sex, race, whatever it may be,” Deputy Chief Isaiah Reeves said.
Reeves said there are five trainees in total. They have to pass the courses and training but after that, can also have the opportunity to go into Special Police. The security group is bidding for Giant contracts following the D.C. bathroom incident.
The security officer involved in that incident is facing a simple assault charge and has appeared in court. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime.