Sam’s Employer Discriminated Against Him Because He’s Transgender. If Proposition 1 Passes, That Would Be Perfectly Legal in Anchorage

By November 17, 2017Blog Post

From November 13 through November 20 of this year, individuals and organizations around the country will commemorate Transgender Awareness Week, culminating in the annual Trans Day of Remembrance on Monday, November 20.

This celebration serves to elevate the voices of transgender people and raise the visibility of transgender people nationwide. In Anchorage, it is more important than ever to hear the stories of our transgender friends, family, and neighbors, as in 2018 the people of our city will go to the ballot to Vote No on Prop 1 – the ballot initiative that would roll back protections for transgender people in public spaces like restaurants, retail shops and hospitals.

In our campaign to defeat this initiative at the ballot in 2018 we know there’s nothing more important over the next year than elevating the voices of transgender people – and the friends, family and neighbors who support them – front-and-center.

What follows is a sampling of just some of the stories we at Fair Anchorage have collected this year; click here to read more.

Samuel Ohana

Samuel Ohana is a resident of Anchorage who wears many hats — he is a social worker, husband, father, and passionate humanitarian activist. In 2014, Samuel Ohana began his transition to become the man he’d always known himself to be. His employer at the time would not recognize the importance of Samuel’s journey, and would regularly misgender him within the company. Samuel says this had a detrimental effect on the work he did with his clients.

“When I transitioned, my employer and several co-workers made my life very unpleasant,” he says. “I was told not to acknowledge who I am, and this frustrated my clients when they would respect my identity and ask to speak to ‘him,’ all while my co-workers referred to me as ‘she or her.’”  

Because Anchorage has comprehensive non-discrimination protections in effect for LGBTQ people, Samuel was able to successfully file a complaint with the Anchorage Human Rights Commission and win his case. He knows the importance of the law, and is working hard to get the message out to everyone in Anchorage that Prop 1 must be defeated.

“Because of protections, I was able to file my case and win. If Prop 1 passes, I’ll lose that protection.”

Lee Harrington

A transgender man and published author living in Anchorage, Lee Harrington is thankful for the protections available to him under current city law, and is a strong proponent of No On Prop 1. Being protected from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations is something Lee does not take lightly, and wants to make sure to share its importance with his fellow Anchorage residents.

“Everyone deserves the right to live a life free from discrimination. Proposition 1 would require that transgender men like me would have to use the women’s room, just because I was assigned female at birth. That would be uncomfortable for people in the women’s room and could be physically dangerous for me. Right now, Anchorage is a welcoming and loving place, and legislation taking away people’s right is in opposition to the American value of making the world better for us all. Alaska, and Alaskans, deserve better.”