As I mentioned in my post last week about Congressman Chris Carney, who is being coy on his support of ENDA, I had worked with a constituent of his to meet with him on ENDA last year. I received an email from her after that last post, and she has graciously given me the okay to publish this here. It tells of the job discrimination against her right in Chris Carney's district.
I was just checking my email before leaving for the next 9 days and I saw this email as well as the one you had written me earlier. I couldn't leave without giving you an update on this story.
Please bear with me for a moment as I share some personal information.
In January of 2010, the Census Bureau eventually placed my name on the hiring list and assured me I would be hired shortly. At the end of the first week of March I had still been offered a job, so I called to inquire as to my status. They again assured me that I would be hired in two to three weeks.
At the end of March I called and inquired as to any openings in the Census Bureau as an Enumerator. They expressed great interest in testing and hiring me as they had many positions still open - UNTIL I REVEALED MY NAME AND THE FACT THAT I WAS ALREADY ON THE HIRING LIST. At that point I was placed on hold. When someone finally picked up, I was informed that THERE WERE NO JOBS IN SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY. I then pointed out that I had scored a 95 on the written test and had received 5 points Veteran's Preference to reach a total of 100, and I wanted them to check again to see if there were any jobs for qualified veterans. I was again placed on hold, and a few minutes later the same person came back and gave me the following reply, "Nope, there are NO jobs for qualified veterans. Look don't call us; we'll call you if ANY job EVER opens up in Susquehanna County."
I dutifully filled out my census form and mailed it in on April 1st. On or about May 8th a census worker came to my door to take my information. I wasn't the least bit surprised and I dutifully answered all the questions. During the conversation I mentioned to the census worker that I had applied to work for the Census Bureau but had been told there were no job openings in Susquehanna County. She expressed shock and surprise, as she said she and the other census workers were working such long hours because they had a SHORTAGE of workers! She took down all my particulars and said she would mention it to my team leader to see if he could help in getting me hired.
Needless to say, I never heard from the Census Bureau again.
I have since formed my own business and do house-sitting, pet-sitting, and adult companionship services. I realized I just wasn't going to be hired in this economy - at least not when my gender history came to light.
It's unfortunate, but true, that the Navy will NOT change my DD-214, and it's really an essential document in explaining my work history since I was in service for nearly 24 years. .... I also think my experience proves, if only anecdotally, why ENDA is so vitally needed.
And that's why I thought Congressman Carney and his staffer "got it" when we talked that day last year. The meeting happened exactly as I described in my email to you last year. Congressman Carney could not have been more gracious and understanding.
I am truly mystified by his silence on ENDA and the various news reports I have read that say he is leaning AGAINST ENDA. While the 14 counties in his congressional district are indeed of a conservative bent, I find it difficult to understand why anyone thinks LGBT people should not have the same rights to housing and employment which cisgender and heterosexual people enjoy.
Please DO feel free to quote me, use my name, or my emails in any way which accurately portrays my experience and my meeting with Congressman Carney.
I will be house-sitting/pet-sitting in an extremely isolated area until the morning of September 20th. By isolated I mean that there is no cell-phone service or internet capability - which is to say I cannot be contacted until I return to civilization on the 20th. Such is my employment experience at times (I'm not complaining in way though; at least I feel much safer in such an isolated setting!)
Kerri Ellen Wilder
P.S. Thank you for all you have done, and are doing, to get ENDA passed. My heart kinda sinks when I think that if we fail to pass it by election day, it could be many years before ENDA gets a chance at passage again.