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Equality for All?
Not in Utah

Equality for All?
Not in Utah

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Ariana Losco, a transgender woman living in Utah, publicly spoke on the need to get a law protecting LGBT workers on the books in her state. Little did she know her voice would get her fired.

Just two weeks before Ariana Losco became the first openly transgender person to speak to the Utah State Legislature, she was fired from her job. Her task on January 25 was to tell the conservative state's legislators why Utah's transgender workers needed protections against employment discrimination. The rights denied her under Utah's law allowed her employer the legal upper hand in firing her without just cause.

Losco spoke on behalf of Equality Utah about House Bill 89, which would amend the current anti-discrimination law -- which now protects against discrimination based on ethnicity, national origin, sex, age, and disability -- to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

"You have to pass House Bill 89," she told the Legislature. "The gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community of Utah is suffering needlessly without it."

The Associated Press released an article on January 9, which detailed a three-month ordeal between Losco and her allegedly abusive supervisor. The report named Losco, but not her company, Rocky Mountain Care located in Tooele, Utah. Losco's supervisor, later identified as Tammy Remick, informed her that she had brought embarrassment to Rocky Mountain, which refused to comment for this story.

Losco said that in the months leading up to the testimony, her working environment caused her to leave work crying several times, though she couldn't leave her job because she needed the paycheck. In one incident, Losco said that Remick trapped her in a room for at least 30 minutes, while she was in the midst of attending 20 patients. When Losco tried to leave, she said that Remick grabbed her wrist and told her she wasn't going anywhere.

"If I have to work with you, I will send you home early because I won't work with a faggot, and you have breasts and a penis." Remick told Losco according to the EEOC filing.

Losco filed several reports with the director of nursing at Rocky Mountain Care about Remick, but management failed to follow up. Instead, when Remick found out that the incident was reported, she said more derogatory remarks to Losco. A human resources manager for the facility told Losco that they would look into her claims, but owner Jonathan Banglaner, with the director of nursing and the HR manager, told her that they were dropping her report.

Frustrated and unable to find a private attorney who would take her case, a caseworker at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission agreed to serve as her representation. Her case worker told Losco that a pre-op transgender person has almost no legal protection in Utah, but a post-op transgender person (Losco underwent re-assignment surgery in 1994), has the same rights as the next man or woman. The EEOC has filed against Rocky Mountain Care-Tooele for discrimination against a woman because of her gender.

"I'm not just fighting for myself, I'm fighting for all of us. I'm fighting for all the GLBT community members who can't," Losco said. "I've always been outspoken. I was like, 'Hello?' I'm going up there, and I'm going to give them a piece of my mind."

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