After a poster of her standing proudly in a t-shirt reading "So Trans, So What?" went viral, transgender New York firefighter Brooke Guinan has quickly become an articulate commentator about the employment barriers trans people face.
In an MSNBC interview on Friday, the 27-year-old advocate spoke with The Reid Report's Joy-Ann Reid not only about the staggering rates of unemployment among the U.S. trans population, but of the particular barriers LGBT people face when considering "traditionally straight, male field[s]" like firefighting.
"Finding a sense of stability in your life as a trans person — as a trans woman — is often very difficult with a lot of the stigmas that you face in society," she explains in the video below. "That certainly wasn't lessened any by working in a male-dominated environment."
Guinan went on to point out that women make up "barely half of one percent" of New York's 10,200-strong firefighting force, saying, "I think that has less to do with women and their ability to do this job, and it has more to do with society's attitude [toward] firefighters and who should be firefighters."
"That's intimidating to a lot of women and a lot of LGBTQ-identified people," Guinan continued. "So I think a lot of times you discount yourself from things simply because the world around you gives off this impression you internalize that says, 'I can't do that.'"
Watch the video below to learn more about and how "role model for my life" Laverne Cox has influenced Guinan's thoughts on trans equality, and why now is the time to have these conversations.