Jaison Ashley Gardner, an activist from Louisville and co-host of the podcast "Strange Fruit," said he doesn't think the auto industry is a harder place for transgender people to transition than any other industry. It comes down to how committed a business is to being diverse, he said.
"Places that encourage their employees to come and bring their whole selves to work, those organizations with support services or community groups, those that encourage people to get involved, they tend to provide a better workplace for people," he said.
There are a couple of things Jane said the dealership could do to make it a more welcoming place for a transgender employee. Managers could let employees go by their preferred names and pronouns. The office could provide gender-neutral bathrooms. And managers could make it clear that it is inappropriate to make fun of other employees or ask probing personal questions.
Jane said that sometimes, it feels like a career in automotive is not worth tolerating the snide remarks, off-color comments and the feeling that, as a transgender person, Jane has become invisible at work.
Why stick around in the industry, then?
"I really do genuinely love what is happening in automotive right now," Jane said. "I wouldn't want to leave."