His name is Aiden Quinn, and he was a light rail operator in Boston. He has recently acquired some infamy for texting on the job, and crashing his trolley into another as a result. But of course, what really has everybody in a tizzy is that he is a transgender man, female-to-male, that was hired by the transit agency through their Affirmative Action program.
This really couldn't have come at a worse time--just as we get to a place where we CAN claim our transgender status as a minority, all of a sudden the blogosphere is abuzz with bigoted remarks about how we must be negligent, unsafe people to trust with important jobs such as operating trains.
I'm mad at the bigoted bloggers and commenters, yes, and I'm mad at the sensationalist news reporters that just had to throw that juicy little tidbit of information into the story. But mostly, I'm mad at Aiden Quinn himself. Most people's actions only reflect back on them personally, but as members of a vastly underrepresented and misunderstood minority, everything we as transgendered people do reflects back on our community as a whole. We need to make sure we are valuable contributors to society; it is the only way we will ever be respected.
Aiden Quinn did not cause this crash because he is transgendered. He caused this crash because he was negligent about his duties and responsibilities in the operator's cab of the train. This is not a queer issue, it is a cell phone issue. Should this man be fired from public service? Definitely. But his actions should not be allowed to set our community back, or to be a roadblock to the next transgender person that may decide to apply for a similar job.
This is his fault. Not ours.