By LIz Massey
August 20, 2015
Decker Moss didn’t intend to join a workplace revolution six-and-a-half years ago. He just wanted to hang on to a job he loved. Moss moved from Phoenix to Columbus, Ohio, in 2007 to take a job as an Associate Creative Director with the digital marketing agency Resource/Ammirati. He worked in Ohio for almost two years. At that point, he had met his partner, Ethan Sullivan, and both of them worked for the agency. Both men had Phoenix roots, and wanted to return to the Southwest.
Arizona transplants, Ohio State fans and “the boys” are among the labels that one Valley couple has long-identified with.
For years, Decker Moss and Ethan Sullivan appeared to be a happy lesbian couple; however, since beginning their transition from female to male together, labels have become a topic of conversation that’s allowed for sharing and educating.
“Society’s labels are really the issue here,” Decker explained. “Are you gay? Are you straight? Are you a man? Are you a woman? I wish people could expand their thinking beyond the binary.”
By Bruce Christian
September 11, 2014
Matt Jacobi is a television personality who has starred in such reality show hits as, the Style Network's Giuliana & Bill and E!'s The Drama Queen.
By Matt Jacobi
September 10, 2014
Starting Thursday, September 18th, the W Empower series will launch innovative story telling events with some of Arizona’s most influential and dynamic leaders that I believe will inspire us all. The premier of this series will feature Decker Moss. I recently had the pleasure to interview Decker. Check out some of the highlights from our conversation!
Q. Hello Decker, I am so excited to speak with you. Why do you think it is so important for people to hear your story?
Oftentimes we fear what we don’t understand. And fear can be very short stepping stone to intolerance, discrimination and violence. Transgender people are attacked, or worse, every day in this country simply for being themselves. That has to stop. But before that can happen, we must open ourselves up to understanding. And the best way to do that is to experience something through the eyes of someone who’s lived it. My story shows that I’m no different from anyone else. I get up, I go to work, I hang with my friends, I love my partner and my family. I live my life just like you. I just happen to have been assigned a different gender at birth than the one I am today.
Q. What do you think the biggest lesson is to be learned from your experience?
Patience. In myself and in others. Transitioning gender doesn’t happen overnight. I wanted it to, believe me, but it didn’t. The physical changes take time; I was misgendered along the way more times than I can count. The societal hurdles take even more; changing legal documentation is ridiculously difficult. Plus, when I transitioned, the people around me did too, in their own way. They had to adjust to a new name, new pronouns and a new level of understanding about me. They had to figure out how to cope with it all. And how to tell their friends, and so on and so on. It’s a loooooong process with a ripple effect that seemingly has no end. Learning to be patient was the most important thing I did.
BROOKE LAVALLEY | DISPATCH
Resource creative director Decker Moss, center, credits company CEO Nancy Kramer, left, and human resources head Jamie Barcelona for making his gender transition easier in the workplace. Transgender employees present unique issues for companies, Kramer and Barcelona said.
By Tim Feran
The Columbus Dispatch
Thursday August 1, 2013
Columbus company helps
transgender worker make transition
Shelly Moss, a creative director at the company, had some big news for HR director Jamie Barcelona and company founder Nancy Kramer: Moss is transgender and was transitioning into a man who thereafter would use the first name Decker.
“My initial reaction was, ‘Wow! This is a day I thought I’d never have,'" Barcelona said. “Then you instantly go into, ‘How am I going to handle this? What do I need to do?'"
That was a question that Moss had asked for many years. “I had struggled with my gender identity from when I was really young,” he said. “I didn’t know how to deal with it.” For the most part, Moss had dealt with it previously by a bit of misdirection. “She had very openly lived as a gay woman,” Kramer said. And, as a gay woman, Moss had always dressed in shirts, slacks and ties — a traditional masculine manner.
“There was no backlash with that, it was always considered OK,” Moss said. At Resource, that was definitely OK. For decades, the marketing company has been in the forefront in dealing with such issues. Resource was one of the first in Ohio to offer same-sex partner benefits; and in 2007, Kramer testified in front of Congress in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA.
This revelation was entirely new ground, however, and Moss didn’t know if anyone had ever presented a similar case. Legally, he was in somewhat murky territory. Transgender status is not explicitly protected under federal or Ohio anti-discrimination laws, said Jim Petrie, chairman of Bricker & Eckler’s labor & employment practice group.