Throughout the month of June in celebration of Pride month, we’re highlighting LGBTQIA+ people who work in the transportation industry and their stories. In this blog, you’ll get to know Jermaine Moore, a lease operator who runs out of North Carolina. Jermaine is a former hair stylist who made a career change when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020. We’re also introducing you to Chris Sederburg, a Dallas-based company driver who is actively involved with the Rainbow Youth Project, a non-profit that provides mental health services to LGBTQIA+ young people across the United States.
Three years ago, Jermaine Moore was working as a hairstylist. Then the COVID-19 pandemic happened. With his salon shut down, Jermaine made the decision to go to truck driving school in Tennessee to earn his CDL.
“I wanted something different and with everything shut down because of COVID, trucking was pretty much the only job where you could still make money,” Jermaine said. “It was just the wisest choice at the time for the simple fact that people have to eat and need supplies. I love trucking and wish I had gotten into it sooner. Trucking gives me the freedom to do what I want to do and being a contractor gives me the opportunity to be my own boss.”
Jermaine is a lease-to-own owner operator and also is a trainer for Stevens Transport, the company through which he’s leasing his truck. Stevens Transport has a dedicated group of trainers who specialize in training LGBTQIA+ drivers, which Jermaine is going to be joining shortly.
“Since I’ve been a trucker, I’ve noticed more and more gay and trans truckers, so they’re out there,” Jermaine shared. “In trucking, you’re free to be who you are, do what you want to do and just be the best at it. That’s what I do. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve not really encountered any issues with me being gay. I tell LGBTQIA+ people that if you get into trucking, just to make sure you understand the industry and are aware of your surroundings.”
Jermaine also advises any new driver to have a mentor to turn to with questions about the trucking industry. Jermaine’s cousin has been driving for more than 25 years and was able to answer the questions he had about trucking as he transitioned into his new career.
Being an owner operator has given Jermaine the freedom to travel when he’s not behind the wheel. He loves traveling all over the world and recently vacationed in Mexico. Jermaine has a trip to Greece planned for early 2024, which he is looking forward to.
Chris Sederburg is a Dallas-based OTR company driver who got into trucking in 2017 after working as a dishwasher.
“At the time, I just needed to get my life together,” Chris shared. “I have a lot of people in my family who are truck drivers. It is kind of in the blood. When I was thinking about making the career change, some friends of mine who are a married couple helped me out while I got my CDL. The guy already had his CDL and his wife wanted to get hers to be able to go with him on the road. She and I both went to get our CDLs at the same time. I didn’t have the money for school at the time. They helped me a lot along the way just to be able to do it.”
Chris is a trans man but when he first started driving, he identified as a lesbian. At that time, Chris says he felt uncomfortable going to certain places and overheard somebody talking about how a trans woman got fired for being transgender.
“I’m not sure how true that was but now here we are six or seven years later and the company I’m with is more than accepting,” Chris said. “They are very diverse. They want people like me here so I’d say there have been some changes in trucking. There are still some places I go to that are obviously very conservative and I want to rush out of there. I was with one company awhile ago that I was doing local flatbed for and I was harassed by them for being who I am. Now I’m with a much better company, so I’m good.”
In addition to working as an OTR trucker, Chris is a volunteer with a non-profit organization, the Rainbow Youth Project, that provides ongoing support to LGBTQIA+ youth. The Indiana-based non-profit provides mental health and crisis intervention services, transgender health care assistance, and litigates cases to protect and advance LGBTQIA+ rights. Chris hopes to do more work with the Rainbow Youth Project in the future.