Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Awesome alert: Vandy Beth Glenn wins Georgia trans discrimination suit


A federal court handed down a potentially powerful ruling on trans rights today, when judge Richard Story ruled that the Georgia State Assembly’s firing of trans woman Vandy Beth Glenn was illegal discrimination. The decision may help to give trans women the protection that cis women have legally had for decades: the right to not be fired for being a woman.

Ms. Glenn worked as an editor in the Office of Legislative Counsel successfully for two years before deciding to transition on the advice of her health care providers. Ms. Glenn approached her boss, Sewell Brumby, about her plans, providing pictures of herself as she planned to present. Brumby ‘s reaction, naturally, was to fire Ms. Glenn because her womanhood "...was inappropriate, that it would be disruptive, that some people would view it as a moral issue, and that it would make Glenn's coworkers uncomfortable."

Brumby’s prioritizing of the comfort of cis people and arbitrary notions of morality above details such as competence and the right to work is a clear reflection of systematic cissupremacy. The workplace is a frequent battleground for trans women particularly; upon coming out as trans, they are commonly subjected to sexual harassment and degendering. And as with Ms. Glenn, they are very often fired simply for presenting as themselves. This blatant form of discrimination contributes directly to high levels of homelessness among trans people.

Beth Littrell, an attorney with LAMBDA Legal who argued the case, praised the judge’s decision. However, she was cautious in her optimism, and quick to note that the ruling “is no substitution for a statewide law [protecting trans rights to work], but it does send a message.”

Congratulations to Ms. Glenn! Here's hoping that the July 13th ruling determining a remedy to this discrimination will be handled satisfactorily.

3 comments:

  1. Only idiots cant accept a tg woman who can be more feminine than genetic female.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Idiot" is ableist language, so please avoid it.

    Femininity is relative. Some cis women are feminine, some are not. Some trans women are feminine, some are not. It's not really relevant to anyone's gender or womanhood.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think the ruling is good for transgendered people in Georgia and hopefully the U.S. It definitely sends a positive message. Having met Ms. Glenn a few times since the story broke, and listened to her speak, I think some aspects of the story have been left out.

    It appears that Ms. Glenn at first treated her wearing of women's clothing as a costume or gimmick, e.g. dressing as a woman at work one day for Halloween; participating in fantasy conventions dressed as a woman, but not identifying it as being part of her trans identity. I think this is partly what led to her employer's confusion. I don't think Ms. Glenn ever took responsibility for that aspect of the story.

    ReplyDelete

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