The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is getting its LGBT on this week. First, the case of an anti-gay graduate student. Now, it’s a transgender woman who got sacked from her job at the Gold Dome.
On Thursday, attorneys for Vandy Beth Glenn argued before the court that it should uphold a 2010 decision that ruled the Georgia General Assembly discriminated against Glenn when it fired her from her job in July 2007. The dismissal came after Glenn announced plans to transition from male to female following a diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder.
Lambda Legal filed suit for Glenn (photo) in July 2008 and is now defending its win from July 2010 when U.S. District Court Judge Richard Story ruled that the firing was illegal and that her employer violated the Constitution and discriminated against her for failing to conform to sex stereotypes. The court rejected Lambda’s second claim that Glenn was discriminated against on the basis of her medical condition. The state appealed the case.
“We’re in court today to defend what the District Court has already confirmed: Vandy Beth was fired because her boss didn’t like who she is, and that kind of treatment is discriminatory and illegal,” Greg Nevins, supervising senior staff attorney in Lambda Legal’s Atlanta office, says in a prepared statement.
“Our client’s story isn’t a new one. In fact, employers in Georgia and across the country already have policies that prohibit discrimination against transgender employees. Though there are employers who don’t understand it, the law is clear: It is unfair and illegal to fire a transgender employee because she does not conform to your sexist stereotypes of how a woman should be,” he adds.
Glenn was honored with the Leon Allen & Winston Johnson Community Service Award during the 23rd Annual Atlanta Human Rights Campaign Gala Dinner & Silent Auction in May 2010.
In 2009, Glenn testified during a Congressional hearing on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
“I am confident and hopeful that the 11th Circuit will see the truth of how I was mistreated just as the District Court did,” Glenn says.
On Tuesday, the federal appeals court heard arguments in the case of Jennifer Keeton, a graduate student at Augusta State University. The school threatened her with expulsion after Keeton, who is in the school’s counselor education program, said she wanted to counsel LGBT students that they are immoral.
Photo by Sher Pruitt