imageThe person who made history six years ago by becoming the first city employee to openly transition from male to female in the workplace has never found a burning cross outside her home.

The acts of bigotry and intolerance have been more subtle — but every bit as disheartening, said Camille Stephanie Hopkins.

Crude notes have been slipped under her office door. She hears giggles — sometimes sarcastic whistles — as she walks the halls. When elevator doors open, friendly chatter often turns into an icy hush.

“It hurts, because in some people’s eyes, I’m a freak,” she said.

Compounding her pain is Hopkins’ belief that the city has contributed to what she calls a climate of intolerance. City leaders have failed to provide enough sensitivity training and taken a dismissive attitude when she has raised concerns, Hopkins claimed. She was

even brought up on departmental charges for wearing a T-shirt that sported the phrase “fagbug,” a word the gay community considers a statement against hate crimes and homophobia.

“The city has allowed people to embrace their fears,” she said.

That’s why Hopkins has decided to call it quits. At the end of the month, she will end a City Hall career that began 21 years ago when Gregory Hopkins became a human resource planner.

For the full story from the Buffalo News, go here.