all things social work

LGBTQQI: Appeals court panel rules for Ga. trans woman in job discrimination case

on December 6, 2011

by Dyana Bagby

December 06, 2011

A federal appeals court panel today upheld a lower court ruling that Georgia transgender woman Vandy Beth Glenn was illegally fired from her job as a legislative editor in the Georgia General Assembly after she informed her employer she planned to transition from male to female.

“The question here is whether discriminating against someone on the basis of his or her gender non-conformity constitutes sex-based discrimination under the Equal Protection Clause. …We hold that it does,” the three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. Judge Rosemary Barkett wrote the opinion for the unanimous panel.

Read the story on oral arguments held before the 11th Circuit on Dec. 1 here.

“There is thus a congruence between discriminating against transgender and transsexual individuals and discrimination on the basis of gender-based behavioral norms.

“Accordingly, discrimination against a transgender individual because of her gender-nonconformity is sex discrimination, whether it’s described as being on the basis of sex or gender,” the three-judge panel ruled.

Glenn said today she was “giddy” about the news and especially pleased the panel voted 3-0 in her favor.

“I asked Greg [Nevins, Lambda Legal attorney representing her] if this was a precedent [on a ruling made so quickly after arguments. He said not in matters of national security or presidential elections,” Glenn said. “So this is extremely unusual but I think it speaks to the strength of our case.”

The state could appeal to the the full 11th Circuit Court of Appeals or to the U.S. Supreme Court, but Glenn said she believes the “end of the tunnel is in sight.”

“I’m not kidding myself that this is necessarily over, but even if they do appeal the odds are not in their favor,” she said.

Glenn mentioned she is going to Disney World in January to run the Disney World marathon.

“I feel I could fly the marathon right now,” she said.


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