A former state
employee claimed Tuesday in a federal lawsuit that top
Georgia legislative officials fired her because she said she
would come to work dressed as a female as she prepared
for a sex-change procedure to transform from man to
woman. Vandy Beth Glenn said Tuesday she was illegally
fired from her job as a legislative editor for the Georgia
general assembly after she told her boss she was going to
live as a woman full-time.
legislative counsel Sewell Brumby fired her because the
gender transition would make her colleagues feel
uncomfortable and would be seen as ''immoral'' by
Georgia legislators. The lawsuit also claims house
speaker Glenn Richardson, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, and senate
president pro-tem Eric Johnson were in on the act.
devastating. I never thought this would happen, for one
thing. And not from a public sector job,'' said Glenn, a
transgender woman formerly known as Glenn Morrison.
''This is about the right of everybody to be treated
equally with respect.''
''I think the
lawsuit is without merit,'' said Brumby, who declined to
discuss the case further. Richardson declined to comment.
Other Georgia house and senate staffers did not
immediately return calls seeking comment.
Glenn was hired
in 2005 as a legislative editor, charged with
proofreading the hundreds of measures and proposals filed
each year for grammar and spelling errors. That same
year she was diagnosed with gender identity disorder,
a condition defined by strong feelings of discomfort
with a person's sex at birth and identification with the
For about a year,
she continued to come to work as a man by day and
dressed as a woman at home at night. But in October 2006
Glenn told her supervisor she planned to undergo a
gender transition to become a female. Physicians had
advised her to start dressing as a female throughout the
transition to help her adapt.
She decided on
Halloween to dress as a woman for the first time at work,
but it didn't go over very well. She said in the lawsuit she
was sent home immediately when she showed up at the
capitol wearing a skirt, tights, and black boots. Two
other employees, both dressed in costumes, were not
sent home, according to the filing.
still seemed determined to undergo the change. In June
2007 she told her office she was continuing with the gender
change, and gave her supervisors pamphlets on how to
handle the transition and a photo album with several
pictures of Glenn dressed as a woman.
confronted her a few months later. Brumby called her into
a meeting in October 2007 and asked whether she was
undergoing the transition, according to the filings.
confirmed, she said Brumby told her it would be viewed as
immoral and said it couldn't ''happen appropriately'' in the
workplace. She was fired and given 10 minutes to clean
out her desk.
filed by gay and transgender civil rights group Lambda
Legal, claims that the firing violated the Constitution's
equal protection clause. It seeks legal fees and asks
that Glenn's job be reinstated. Glenn said she is now
undergoing the sex change, but would not say if she's
employees cannot be terminated merely because her employers
don't approve of who she is,'' said Cole Thaler, Glenn's
Glenn said she
knows the lawsuit could result in a bruising legal fight,
but she's weighed the consequences.
''It has to be
done. Someone has to do it,'' she said. ''And I seem to
have been elected.'' (Greg Bluestein, AP)