When Vandy Beth Glenn, a transgender woman formerly known as Mr. Glenn Morrison, told her supervisors at the Georgia state legislature where she served as a legislative editor that she would start coming to work dressed as a woman, she was fired.
In her quest to get her job back and in a major victory for transgender people, Glenn has convinced the federal Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals to establish transgender people as a protected class under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Glenn, who was born a biological male, was diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder in 2005 and that same year began transitioning to become a woman.
In 2007, when Glenn - then still known at work as Mr. Morrison - informed her supervisor in the Georgia General Assembly's Office of Legislative Counsel that she would begin arriving at work dressed as a woman, she was fired by Sewell Brumby, who heads the office.
Brumby later said in depositions that it bothered him because "he was a man dressed as a woman and made up as a woman".
Brumby also said, "It's unsettling to think of someone dressed in women's clothing with male sexual organs inside that clothing."
Glenn first filed her lawsuit in July 2008 with the help of Lambda Legal, a legal organization whose mission is "to safeguard and advance the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and policy work".
A federal court first granted her a victory in August 2010. The recent ruling by a three-judge panel at the federal appellate level, issued on Dec. 6, 2011, upheld the lower court's ruling.
The ruling by the Court of Appeals court has even greater weight than the first ruling. Judge Rosemary Barkett wrote the ruling, with Judges Phyllis Kravitch and William Pryor concurring.
At issue in this case was whether ...