Transgender editor returns to work at Ga. legislature

Although Glenn is back at work, the state still has time to ask for a rehearing from the full 11th Circuit Court of Appeals or take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, Nevins said.

The state has 21 days from the Dec. 6 ruling to ask the full 11th Circuit Court for a rehearing of the case and also has 90 days from the ruling to petition for writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a spokesperson at the 11th Circuit Court.

After the Dec. 6 ruling, Glenn said returning to work was what her case was about.

“I never should have been fired in the first place,” she said. “This was a job I loved and I was good at it.”

Judge Rosemary Barkett wrote the unanimous ruling, stating, “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 ruling goes on to state, “All persons, whether transgender or not, are protected from discrimination on the basis of gender stereotype. For example, courts have held that plaintiffs cannot be discriminated against for wearing jewelry that was considered too effeminate, carrying a serving tray too gracefully, or taking too active a role in child-rearing.

“An individual cannot be punished because of his or her perceived gender-nonconformity. Because these protections are afforded to everyone, they cannot be denied to a transgender individual,” the ruling states.

Glenn started working as a legislative editor for the Georgia General Assembly in 2005 as a man, Glenn Morrison. That same year she was diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder.

When she informed her supervisors of her plans to transition from male to female, her boss, Sewell Brumby, legislative counsel at the time, fired her.

Brumby stated during court depositions that the thought of someone with male sexual organs in women’s clothing was “unsettling” to him, was “something I don’t like to think about,” and was something he viewed as “unnatural.” Brumby also freely admitted he thought Georgia legislators would think Glenn’s presence at the Capitol would be “immoral.”

Long legal battle

2005: Vandy Beth Glenn begins work as a legislative editor at the Georgia General Assembly as a man, Glenn Morrison. This same year, Glenn is diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder.
October 2006: Glenn informs her immediate supervisor, Beth Yinger, of her plans to transition from male to female in 2007 while continuing to work. Yinger tells Glenn she sees no problem and informs Sewell Brumby, the legislative counsel for the General Assembly.
July 2007: Glenn reiterates to Yinger her plans to transition from male to female.
September 2007: Glenn loans Yinger a photo album with pictures of her with long hair, in female clothing and wearing makeup and also gives Yinger educational materials about workplace gender transitions. Yinger passes the information to Brumby. Brumby tells Yinger he will consult with the leadership of the General Assembly about Glenn’s plans for gender transition.
Oct. 16, 2007: Brumby fires Glenn. Brumby tells Glenn that “her gender transition and presentation of herself as a woman would be seen as immoral, could not happen appropriately in the workplace in which Glenn worked and would make other employees uncomfortable.”
July 2, 2008: Glenn, represented by Lamba Legal, files a federal civil lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The lawsuit states Glenn was illegally fired based on sex discrimination because she did not fit the gender stereotypes of how Brumby believed a woman should appear.
October 2008: Defendants in Glenn’s case file motion to dismiss.
June 2009: U.S. District Court denies defendants’ motion to dismiss and the case continues.
September 2009: Both sides file for summary judgment.
July 2010: U.S. District Court Judge Richard Story rules in favor of Glenn, saying she was illegally fired based on sex discrimination.
Aug. 3, 2010: Judge Story orders Glenn reinstated to her job at the General Assembly. The state’s attorney asks Glenn not be reinstated to her job during the appeals process.
Aug. 6, 2010: Judge Story rules Glenn not be allowed to return to work during the appeals but orders the state begin paying her the salary she received when fired as well as benefits.
Dec. 1, 2011: A panel of three judges on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals hears oral arguments from the state and Lambda Legal in Glenn’s case.
Dec. 6, 2011: The appeals court panel rules in favor of Glenn, ruling that she is the victim of sex discrimination based on her gender nonconformity.
Dec. 9, 2011: Glenn returns to work at the legislature.


Top photo: Lambda Legal attorney Greg Nevins with Vandy Beth Glenn, who returned last week to her job as a legislative editor at the Georgia General Assembly. (by Dyana Bagby)