The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund filed a discrimination complaint today with the Florida Department of Human Relations against an Orlando McDonald's restaurant for refusing to hire 17-year-old transwoman Zikerria Bellamy.
On July 10, 2009, Zikerria applied online for a position as a Shift Manager or Crew Leader at McDonald's. On July 28, after managers at McDonald’s learned that Zikerria is transgender, she received the following transphobic voicemail message from one of the managers:
Needless to say Zikerria wasn't hired by the Mickey D's in question.
As matter of fact, why protect that Mickey D's? Let the whole world know the location of the Orlando McDonald's restaurant that serves up trans discrimination with its fries and shakes so it can be properly protested.
I'm damned sure not lovin' this.
But this is a prime example of why ENDA needs to be passed ASAP, not delayed. It has been delayed long enough.
Few protections exist for transgender people who experience employment discrimination. In 38 states, there is no law protecting transgender people from being fired because of who they are. Federal law similarly offers no job protection for transgender people.
Too many times African-American transwomen such as Zikerria and other transwomen of color bear the brunt of the job discrimination the community faces.
Despite being introduced in the House on June 24 and hearings being held in September, little action has occurred on ENDA since then.
Time for the trans community and our allies to start calling Capitol Hill and pestering congressmembers just like we did in 2007 after we were cut out of ENDA.
And here's the number to call Congress and get you started: 202-224-3121
Fortunately for Zikerria and other Florida transpeople, while no law explicitly addresses discrimination based on gender identity, administrative agencies in Florida have ruled that transgender people are protected by the Florida Human Rights Act’s prohibitions on sex and disability discrimination. The Competitive Workforce Bill, which would add gender identity and sexual orientation to the Florida Civil Rights Act, was introduced in the Florida legislature on November 20.
We can't be productive members of society if we can't get a job, much less stay employed in the first place because of somebody's naked transphobia.
May TLDEF be successful in getting justice for Zikerria and sending the message once again that discrimination against transpeople is bad for business.