US army discriminates against transgender employee

James Patrick Carraghan

James Patrick Carraghan is an award-winning activist, writer, librarian and student at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. He spends his free time gardening, hording books and flirting. You can follow him on tumblr at http://thelibrarynevercloses.tumblr.com/

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A recent federal investigation has found that the United States Army has discriminated against a transgender employee working at an Alabama installation.

After undergoing gender-reassignment surgery, Tamara Lusardi was referred to by her supervisor as ‘he’ and ‘sir’, as well as by her former name. She was also denied access to the women’s restroom. The Office of Special Counsel has stated that Lusardi was the victim of gender identity discrimination.

‘Like anyone else, I just want the freedom to be myself at work,’ Lusardi said. ‘I hope my case and this decision will help other transgender people feel safe enough to bring their full authentic selves to work.’

The Transgender Law Center, which was defending Lusardi, has called the findings ground-breaking.

Commenting on the ruling, legal director for the Center Ilona Turner said, ‘This decision makes clear that it’s not acceptable to deny a transgender employee access to the same restroom as everyone else, or keep calling her by her former name and pronoun for months after she transitions.’

The Office of the Special Council has reported that the Army agreed to train workers to prevent future discrimination based on gender identity.

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