Macy’s Employee Fired After Refusing to Let Transwoman into Dressing Room

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Monday December 12, 2011

An employee from a San Antonio, Texas, Macy's department store was recently fired for discriminating against a transgender customer. Natalie Johnson would not let a transgender woman renter the woman's dressing room because it "violated her religious beliefs," reported the Liberty Council in a Dec. 5 article.

Johnson described the customer as "a man in makeup and woman's clothes" and refused to let the individual back into the women's dressing room. The customer told Johnson that Macy's was LGBT friendly and that she had a right to use the dressing room she wanted. The manager became involved in altercation and told Johnson that she needed to comply with the department store's policy, which allows transgender people to use either dressing room, reported the Houston Chronicle.

Johnson said that the same policy also protects her religious beliefs, which she believed were being compromised. The manager told her she needed to comply with the LGBT policy or she would lose her job. Johnson refused and was terminated.

"Macy's policy which allows men to use the women's dressing room is fraught with problems," Matthew Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel said.

"This policy will cause significant problems and will alienate the majority of Macy's customers. Macy's has essentially opened women's dressing rooms to every man. The LGBT agenda has become the theater of the absurd."

When the extreme right wing website Free Republic reported about the incident, several of their readers had "interesting" things to say. One commenter said, "The solution is to post fliers outside Macy's warning women that Macy's allows sexual perverts freely to use its women's restrooms." Another suggested, "Why not a third "Trans" room then, and leave the decent people alone."

There have been many cases where a transgender person has been discriminated against for using "the wrong" bathroom or dressing room. EDGE reported that a transgender child was not allowed to use the girl's bathroom at school, despite identifying as female.

It was later found in a ruling that the school department had in fact discriminated against the child. While a number of parents were upset about the outcome, LGBT groups saw this as a step forward for transgender equal rights.

In addition, last month Massachusetts passed the Transgender Rights Bill, which protects transgender people from discrimination. Both politicians and LGBT activists were thrilled when Gov. Deval Patrick (D) signed the bill.

"Governor Patrick was a staunch advocate of the Transgender Equal Rights Bill from the earliest days of his administration," said Gunner Scott, executive director of the Mass. Transgender Political Coalition said in a statement.

"We are so grateful for his leadership in getting this bill passed and for his unwavering commitment to ensuring that all residents of the Commonwealth, including transgender people, are treated with dignity and respect under the laws of our state."