Skip to comments.Inside One Hobby Lobby Employee's Inspiring Fight for Equality (So-called "transgender")
Posted on 07/19/2014 11:00:06 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
It wasn't enough that Hobby Lobby won in a landmark Supreme Courty case for employers being able to deny women reproductive healthcare coverage. Now, the conservative-led company wants to also dictate which restrooms women can use at work. That is, if you happen to be a transgender woman.
Megan Sommerville, a 16-year veteran of the arts and crafts franchise, began her transition in 2009 and had her name legally changed in 2010. But she was nevertheless recently written up at her Aurora, Ill., store when she began using the women's restroom. According to Sommerville, store managment said that she'd only be allowed to use the restroom most aligned with her gender identity under one condition: Sommerville would have to prove that she'd undergone a genital reconstructive surgery.
These alleged actions by management reinforce transphobia and cissexism by confusing the difference between sex and gender identity, and the essentialist assumption that all women must have a vagina and vice-versa for men. It also undermines the self-determination and personhood of trans people, by laughing in the face of what they've affirmed to themselves and seek to signal to the world around them about their gender identity.
That's part of the outdated ideology that Sommerville has decided to contest, by filing suit against Hobby Lobby for gender discrimination.
Sommerville also filed a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) in April 2011, alleging discrimination in her workplace and public accommodation. Her case was originally dismissed but the decision is now pending after the IDHR overturned it.
Oddly enough, Hobby Lobby isnt citing religious reasons to defend prohibiting her from using the womens restroom. No, this prejudice is right out in the open.
"Since [her transition] they still have denied me use of the women's restroom, even though my state ID [and] even the health benefits of my own company recognize me as female," Sommerville told Newsweek. She also retroactively changed the gender listed on her birth certificate. "I'm just looking to be treated equally with every other female in the company not just in the store, but in the company. If they recognize me as female for certain things, why can't they recognize me as female for everything?"
Restoom usage has become a common, if not invasive talking point when discussing the transgender community. Most recently, California begame the first trans-inclusive state for restrooms in their public school system, which prompted swift backlash from right-wing conservatives. Such "bathroom panic" is an irrational fear that can be traced to the lack of understanding of various genders, and a belitting public fascination with what trans people have between their legs.
"Hobby Lobbys taking the fairly absurd position that in order for Megan to be able to use the female facilities, she has to undergo reconstructive surgery," Sommervilles attorney, Jacob Meister, told Mic. "Expensive and sometimes medically unfeasible, the procedure wasnt necessary for Sommerville to change her birth certificate." Sommervilles insurance covers her hormone treatments but it doesnt extend to the routine doctors appointments needed for her transition.
Though Hobby Lobby hasnt needed proof of Sommervilles reconstructive surgery to cite her as female in her personal records. Shes even received support from some of her coworkers through her transition, though, not everyone has been as understanding with the pronoun shift from male to female. Hobby Lobby refuses to comment on the pending case, so it's still unclear why they're prohibiting Sommerville from using the womens restroom.
"I just want to emphasize that Im not asking for special treatment," Sommerville told Mic. "Im asking for the same basic rights that the rest of the other female employees have: To use the restroom at my place of employment."
Restrooms have historically not been safe for trans and gender non-conforming people. There are numerous instances of discrimination at public restrooms due to irrational fear of restrooms not being exclusively cisgender spaces. The need for safe places for trans people to use the restroom prompted one trans woman to start a mobile app called Refuge Restrooms. Developed by Teagan Widmer, the app that allows trans people to find restrooms in public places that have been pre-approved by their peers.
This issue wont be resolved quickly and the need for trans inclusive restrooms is a matter of safety, suppoerters say. "Refuge Restrooms is a web application that indexes and maps safe restrooms for transgender, intersex, and gender-nonconforming individuals." Widmer told The Advocate. "At its core, its goal is to be a place where you can go, type in an address and find the nearest refuge when you really need a place to use the bathroom.
As for Sommerville's case, it's yet another instance of Hobby Lobby and right-wing conservative companies attempting to take too many steps into the lives of their employees.
Fire the ***hole. Hobby Lobby shouldn’t have to be subject to being sued by its NORMAL female employees for allowing this boy to use the women’s room. Somehow we’ve got to figure out a way to get common sense to kick in again in this country.
What if I’m just a hetero pervert and I want to use the women’s room? Can I claim that and be a ‘protected class’ or do I just need to lie about the transgender stuff to accomplish the same goal?
Check out author Eliel Cruz’s photo. What a weirdo!
He looks like he’s waiting for the Hale-Bopp comet.
“”Refuge Restrooms is a web application that indexes and maps safe restrooms for transgender, intersex, and gender-nonconforming individuals.” Widmer told The Advocate.
F***. So it’s a perv freak app then?
Check out author Eliel Cruzs photo. What a weirdo!
He looks like hes waiting for the Hale-Bopp comet.
LOL you’re right. Or by the looks of his hair, it could be he’s getting sucked up into a UFO.
Went to the petstore to pick up birdseed the other day.
Got accosted by an incredibly fat dude dressed in drag.
He was (badly) wearing his wig, dress, mastectomy bra, and boots.
And yes, it was very obviously a dude..
Once upon a time these guys were laughed at because they aren’t trans anything.
DNA doesn’t lie.
Since when is the proposition that if you have a penis, you use the men's room been "a fairly absurd position?" I think most women are uncomfortable with men using the bathroom.
I don't care what sex you identify with. You're a dude until you no longer have dude parts, even if you look like a lady.
what the what??????
Tell “It” it can go outside to do its dooty with the rest of the wildlife.
’ Somehow weve got to figure out a way to get common sense to kick in again in this country.’
Good luck with that, common sense is increasingly uncommon in these United States.
If your genitals dangle instead of being in a nice enclosed package, then you are at least physically male. What is so hard to figure out about that?
Aside from all the political stuff, a man using a woman’s public bathroom is just crude and mannerless. I would not feel comfortable using a public restroom while a woman is in there too. Fact of the matter is I would not. The whole idea is sickening.
If this he/she/it gets its way soon we will be sharing restrooms with the opposite sex. They might as well toss the laws against indecent exposure while they are at it cause the great outdoors will become my urinal.
“transphobia and cissexism” - Ha it’s a good day when you find two more things you are accused of just for believing that normal is normal. I am happy to be accused of not liking these two new fake victim groups!
Things like this make me think of the movie ‘No Country For Old Men.’
Here’s an old trannie, apparently still possessing his external plumbing but wanting to use the ladies’ room.
His employer basically says that if he can still pee standing up, then no way Jose.
So this freak writes this piece in which his/her/its strongest, and what looks like only, argument (besides, “It’s just not fair!”) is that this dude should be allowed to frighten women in the restroom because he feels like a chick himself.
We know ‘she’ just wants to go into a stall and squat, but at the end of the day ‘she’ has beard stubble, a man’s physique and the average woman’s gaydar is loudly pinging: “That’s a man, baby, and he’s pretending to be a woman. Let me out of here!”
Everyone has the right to mutilate their own bodies. What people don’t have a right to is to not be offended. If you make your self look like a freak or something that isn’t normal and sets off other peoples “radar” don’t expect to be treated like any other person.
The left claims that abhorrent behavior is “ normal human nature” while ignoring and even placing condemnation on real human nature of being surprised by abhorrent behavior.
While freaks shouldn’t be beaten for being freaks they should be coddled either.
Transphobia (or less commonly transprejudice, or trans-misogyny when referring to transphobia directed toward trans women as it intersects with misogyny) is a range of antagonistic attitudes and feelings against transsexuality and transsexual or transgender people, based on the expression of their internal gender identity
Now, I’m really confused!
The article says that the guy doesn't need to cut off his dick to become a woman. So why would he need to change anything else?
The employee dress code is probably pretty unisex at Hobby Lobby anyway. So, how would we even know that he is dressing like a woman?
Also, these people are complete hypocrites by claiming that this guy has the right to dress like a "woman". In my hypothetical enlightened state, I have to ask, "How does a woman dress?" To the enlightened, there is no such thing as "men's" or "women's" clothing.
Very well put.
Yeah, the freaks want us to accommodate them and insult us at the same time.
Perhaps the term ‘common sense’ should be changed. NO ELITE would ever use the door marked “common”
A friend of mine is having to deal with this at her job. A recent hire is a pre-op “woman” who insists on using the ladies room. Being pre-op, he uses the facilities like a man. My friend is creeped out by it (as are several other actual women who work there), but the bosses don’t seem to intend to even bring it up, much less do anything about it.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.