Macy's Worker Fired For Challenging Transgender Teen In Changing Room

Natalie Johnson fired transgender Macy'sNatalie Johnson, a Macy's employee in San Antonio, Texas, was convinced the teenager in women's clothes and makeup was male. So she watched the teen shop in the women's section. And when the teen left the women's changing room, she intervened.

"I had to just straightforward tell him, 'You're a man,' " the 27-year-old student and regular churchgoer told TV station KSAT.

But the transgender teen insisted to Johnson that she was female, and the teen's five friends rallied behind her.

A manager called Johnson in the next day to explain that Macy's policy permits individuals to go into the changing room of whatever gender they identify with.

"I refuse to comply with this policy," Johnson says she replied. She was then fired.

"I had to either comply with Macy's or comply with God," Johnson told The San Antonio Express-News.

Johnson contacted the Liberty Counsel, a conservative Christian law firm and policy organization, which helped her file a complaint on her behalf with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that enforces discrimination laws for employees and job applicants.

Johnson's religious beliefs prevent her from recognizing transgender people, she said. By firing her over this belief, Macy's had violated her rights, she claims.

The case pits transgender rights against religious freedoms, a standoff that has cropped up more and more as the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has gained more legal status. In September, one town clerk was caught up in a public scandal over LGBT rights when she refused to marry two women because of her religious beliefs.

Many members of the conservative Christian camp deny that transgenderism qualifies for legal protections, and view people who identify with a gender other than their born sex as deviant, or a radical minority who live in violation of Christian laws.

"There are no transgenders in the world. A guy can dress up as a woman all he wants, that's still not going to make you a woman," Johnson told KSAT.

In its coverage of the story, The Christian Post refers to the customer as a cross-dresser, and transgender only in quotation marks.

"Macy's has essentially opened women's dressing rooms to every man," Mathew Staver, the founder and chairman of the Liberty Counsel, told the Houston Chronicle. "The LGBT agenda has become the theater of the absurd."

The LGBT side argues that transgender people exist, and so accommodations should be made for them. The liberal blog Jezebel jokes that while the Bible does expressly forbid women and men from wearing the opposite sex's clothing, it also bans wearing wool-linen blends just a few lines later. So Macy's is blasphemous anyway.

"Macy's does not comment on personnel matters," said Melissa Goff, the Macy's regional spokeswoman. "At Macy's we recognize and appreciate the diversity of our customers and associates."

Macy's boasts about its progressive LGBT policies. Since 2007, the department store has been awarded a 100 percent rating in the Corporate Equality Index report, sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

"Macy's policy which allows men to use the women's dressing room is fraught with problems," argues Staver in a statement. "This policy will cause significant problems and will alienate the majority of Macy's customers."

But this may not be true. After all the attention paid to Chaz Bono, "Dancing With the Stars" contestant and transgender child of Sonny and Cher, the Public Religion Research Institute surveyed American attitudes toward transgender people in August and September, and found that 89 percent believed that they deserved the same rights and protections as their fellow citizens. Eighty-three percent of white evangelical Protestants agreed.

But people disagree over what rights and protections mean.

More and more U.S. companies are covering the cost of gender reassignment surgery, The Associated Press reported Thursday. A decade ago, no company included sex-change surgeries in their insurance plans, according to The Human Rights Campaign. Now almost a third of the 636 surveyed businesses did.

There are currently no federal laws that protect transgender people from job discrimination, but three-quarters of Americans believe Congress should pass some. Three-quarters of religious Americans don't support this kind of legislation, but a majority of every major religious group does.



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elisabeth_blackwood

Thinking about this conservative Christians we need to remind the lesson that Jesus Christ gave about Mary Magdalene. If the same right now, who will send the first stone?. I think Jesus need to teach more t these Christians

November 30 2013 at 2:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ray

Stupid is alive in well in ole San Antone! Many other places too! Don't they teach and train employees any better that to allow them to pull a stunt like this? Yeah....law suit time is here....that's the way you change this sort of behavior in companies that harbor employees driven by their religious dogma! And when they're outed, then they have to expect to get fired on the spot. Companies can't tolerate such behaviors against their customers. Macy's knows better than this too!

August 09 2013 at 2:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hynotman

Do these Xenophobes even know that some people are BORN physically and genitally, sexually ambiguous?

August 08 2013 at 11:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bill

Now God cares what changing room is used?

August 08 2013 at 12:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dkelzenb

Fair is fair. If women must be allowed to go into men's locker rooms, men should be allowed to go into women's changing rooms. What's the difference?

August 08 2013 at 11:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Linda Vega

IF YOU ARE BORN WITH A PENIS, THEN YOU'RE A MAN!

May 10 2013 at 1:11 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Linda Vega's comment
Bill

I was born with webbed feet. Am I a goose?

August 08 2013 at 12:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hynotman

Seriously now, what about those born with a penis AND a vagina AND breasts?

What do you say about those PHYSICALLY born sexually AMBIGUOUS (male AND female parts fully/partially developed)?

What does your "intelligent designer" say about this, his own creation?

August 08 2013 at 11:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mikeller3

She was justly fired for ignoring her employers policy. Her firing had nothing to do with her religious beliefs.

May 09 2013 at 7:19 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mikeller3's comment
hynotman

Her religious beliefs caused her to violate policy - on purpose.

August 08 2013 at 11:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SamM

You sign all these papers when you get a job agreeing to the company policies. She obviously didnt read the papers and handbooks, and she was fired because she didnt follow what the company wanted her to, even though she agreed to it when she took the job. Who cares what her religious beliefs are. She signed papers saying she'd do the job, and when she stopped doing the job to the company's standards, they got rid of her. Simple as that.

December 20 2011 at 5:45 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to SamM's comment
Mike

I really wish peope would stop hiding behind religion. People want jobs and will say whatever it takes to get itl then once hired, they can't do certain things for follow certain policies due to religious beliefs. BULLCRAP...if ya can't do the job, you deserve to be let go.

May 09 2013 at 4:25 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Mike's comment
Linda Vega

HEATHEN!

May 10 2013 at 1:12 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down
hynotman

HAPPY Heathen!

The rest are jealous religio-tard slaves to the great white-guy-in-the-sky!

August 08 2013 at 11:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
tad

I wonder what the Macy's worker would have done if someone stopped her from going into the dressing room because the don't recognize heterosexuality. It is completely foreign that anyone in their right mind would want to ever have sex with a woman other than to procreate, and now since there is the turkey baster and invitro fertilization, who would want to go near them.

December 20 2011 at 7:02 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Mike

This is B.S. It has nothing to do with hate or judgement. Someone that was born male can not and will not ever be a female, no matter how much they butcher the body.
The employee was right for what she did.

December 19 2011 at 2:34 PM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to Mike's comment

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