Zikerria Bellamy

An Orlando, Florida, branch of McDonald’s in the US is under fire for refusing to hire Zikerria Bellamy, a trans woman, and leaving an insulting message on her voicemail.

On July 10, Bellamy applied online for a position as a Shift Manager or Crew Leader at McDonald’s. On July 28, after discovering that she was a transgender person, a manager of the restaurant phoned her and left an abusive voicemail message saying that “You will not get hired. We do not hire faggots.”

Bellamy told CBS 6 Orlando: “When I first got it, I told my mom ‘this is not right, something has to be done about this’.” She added: “I just wanted to earn to some money and was willing to work hard at this job. In the current economy, jobs are really hard to find. I never expected to be judged on who I am, instead of being judged on whether I can do the job.”

The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF), which is now representing Bellamy, said that “Zikerria’s story is all too common. Transgender people face tremendous discrimination in the workplace.”

According to a recent survey by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality, 47% of transgender people in the US report being fired, or denied a job or promotion, just because of who they are.

The TLDEF has filed an employment discrimination complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations on behalf of Bellamy.

The US does not have any national laws protecting LGBTI people from discrimination in the workplace. It is legal in 38 states, including Florida, to fire employees because of their gender identity and in 28 states employees may be fired because of their sexual orientation.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) — a federal law that would prohibit employee discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity throughout the nation —remains stuck in Congress with little progress in it being passed.

Listen to the abusive message left on Bellamy’s voicemail below.

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