A 59-year-old woman from Plymouth is taking a college to an employment tribunal claiming she was not chosen for a job because she is a transsexual.

Sandra Leslie claims she was a victim of sexual discrimination after City College Plymouth turned down her application for a job.

Ms. Leslie believes she was qualified for the post as student union assistant, which mainly consisted of organising events for students and paid a pro-rata salary of £13,500 a year.

However, college managers decided to re-advertise the job rather than give it to her, after all other three job applicants had either been withdrawn or turned down the job offer, making her the only applicant left.

Ms Leslie, who has an honours degree in social policy and administration, told the Plymouth Evening Herald :

“I don’t go around thinking of myself as a transsexual. I regard myself as Sandra: but I’m forced to deal with my status all the time.

“I have been the victim of ongoing discrimination but this was a particularly bad case, which is why I am bringing the case to tribunal. I’ve been banging my head against the wall.”

Ms Leslie said she still suffered discrimination because she used to be a man even after getting a new birth certificate that legally confirmed her gender as female.

“I just want employers to recognise the rights of transgender people,” she added.

“The only way to police this is to use employment tribunals.”

City College Plymouth’s director for corporate development, Phil Davies, told the Herald:,/I>

“City College Plymouth is proud of its equality and diversity record, an area in which it has won national acclaim.

“The college is defending Ms Leslie’s claim because it does not believe that in any way in its recruitment process it discriminated against her.

“The college will be making a full statement once the hearing is concluded.”

Three years ago she lost a similar hearing, also for sexual discrimination, against a city community group.

Ms Leslie was one of five applicants for a job as a project development worker with the Keyham Community Partnership (KCP).

She believed she wasn’t interviewed because a member knew she was a transsexual.

However, tribunal found no evidence to support her claim.

Her case against Plymouth City College was due to start at an employment tribunal in the city today.