Republican Christian fired for coming out as transgender has powerful message for bigots hiding behind religion
A lifelong Republican voter and conservative Christian has written a powerful piece about why the fight for transgender rights must cut across religious and political divides.
Trans woman Erin Dotten, who was fired six months after coming out as trans at work and was told she was fired because of her transition, wrote for the Miami Herald about the recent LGBT+ employment discrimination cases heard by the US Supreme Court.
“These cases — which will decide whether federal law protects LGBTQ people from workplace discrimination — are incredibly high stakes,” Dotten said. “The outcome will affect millions of LGBTQ people working across our country.”
Dotten, who worked as the assistant director of a health sciences centre at a college in Florida, said that her employers “made my life pure hell” before they fired her for transitioning.
“Living and working openly as a transgender woman was a necessary decision for me,” she said. “After a suicide attempt, I said, ‘Hey, I’m going to be who I am, and to hell with it.’ … Ultimately, it resulted in my sudden termination. I lost an $80,000-a-year job.”
Aimee Stephens, the trans woman at the centre of one of the Supreme Court LGBT+ employment discrimination cases, also lost her job after coming out as trans at work.
The Trump administration backed Stephens’ employers, saying it’s legal to fire someone for being trans.
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But Dotten is a Republican herself, and she wrote about how her political values and Christian religious beliefs feed into her activism for trans rights.
“I’m also a lifelong conservative Republican, actively working with fellow conservatives who support freedom and dignity for LGBTQ people. All Americans should be judged based on their character and actions, not on who they are or whom they love.
“My case isn’t about politics; it’s about basic dignity and respect. I think conservatives should speak up to others and say, ‘I was brought up Christian, I taught Sunday School, I taught vacation Bible study and what I do know is that at least the God that I pray to looks at me as one of His children.’
“It’s supposed to be, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ It’s not, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself unless they’re in the LGBTQ community.’
“I’m pleased to see that conservative support for nondiscrimination protections is growing nationwide, with a majority saying they are supportive. Increasingly, conservatives are speaking out about their belief that every American should have the freedom to work and earn a living.
“These aren’t just conservative values — they’re American values, and working toward the day when no one faces discrimination makes our country stronger.”
Dotten is bringing a legal case against the college that fired her.