Category Personnel/Employment
Title Is Transgender Discrimination Considered Sex Discrimination
Preview Is Transgender Discrimination Considered Sex Discrimination

Is Transgender Discrimination Considered Sex Discrimination?

Mia Macy lived in Phoenix, Arizona, and worked as a police detective. In late 2010, she decided to move to San Francisco, California. She heard from her supervisor about a job opening near San Francisco with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). At the time, Mia Macy was a male who was making the transition to becoming a female. While still a male, she contacted the director at ATF's crime laboratory, and they discussed her job experience, her credentials, and salary and benefits. The director told her she could have the job pending a background check. In early January, Macy spoke to the director, and he again promised her the job with a positive outcome on her background check.

Soon after that, the company conducting the background check contacted her to fill out the necessary paperwork. Through the process, Macy informed that company that she was in the process of transitioning from male to female and requested that the company inform the ATF and inform them of her name change and gender change.  

A few days later, Macy received an e-mail from the background check company informing her that the position was no longer available because of budget cutbacks.  

At that time, Macy contacted an equal employment opportunity counselor to discuss her concerns, and she learned that the job had not been cut because of the budget. It had been filled by another applicant. She was told that the other person was further along in the background check process. In the middle of June, Macy filed a formal complaint with the ATF. She checked the box that indicated sex discrimination. She stated that she is a female and said that the reason for her complaint was "gender identity" and "sex stereotyping" as the reason for her complaint.  

So could a transgender person claim sex discrimination for making a change from male to female under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964? You be the judge!   

Is Transgender Discrimination Considered Sex Discrimination?   

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) accepted Mia Macy's claim but decided to divide it into two pieces. The first part was for sex discrimination under Title VII, and the second was for sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. The second process allows for fewer remedies and does not include the right to request a hearing before an EEOC administrative judge or to appeal the final decision to the Commission. Macy was upset by the EEOC's decision, and she claimed that the EEOC was in essence dismissing her Title VII claim of discrimination based on gender identity and transgender status. She wanted to withdraw her claim based on sex (female) and pursue solely the dismissal of her complaint based on gender identity and transgender status.  

The Commission ultimately held that Macy was correct. It determined that claims of discrimination based on transgender status or gender identity did fall under Title VII's sex discrimination prohibition. The EEOC explained in its decision that the term "sex" encompasses both biological differences between men and women as well as gender and its related stereotypes. The Commission discussed several of the recent Circuit Court decisions that discuss claims of gender discrimination under Title VII and explained that the term "gender" includes both biological sex, as well as the cultural and social aspects associated with masculinity and femininity.   

"To illustrate the point that Macy's claims of discrimination shouldn't be adjudicated under different systems, the EEOC cited the following excerpt from a district court in Washington DC, which analogizes sex discrimination based on transgender status to religious discrimination: 'Imagine that an employee is fired because she converts from Christianity to Judaism. Imagine too that her employer testifies that he harbors no bias toward either Christians or Jews but only "converts." That would be a clear case of discrimination "because of religion." No court would take seriously the notion that "converts" are not covered by the statute. Discrimination "because of religion" easily encompasses discrimination because of a change of religion.'"  

The EEOC concluded that Macy had been discriminated against on the basis of "sex discrimination." The ATF wanted to hire her when she was a man and then did not want to hire her when she became a woman. The EEOC stated that with this decision it did not create a new class of people covered under Title VII, but rather simply applied the plain language of the statute to this case. For more details, view the article "EEOC Declares that Title VII Protects Transgender Employees" by Heather Knox at  

The Impact on Christian Schools  

The most disturbing part of this case is that they used religious discrimination and compared it to transgender discrimination. The EEOC continues to change the rules and go around current legislation and seeks protections for gays, lesbians, and transgenders. It appears that the EEOC would love nothing more than to remove the rights of religious organizations to discriminate on the basis of religion.  

As Christian schools, we must clearly articulate our religious mission and religious requirements for employment at the school. The following are some guidelines for schools:

  • Include a sentence, or more, in the school handbook or other documents to acknowledge God's intention for the sexuality of men and women and His intentions for traditional marriage.
  • Have a biblical statement of faith that employees must adhere to without mental reservations.
  • Have a mission statement that identifies the school's religious purpose.
  • Make sure that job descriptions clearly identify the religious qualifications, such as being born again and other expectations.
  • Have a lifestyle statement that articulates what type of life the person must lead to qualify for an employment position in a religious school ministry (24/7).
  • Require each employee to sign a declaration of moral integrity that deals with moral standards that are expected of employees.  

LLU 23.1

Notice: This article is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It has been provided to member schools with the understanding that ACSI is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, tax, or other professional services. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. Laws vary by jurisdiction, and the specific application of laws to particular facts requires the advice of an attorney.  

Association of Christian Schools International
731 Chapel Hills Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
Phone: 719.528.6906  

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