Transgender teen claims discrimination

12:19 PM, Dec 7, 2009   |    comments
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ORLANDO, Florida -- A teenager claims she was turned down for a job at an Orlando McDonald's because she's transgender.

Zikerria Bellamy, 17, said she's considering filing a lawsuit after the McDonald's located at International Drive and Sand Lake Road in Orlando allegedly refused to interview her for a possible job.

Related Story: Tampa passes transgender human rights ordinance

The restaurant has not commented, but the teen spoke exclusively to our news partners at WKMG Local 6, saying the incident started in July when she applied online for a job and was called in for an interview. Bellamy said she did not check off a box on the application where it asked whether the applicant is male or female.

According to the application, it states near the voluntary gender question that "failure to respond will not subject you to adverse treatment," D'Onofrio reported.

When she went in for the interview, Bellamy claims a manager forced her to check a box that would indicate her gender. "Once I looked at his facial expression, when I checked off male, like the whole face just changed. He was upset. I seen the anger, you know, like you can tell when someone gets upset," Bellamy said.

Bellamy said she was told she would not be granted an interview, and she said the restaurant manager left her a hateful voicemail later in the day. "You will not get hired. We do not hire (expletive). You lied to me. You told me you were a woman," said the message Bellamy played for Local 6 News.

"Well, when I first heard it, I told my mom. I said, 'This is not right and something has to be stopped about this,' like, something has to be really done," said Bellamy, who contacted Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund.

Michael Silverman, the executive director and an attorney for the agency, flew from New York to Orlando and filed a discrimination complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations.

"We're asking them to take the complaint and make sure that McDonald's takes appropriate steps to make sure that this doesn't happen again," Silverman said.

"I'm angry. I'm hurt," Bellamy said. "You shouldn't judge someone based on who they are."

WKMG Local 6

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