Woman sues Forever 21 for firing her after she transitioned

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Trans woman Alexia Daskalakis is suing the clothing store after she was subjected to transphobic abuse.

Ms Daskalakis says she faced transphobic abuse at the New York shop she had been working in for four years, after she began transitioning. She told bosses she was transitioning in January last year, and says the majority of co-workers were supportive and welcoming.

However, her supervisor Patrick Walmsley began treating her poorly, according to the lawsuit. He made negative comments about her attire, despite other women employees being dressed similarly. He reportedly told her: “You’re still a male, so you need to abide by the male dress code.”

She says she was branded “digusting”, “useless” and a “hot mes” by Mr Walmsley and other supervisors. Her work was repeatedly criticised, with one supervisor saying: “You used to be a hard worker when you were a guy, but not any more.”

In January of this year, she was fired without explanation. Calls to the companies’ HR department were never returned.

She told the New York Daily News: “I was devastated. You put all your hard work into working for one company, and they respond by being ruthless. It hurt.

“I work hard. I figured my work ethic could trump any discrimination.”

Her lawyer, David Gottlieb said: “The transgender community faces a variety of challenges, and it is disgraceful for employers to create additional hardship by discriminating against employees simply because of how they express and identify their gender.”

Ms Daskalakis added: “I just hope I get justice for how I was treated.

“People in my position need to find their voice, and customers should know who they’re shopping from.”