After leading her local fire service for a decade, this trans woman came out at work and was promptly fired. Now, she’s suing the city

transgender fire chief

A transgender fire chief has filed a federal lawsuit claiming she lost her job after she came out as a woman.

Rachel Mosby is suing the city of Byron in Georgia, which fired her last summer after more than ten years leading its fire department. She says this not only cost her in wages and retirement benefits, but the sacking also tarnished her reputation.

A June 4 termination letter cited poor job performance and made no mention of her transition, but Mosby maintains she was fired “based on her sex, gender identity and notions of sex stereotyping”.

“They didn’t want somebody like me in that position, or any position with the city,” Mosby told AP in a September interview.

Mosby was hired as fire marshal in 2007 and promoted to fire chief in January 2008. According to the lawsuit, she spent years growing the fledgling fire department, obtaining grants to pay for equipment and improving its rating, which insurers use to help assess a community’s fire risk.

She began presenting as a woman at work in January 2018, more than a year after she started her medical transition.

The lawsuit states that on the first day she came into work wearing a skirt she was ordered to wear a uniform, and that some city officials insisted on using male pronouns when referring to her.

Mosby says that after one reserve firefighter called her a slur to her face, she fired him — but he appealed and was reinstated by the city.

Rachel Mosby is claiming discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (Facebook/Rachel Mosby)

Some city hall colleagues and administrators were supportive towards her transition, Mosby said, but it did not last long.

Despite her years of loyal service, she was fired by Derick Hayes, Byron’s city administrator, just a few months after she began her public transition.

Hayes claims that she was responsible for a backlog of business licenses awaiting approval; that she attended only five classes at a recent fire chief’s conference, wasting the city’s money and that she failed to maintain certification as an arson investigator.

But Mosby says the work backlog resulted in part from doctor visits and physical therapy appointments to treat back and hip problems caused by a job-related injury.

She is claiming discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission took no action on her complaints.