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Transgender woman files lawsuit against Michigan university

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By David Jesse

Detroit Free Press

(TNS)

DETROIT — A lawsuit filed Friday claims Saginaw Valley State University fired Charin Davenport after she underwent gender transition from male to female, including changing her name and starting to dress like a woman.

The suit, filed in federal court, says the university discriminated against Davenport based on her gender.

“Discrimination against people who don’t conform to traditional gender stereotypes is a form of sex discrimination under the law,” her attorney, Jennifer Salvatore, said in a press release. “No human being should be vilified and denigrated the way Char was by her supervisor, let alone lose their job because of who they are. She is a wonderful person with a lot of courage to speak out about what happened to her.”

The university could not immediately be reached for a comment.

Charles Davenport began working for the university in 2007 as an adjunct professor in the English department, the suit says. From August 2011 to July 2012, he worked as the coordinator of academic tutoring services. In July 2012, he became the assistant to the director of academic programs support. The suit says he received positive reviews for his work.

Then, in October 2013, he informed SVSU he was undergoing gender transition. He said he intended to dress as a female.

That’s when the problems began, the suit says.

The suit claims Davenport’s supervisor, Ann Coburn-Collins, told her, “It’s my fault. I should have given you that full-time job so you wouldn’t have had so much free time.”

Then, in December 2013, Davenport was told her position was being eliminated for budgetary reasons. A couple of months later, the suit says, Coburn-Collins got into a yelling match with Davenport and allegedly said, “You disgust me. I can’t even stand to look at you.”

The suit seeks a jury trial and asks for unspecified compensation.

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©2016 Detroit Free Press

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Transgender woman files lawsuit against Michigan university