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EEOC Investigation involving transgender Oklahoman

DEL CITY, Okla. — One Oklahoman believes she was discriminated against because of her sexuality and was fired when people found out she was really a man.

“Other people judge me before they even know me,” Shartell said.

At first Shartell did not want to show her face on camera.

She’s a man who looks and lives like a woman and says when people at work found out she was a man, she lost her job.

Now, she is revealing who she is and her story.

It is a story she claims contains harrasment by her coworkers.

“When you become a parent are you going to be the mommy or the daddy?” Shartell said. “Or how do you guys have sex?”

She complained to her boss but was soon fired.

She believes she lost her job solely because she is transgender.

When someone is fired based on sexuality, it is against the law.

“Discrimination against transgender individuals under the current EEOC guidlines is sex discrimination, and the fact that you move from one gender to another does not remove you from the category of sex,” Attorney and Equality Network Board member Brittany Novotney said.

Shartell works as a certified nurses aide.

She says when filling out job applications, she never specifies her gender or her race.

“No doubt in my mind I was fired because I’m a male, but I come off as a female,” Shartell said.  “That’s why I was fired.”

She filed a complaint with the EEOC, but she says she was told there is not much that can be done without eyewitnesses or other evidence.

“I was thinking about committing suicide,” Shartell said.

We’re not naming Shartell’s former employer, because the EEOC investigation is ongoing.

As for Shartell, she has not found another job.