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Last updated at 15:00 GMT, Wednesday, 09 December 2009

Transgender teenager sues McDonald's


9 December 2009

Zikerria Bellamy, a teenager in the US who changed her gender from male to female, is taking legal action against the fast food chain McDonald's for alleged discrimination.

Andy Gallacher

Zikerria Bellamy

Zikerria Bellamy


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Zikerria Bellamy is a 17 year-old male who's been living as a female for about the past six years. According to a complaint, filed by the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, the teenager applied for a job at a McDonald's restaurant in Orlando. It's alleged that two managers at the branch refused to give Miss Bellamy an interview and on one occasion a manager saw the teenager, who arrived wearing a suit, and laughed at her. The complaint goes on to claim that one of the managers later left an insulting voice message on Miss Bellamy's answering machine. It's alleged the manager used a gay slur and informed the teenager that she'd never be given a job. A spokesman for the branch here in Florida said that McDonald's had a zero tolerance policy prohibiting discrimination or harassment. Most US states don't have laws that specifically protect transgender people in the workplace.

Andy Gallacher, BBC News


Click to listen to the vocabulary:


living as a female

someone who was born as one gender (here, male) has been dressing and behaving like the opposite gender (here, female). A transgender person may also take drugs and have surgery to change their gender from male to female or from female to male

according to a complaint, filed by

from the point of view of the person or people bringing a case in front of a judge

applied for a job

asked for employment

it's alleged

it is suggested, without proof, that someone has done something wrong

the branch

the office, shop or here, restaurant, that forms part of a large business organisation with many other similar offices, shops or restaurants

to claim

to say that something is true or is a fact, although you cannot prove it and other people might not believe it


rude or abusive

a gay slur

a word or term that is insulting (as above) to homosexual people

a zero tolerance policy prohibiting discrimination or harassment

have laws and rules that mean people are not allowed to behave in an insulting or aggressive way to people based on their race, sex, religion, sexual preference, etc.

the workplace

a general term for a building or room where people work (i.e. an office, shop, factory, etc.)

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