A man is suing his former school and employer, alleging that positive reviews and recommendations all turned sour and that his supervisors took retaliatory actions after he disclosed his transgender status. Everything was going fine for Kellen Bennett as the Oakland-based licensed marriage counselor pursued a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Alliant International University in San Francisco from August 2006 to October 2011. His grades were good and his recommendations solid. But then one day in October 2011, he told a faculty member and several classmates in a group session that he is transgender. All of a sudden, positive reviews turned to bad ones, and a promised postdoctoral internship evaporated. One of his supervisors began repeatedly using the word “tranny” in his presence and school records were altered in an attempt to deny him a job, Bennett alleges in a lawsuit filed late last year against the university’s California School of Professional Psychology.
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