Transgender Connecticut police officer files charges over hostile work environment

Francesca Quaranta, a transgender police officer in Middletown, Connecticut, has filed a complaint with The State Commission on Human rights and Opportunities claiming her supervisors created a hostile work environment because of her gender identity and asked that they investigate her claims of discrimination and harassment.

Quaranta has been a police officer with Middletown since 2004 and was with Rocky Hill for nine years before that. At first her colleagues were supportive, but she soon started to face some hostility. The situation escalated to the point that she had to take paid leave.

"I realized there was no resolution," Quaranta said. "It was not about hair. It's not about nails. It's not about makeup. It's about the fact they don't want me in their building."

She said she voluntarily stopped using the men's bathroom and locker room and made gradual changes to try to ease the transition such as arriving to work already in uniform. But conflicts began to emerge. A lieutenant repeatedly referred to her as "Frank" and "him" after she notified the department she had legally changed her name and questioned whether she was fit for duty, according to her complaint. She said she was ordered to remove her earrings even though female officers had been allowed to wear them. She said she was initially allowed to wear a wig but was later told it was not in compliance with policy and received written discipline.

A sergeant said "who brought the caveman with them" during roll call and was later suspended, Quaranta said. A lieutenant suggested it would be better if she returned to being male, she said.

Quaranta emphasized that she had colleagues who were supportive, as well. Her attorney, Josephine Smalls Miller, held out hope of a resolution with the help of a neutral third party.

Middletown Mayor Dan Drew told the newspaper the city has to investigate Quaranta's allegations "thoroughly and that takes time." He said Quaranta is "welcome to come back to work at any time. She is a great officer."

Read the Boston Globe for the full story.