Macy’s Employee Fired For Bullying Trans Customer Claims Religious Persecution

Natalie-Johnson-abc-newsDown in Texas last week, God-fearing college student Natalie Johnson went to her job at Macy’s and had what must have been an eye-opening experience: a trans woman shopping for women’s clothes. It was unconscionable! Just not right! She had to fix it!

So when the customer tried to defile the purity of a woman’s dressing room by entering it, Johnson, 27, took it upon herself to set things right.

“I made sure to keep an eye on him because he was shopping for women’s clothing,” she told KSAT TV in San Antonio. “I had to just straightforward tell him, ‘You’re a man,’ and of course that really got him steamed.”

Johnson refused to let the unnamed woman enter the ladies dressing room, even though the customer’s friends informed her it was Macy’s policy to allow transgender people to use the dressing room of their choosing.

Johnson got fired for not complying with the retailer’s diversity policy (score one for Macy’s!) but quickly filed a complaint with the Federal Employment Commission, claiming her religious beliefs prevented her from recognizing transgender people.

Not recognizing them? Is that being color-blind—she literally can’t see them if they’re walking down the street?

Jezebel’s Margaret Hartmann nails why Johnson’s “religious discrimination” argument is pure B.S.:

“In Deuteronomy 22:5 it does say, ‘A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this,’ but if you’re going to strictly adhere to that passage you probably can’t work at Macy’s anyway. A few lines later it says, ‘Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together,” and “Make tassels on the four corners of the cloak you wear.’ The entire clothing department is in clear violation of these rules!”

Oh please—tassels on the corners of cloaks is sooo 2007.

Photo via ABC News

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  • Bob

    And just how many years ago would she not be allowed to use the same dressing room as a white woman? That was terribly wrong then, and her bigotry is just as wrong now.

  • bagooka

    Did she call her a tranny too? I can’t believe these bigoted employees.

  • Nick

    They must not have taught us the trans verses in Sunday school.

  • Linda Metz Mooney

    Ya know , I’m fine with anyone’s religious beliefs as long as they don’t FORCE them upon me. It was clearly store policy and as an employee she has to abide by it, whether she agrees personally or not . And is this her photo ? …a black woman ?… of ALL people to be guilty of bigotry ! How soon some people forget…not that long ago , a person of color would have to use another dressing room …Bigotry of any kind is just plain WRONG.

  • slanty

    @Mark: Interesting how you tried to turn a story about Christian doctrine into one about Islam. It’s almost like you’re anti-Arab.

  • Jeffery

    Well, first of all, the line “the dutiful God-fearing Christian took it upon himself” should read “herself” since it is referrig to the sales girl.

    More importantly, playing the nauseating Christian card is clearly BS on her part . However, I am not Christian and I refused to say, “Merry Christmas” when working retail because 1. you should not assume everyone celebrates Christmas and 2. saying something I don’t beleive in is wrong.

    So, it’s one of those case-by-case things, I think. However, if the person was truly transgendered, then yes, use the womens’ dressing room. If it was just a guy in drag, well… maybe not.

    But again, using “I’m Christian” to support prejudice is wrong. Maybe she can get a job working for Rick Perry? Although he probably doesn’t like black people. I wonder if she even knows that her precious Bible was used to justify slavery?

  • Cam

    “”She refused to let him enter the women’s dressing room, even though the customer’s friends informed her it was Macy’s policy to allow transgender people to use the dressing room of their choosing.””

    She broke policy. She has a MAcy’s policy book, if she had a problem with it, the time to inform them was during the interview.

    Sorry bigots, you don’t get to use religion as an excuse anymore, just like somebody couldn’t use passages about beating their wives or children to excuse domestic violence.

  • slanty

    @Cam: Or the Bible verse about marrying your rapist to excuse rape.

  • the crustybastard

    Where did these religious idiots get the idea that — by simply asserting “I’m a Christian!” — they suddenly have superior rights to everyone else?

    “My employer is discriminating against my First Amendment right to be a stupid asshole to their customers!”

    Um, no. You have no such right, honey.

    Nobody does.

  • chink change

    It all depends on whether there was a real woman in the dressing room he wanted, doesn’t it?

  • Ian

    She’ll lose on the merits. But, as with many cases, she may get some money to go away. I hope Macy’s defends and refuses to settle. I started out my career prosecuting civil rights cases and this plaintiff attorney has a long roe to hoe. As for Ms. Johnson, she needs to learn that if she wants to work for a company, she must abide by company policy — regardless of her religion. If she can’t abide, then she’s in the wrong job.

  • CBRad

    @Ian: That’s what it should come down to, in all cases. If your religious beliefs affect what you can or can’t do, then don’t go working for a company whose policy goes against that. Sometimes we have to pick and choose in life.

  • JohnAGJ

    @slanty: “Anti-Arab”? Stereotype much? Accuse him of being anti-Muslim if you like, although that’s a stretch, but there are Arab Christians too ya know.

  • Dan Cobbb

    @ Jeffrey:

    1) is it wrong for a non-Jew to wish a Jewish person a “happy new year” at the time of the Jewish New Year? Is it wrong for a non-Jewish person to wish a Jewish person “Happy Hannukha”?? Isn’t that just a kind wish to a person of another religion? Or do you genuinely not want Christians to have a Merry Christmas?


    2) this “Christian” woman is not religious at all. She just is fundamentally freaked out by transgendered people and uses “her religion” as a justification for her careening-out-of-control personality. Most people who identify as “born-again” Christians are simply people of little noteworthiness who can make themselves instantly special by becoming “born-again” and “heaven-bound”. These are simple-minded people –often shrill, and often with completely incoherent opinions and arguments on the issues of the day.

  • JRL

    “Too much trans subject matter here now.” Really? The one or two articles posted a day -sometimes not even- is too much? Don’t want to read about trans issues? Then don’t click on the article about trans issues.

  • Chuck

    Macys rules, even in Texas. Tell her to go sell some awkwardly sized synthetic crap at Kohls. Oh yeah, wearing unnatural fibers is specifically mentioned in the Bible as a sin worthy of stoning.

  • JRL

    @CBRad: Yes, but is really that big of deal? Especially compared to some of the other bs Queerty posts.

  • CBRad

    @JRL: MMMmmm….okay. I guess it’s no big deal, I agree.

  • Zoe Brain

    Have some compassion for her.

    She’s a Lesbian who’s been indoctrinated to believe that being Gay is sinful. So, in order to fight her own inner struggle, she must continually show how pure she is, despite her impure thoughts and decidedly butch demeanour.

    Hence her disruption of the “Day of Silence” last year.


  • tracy

    I’m confused; so the woman pictured is NOT the transgendered shopper?

  • Gimme A Break

    Not long ago SHE would have never been able to have a job with such a company. Religious blacks are the biggest bigots on the planet.

  • JRL

    @Gimme A Break: That’s a bit racist, don’t ya think?

  • Shannon1981

    She says she “doesn’t believe in transgenders” and calls them “mentally confused.” She is an ignorant bigot. Macy’s was right to fire her.

  • Shannon1981

    Is it just me or do we have another closet case on our hands? I hesitated to say this, because I don’t want to stereotype..but this Natalie person seems like a lesbian to me, and I have excellent gaydar.

  • lucifer

    Well said BOB.

  • Gimme A Break

    @JRL: I respond to bigotry with bigotry. If you think my rights should be less than your….I say Fuck you and Fuck off. Mormans, Fundies, and worshipers of Allah can all eat shit. Blacks are no different. I’ve tried the high road and the high road leads only to more bigotry. Natalie does not deserve another job.

  • JRL

    @Gimme A Break: “I’ve tried the high road and the high road leads only to more bigotry.” Yet you think that responding to bigotry, with bigotry is going to lessen that? It only adds fuel to their fire. Being black has NOTHING to do with her ignorance and transphobia, and when you try to tie those two things together, you’re worse than her.

  • Natalie

    I’m trans… and honestly, it would be incredibly hard not to break down in a situation like that. She may claim religious whatever, but it’s so dehumanizing to not have your very self acknowledged.

  • Roger

    For more about Natalie Johnson watch :

    Macy’s diversity policy is praiseworthy but their hiring screening process has room for improvement.

  • Shannon1981

    @Natalie: I just wanna say that you’re more of a woman, and a better one, than this transphobic Macy’s employee will ever be. Remember that when you encounter people like this.

  • B

    While she has a right to not “recognize” transgendered people, if she can’t respect the rights of transgendered customers to shop in her employer’s store or is rude to customers,
    she can expect to be escorted to the door. And that is all that happened to her – Macy’s is not going to be happy at an employee who tries to get rid of customers who want to shop there.

  • Steve

    I am sure that Natalie signed an agreement when she started the job, saying that she will abide by the company policies, etc… Every big company has a pile of paperwork to be signed on the first day.

    And every big company has essentially the same policy. The details vary, but that policy always includes several elements: Employees are hired to do work; That work involves being nice to people, even people you do not like; If any of that work is contrary to your religion, you are not required to work here; You always have the option of quitting the job; If you refuse to do the work, you will be fired.

  • Charles

    Thank you Macys! As a Gay Christian it offends me to see other Christians use the Bible as an excuse for hatred.

  • zimzam

    I’m trans too, I would have to resist decking this stupid woman. The bible doesn’t say anything about us, so she has no right to her claim religious beliefs were infringed upon. If she isn’t aware of that fact, she’s uneducated about the very religion she’s willing to lose her job to follow.

    Thankfully the employees I’ve openly asked for help from have been very accepting, especially at Victoria Secrets.

    The easiest way to get into a mess is to start one.

  • marta

    Why would men be allowed in the women’s dressing room? Just because they like to wear womens clothes, they are still men. This world has gone abosolutely insane!

Comments are closed.