Two child daycare center workers in Katy, Texas, who were fired are taking their cases to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They contend religious discrimination was at issue in their dismissals.
Madeline Kirksey and Akesha Wyatt ran afoul of owners of Children's Lighthouse Learning Center when they refused the demand from the daycare center and a child’s parents that they refer to a six-year-old girl as a boy. Both were fired, and Houston attorney Andy Taylor is representing them. KPRC television also was present at a press conference on the issue.
“On a Friday, that little girl left school,” Taylor says. “I'm not going to use real names, but let’s say she was known to everybody as 'Sally.' Well, on Monday this little girl returned to school calling herself 'Johnny.'”
On another day the little girl yelled that she was a girl when students tried to address her as Johnny, indicating the possible gender confusion that many children experience. The parents were irate that staff had objections to referring to the girl as a male.
The manager, Madeline Kirksey, couldn't bring herself to comply because of her religious views and out of consideration of the best interests for the girl.
“I felt it was my obligation, after 26 years doing this, that I had to stand up for this child and protect her at all costs,” she says. “And if it took my job, I was fine with that.”
Andy Taylor is the same attorney who successfully fought all the way to the Texas Supreme Court to give voters the right to vote to overturn Houston's transgender "bathroom ordinance," which they did earlier this month.