The 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Monday that a transgender professor be reinstated with tenure to the university that fired her, 10 years after an administrator said her “lifestyle” disturbed him. In a 55-page ruling, the appellate court determined that Rachel Tudor had been discriminated against on the basis of her gender identity, and ruled that her lost pay and lawyer fees be subsidized by Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Tudor, an English professor, transitioned to female in 2007, according to the federal employment suit. Her application for tenure was subsequently blocked by the university administration, after its vice president for academic affairs, Douglas McMillan, asked if she could be fired because her “transgender lifestyle” offended his religious sensibilities.
In 2011, she was terminated because she had not been granted tenure. A statement attributed to Tudor said that those who had discriminated against her “wanted people like Dr. Tudor to be afraid, and go away. Instead of going away, instead of accepting a settlement—conditioned on never teaching in Oklahoma—she fought for the rights and dignity of her Native and LGBT communities.” Tudor, who is a member of the Chickasaw Nation, will be the first tenured Native American professor in her department.