Chicken-Fried News: Restroom rights 

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Here at Chicken-Fried News, we admire the courage of Meggan Sommerville.

The name might be unfamiliar, but she is fighting the fight against well-known Oklahoma-based craft retailer Hobby Lobby.

Sommerville joined the staff of the Aurora, Illinois, store in 1998. Nearly a decade later, Sommerville began her transition to becoming a woman. She began presenting herself as a woman in 2010, switched her nametag to “Meggan” and dressed as a female.

Hobby Lobby had no qualms until Sommerville made her way to the restroom marked “Women.” Store managers pointed her to the men’s room. That action sparked a five-year battle, which resulted in a recent state administrative judge ruling that the arts and crafts franchise violated the Illinois Human Rights Act, according to Windy City Times.

It is also important to note that Sommerville also has fibromyalgia, which increases her need to visit the bathroom.

With her only choice to use male facilities, Sommerville would monitor her food and drink intake before work. She reportedly would wait for a meal break to use the restroom.

After working six hours, Sommerville would clock out and rush to a nearby fast-food restaurant to visit the lavatory.

Once, Sommerville visited the shop’s women’s room as a customer. Think Progress reported that management saw Sommerville leave the bathroom and gave her a warning for utilizing the facility as a shopper. In 2014, store management constructed a single-use restroom at the Illinois store and instructed Sommerville it was all hers.

That is the restroom that Sommerville visits today. Five months after the judge’s ruling recommendation, Sommerville still awaits an Illinois Human Rights Commission ruling, which would end the case.

Through it all, she continues to come to a job she loves.

“Why should I quit?” she proposed during an interview with Windy City Times of Illinois. “I’m good at what I do. I love what I do … No one should be forced to quit where they’re being harassed and discriminated against. This case is bigger than me.”

“Bigger than me?” Isn’t that what Hobby Lobby attorneys argued to win their infamous Supreme Court case in 2014? The decision allowed for-profit businesses to opt out of the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

Go get ’em, Sommerville. Stand firm for your rights.

Print Headline: Restroom rights

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