The Ohio police officer who was fired by her former boss for being openly gay has now been elected as Ohio Hamilton County’s newest sheriff, beating the same boss that terminated her.
Charmaine McGuffey has made history as the first LGBTQ person to be Hamilton County Sheriff, PEOPLE reports. Last month she spoke with WVXU about dealing with discrimination as gay woman. “My role is to be an example of what you can accomplish as an LGBT person because there’s a lot of discrimination out there,” she said. “There were lots of times that I struggled to keep my sexual orientation to myself because I knew that if it got out it would hurt my career.”
McGuffey beat her last contender Bruce Hoffbauer and in the race before that, she beat her bigoted boss Jim Neil in the Democratic primary. Her termination happened in 2017 after three years of service following an investigation into claims that she created “hostile work environment,” the Cincinnati Enquirer reported. She was first moved to a different position and she was then fired after she never showed up her to new assignment.
After that, McGuffey filed a lawsuit against the department, claiming that one of her coworkers didn’t like the fact that she was openly gay. She also alleged that the men were treated better and claimed that Neil told her that some men “don’t like working for a woman.” In her lawsuit, she claimed that the department told her she was being fired for a “false pretext for discriminating and terminating [McGuffey] because of her gender, her failure to conform to traditional female stereotypes, her sexual orientation and her open criticism of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department’s excessive use of force against inmates.”
During her campaign, she made sure to express her story of being discriminated against. “When I spoke up, I was told to go with the flow. I refused to stand by silently and ultimately, it cost me my job. I decided to run against him in the primary and I won. I’m running for sheriff because I know we can do better,” she said in a campaign video. Her filing is still pending, according to PEOPLE.
“I’ve never been an insider. I wasn’t just a woman working in law enforcement, I was a gay woman. That made me a target. A threat,” she said in a campaign video. “But overcoming the impossible, well, that’s what I’ve done my entire life.”