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Fired Truck Driver
Exposes Winn Dixie 'Image Insecurity'

Compiled By GayToday

The National Transgender Advocacy Coalition, (NTAC), has signed onto a call for the continuation of recent protests against the Winn-Dixie Corporation, joining a broader coalition of activists, organizations, and supporters protesting Winn-Dixie's discriminatory treatment of a transgendered employee.

The recent protests on January 5, followed a boycott that began December 18, 2000. At the heart of this activism were issues surrounding Peter Oiler's job termination on January 5.
windixie.jpg - 11.15 K Fired Winn Dixie employee Peter Oiler with his wife

Mr. Oiler, for 21 years a New Orleans area truck driver for Winn-Dixie, had been fired because he crossdresses when he is not at work.

In October 1999, amid rumors that he was gay, Mr. Oiler, who is married, confided to a supervisor that he is transgendered.

Within three days, management asked Oiler to resign, saying that someone had seen him cross-dressing off duty. Winn Dixie management was, reportedly, concerned with its corporate image. When Oiler refused to resign, he was terminated.

Eric Ferrero, one of Peter Oiler's ACLU attorneys from New York, said the specifics of the case could not be commented upon, but was quick to express appreciation for all the support from the GLBT community. Winn-Dixie spokesman Mickey Clerc said the company could not comment on any pending litigation.

Jessica Archer, director of the Florida Organization for Gender Equality (FORGE), was coordinator of the protest at Winn-Dixie's corporate headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida.

"I feel it is always important to stand up when there's discrimination or bigotry of any kind," Ms. Archer said. Her group wants Winn-Dixie to begin company wide diversity training, gender education, draft anti-discrimination language for employment policies, and to publicly acknowledge that diversity is welcome at the company and that it is vital to a safe, productive work environment.

The Winn-Dixie action brought about the unprecedented formation of a broad-based coalition; organizing a massive e-mail and phone campaign that has been directed at the company's corporate offices.

Related Stories from the GayToday Archive:

Action-Alert: Winn Dixie – Talking Back to the Beef People

Transgender Equality: A Handbook for Activists Published

Lee Brewster Dies at 57 -- Pioneering Transvestite Activist

Related Sites:
National Transgender Advocacy Coalition

Shame on Winn Dixie

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In addition to the protest in Jacksonville, there have been similar protests at other Winn-Dixie locations, including the company's division offices in New Orleans.

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