Transgender Model Frances Coombe Takes on Gender Discrimination in the Modeling World

Transgender Model Frances Coombe Takes on Gender Discrimination in the Modeling World

Discrimination Claims in Modeling Industry

Frances Coombe, a Canadian catwalk model, has filed a lawsuit against his former employer, Muse Management, and CEO Conor Kennedy, alleging civil rights violations and gender discrimination.

Coombe claims that his career suffered irreparable damage after he came out as transgender, citing that Muse Management terminated him from their roster for not conforming to traditional masculinity and coerced him into continuing to model women’s clothing.

Legal Action and Damages Sought

The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court, seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages, including compensation for emotional distress, harm to reputation, career setback, and over $300,000 in lost income.

Coombe’s legal action puts forward claims of gender discrimination, asserting that he was unfairly treated due to his gender identity.

Background and Transition

Initially discovered by Muse Management at the age of 18 in Toronto, Coombe worked for the agency from 2011 until March 30, 2023, initially presenting as a woman.

However, over the years, Coombe transitioned, and on October 15, 2021, he informed Muse about identifying as non-binary.

Despite the disclosure, Muse allegedly insisted that Coombe continue modeling women’s wear, emphasizing that clients would only perceive him as a woman during professional engagements.

Resistance and Discrimination

Coombe claims he was compelled to wear women’s clothes, including bikinis, in promotional materials.

When he started taking testosterone and changed his pronouns to he/him, Muse allegedly removed him from their website without warning.

Meetings with company executives revealed a resistance to Coombe’s transition, with CEO Conor Kennedy reportedly stating he was ‘insufficiently masculine.’

The model alleges that Muse imposed gender stereotypes on him, limiting his work opportunities.

Complaints and Retaliation

Coombe made formal complaints about discriminatory treatment and lost job opportunities due to asserting his male gender identity.

However, these complaints allegedly led to the company reducing its promotion of Coombe, resulting in a decline in work opportunities and income.

The model eventually submitted a written complaint on March 28, 2023, detailing discriminatory practices and felt compelled to resign.

Legal Claims and Future Steps

The lawsuit demands damages, including back pay, front pay, and benefits, along with punitive damages.

Coombe seeks an injunction against Muse and Kennedy to prevent further discriminatory actions based on gender identity.

The model also requests compensation for legal fees. Kennedy’s lawyer, Carlos M Carvajal, expressed surprise and disappointment at the lawsuit, asserting its lack of merit and legal flaws.

Coombe’s legal battle sheds light on the challenges faced by individuals in the modeling industry when it comes to gender identity.

The lawsuit underscores the importance of addressing discriminatory practices in the workplace, emphasizing the need for fair treatment and inclusivity.

As the case unfolds, it brings attention to broader issues surrounding gender diversity within professional sectors.

People

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