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Pastor fired from Canadian church after coming out as transgender files a lawsuit for wrongful dismissal

A pastor who was fired from an Ontario Baptist church after coming out as transgender has filed a lawsuit for wrongful dismissal after alleging her termination was spurred by discrimination.

Rev. Junia Joplin presented as male when she first took on the job of lead pastor at Lorne Park Baptist Church in 2014 until last year when she came out to the congregation in a live-streamed sermon in June, as reported by The Canadian Press.

In a statement of claim not yet tested in court, Joplin said she received support from some members of the congregation and other Baptist churches following the announcement.

However, the claim alleges that the Lorne Park Baptist Church proceeeded to suspend her from her duties and gave no date for her return.

The lawsuit goes on to allege that Joplin was then subjected to an "unfair process" that saw congregants question her in a series of virtual town halls and vote to end her employment in July 2020.

Lorne Park Baptist Church did not immediately respond to a request for comment by the Canadian Press. The church said in a statement last year that Joplin had been fired for "theological reasons."

Joplin said in an interview with The Canadian Press that she was left with "a kind of anxiety around church work and church life" that she had never felt before.

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