Meet Charmaine McGuffey, Hamilton County’s New Lesbian Sheriff

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The beauty in the 2020 election was seeing Karma do its work in slow motion.

Not only did Donald Trump fail in his megalomaniacal attempt to be re-elected president, but on a small scale, several victories served justice on a not-so-cold plate.

For example, Charmaine McGuffey has made history by defeating her opponent Bruce Hoffbauer in this week’s race for the position of Hamilton County Sheriff in Ohio. McGuffey accomplished her task after beating her former boss, Jim Neil, in the Democratic primary.

According to People, McGuffey worked her way up the ranks in the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office all the way to Major in 2013. Four years later, Neil fired her after an investigation for allegedly creating “a hostile work environment.”

What really happened was that McGuffey was fired for being openly gay.

“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,” McGuffey told WVXU last month. “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.”

Neil congratulated McGuffey and confirmed her dismissal to PEOPLE, and said the investigation involved interviews with 31 people, and as a result, she was reassigned to a different position. When she didn’t show up for her new assignment, she was fired, he said.

McGuffey later sued the sheriff’s department, claiming that some of her colleagues disagreed that she was an openly gay woman, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

In the 2018 lawsuit, McGuffey alleged that big-league men received preferential treatment and claimed that Neil once told her in response that some men “don’t like working for a woman,” the media added.

The lawsuit also reportedly alleged that the reasons given for her firing were 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.

According to the magazine, during her sheriff campaign, McGuffey labeled herself a “whistleblower” who wanted to hold officers accountable for their use of force.

“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.

McGuffey won this week’s race with 52% of the vote against Hoffbauer, who in 1990 shot and killed an unarmed Black man named Walter Brown, WVXU reported. According to the Enquirer, Hoffbauer said he acted in self-defense and was cleared of any wrongdoing at the time, though the city manager later concluded he used excessive force.


With information from People Magazine.