Trans Validation: Transgender Activists Are Claiming Mixed Results in Battles for Equality in New York and Maine

Article excerpt

"Restrooms are among the most contested sites for transgender people," says activist Pauline Park, cochair of the New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy. "This settlement is an important legal victory, and I also hope it will help empower transgender people in relation to public accommodations."

Park is referring to the antidiscrimination settlement she won in March against a New York City security company that harassed her for using a women's bathroom in a mall. A 2002 city law, which Park helped to get enacted, prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression.

The joint settlement also included Justine Nicholas, another transgender woman harassed by another guard from the same company, Advantage Security, for the same reason. "When I tiled the complaint," she explains, "I thought about the next transgender person who might come along and face the same problem."

Under the terms of the settlement the company will make a written apology to the women, pledge to not discriminate again, provide sensitivity training for its employees, and pay Park and Nicholas $2,500 each (which they are then to donate to the nonprofit of their choice).

Even as the women celebrated their victory, the Hispanic AIDS Forum of New York City had a setback in a similar area A New York State appeals court dismissed the forum's lawsuit accusing a former landlord of refusing to renew its office lease because its transgender clients were using the building's common-area bathrooms. …


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