Tag Archives: human rights act

DC Trans Groups Victorious In Shelter Struggle

Lakiesha with the suit
Lakiesha Washington poses with the judge’s order that the John L Young shelter be open to transgender women.

Shelter that discriminated against transgender woman agrees to stop discriminating, train its staff on trans sensitivity, and make its facilities safer for trans people

A DC transgender resident named Lakiesha Washington, Transgender Health Empowerment (a drop-in center for LGBT people), and DC Trans Coalition have won a major victory for transgender homeless people.

As the Washington Blade reported earlier this week, Lakiesha Washington sued New Hope Ministries–operator of the John L Young Women’s Shelter–for discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression. On April 3, 2013, Washington attempted to get a bed in the John L Young Shelter, and was turned away, being told (as is noted in Ms. Washington’s complaint), “We don’t do transgenders here. You have to leave.”

Washington, and the lawyer representing her–DC Trans Coalition member Jeffrey Light–negotiated with New Hope Ministries through this last week that New Hope would agree to a Temporary Restraining Order allowing Washington (and all transgender women) into the shelter. Furthermore, New Hope Ministries has arranged to give its staff transgender sensitivity training (as put on by Transgender Health Empowerment’s Earline Budd, and the Mayor’s Office of GLBT Affairs), and improve the privacy of its bathroom and shower facilities so that no one will be outed on the basis of their genitalia.

DC Trans Coalition member Andy Bowen, who filed an Office of Human Rights complaint about John L Young in February 2013, will withdraw her complaint, which had just entered the mediation and investigation stage.

“This is a great day for all transgender people,” said Washington. “Nobody should have to face discrimination and humiliation, and thanks to this case, homeless transgender people will be now be safer.”

“DC has great nondiscrimination laws, but good laws do not equal adequate enforcement,” said Bowen. “This case showed the need for more vigilant enforcement, and if DC Trans Coalition has anything to do with it, enforcement’s gonna happen.”

For more information, contact Andy Bowen at andymbowen [at] gmail [dot] com.

John L Young TRO Signed

DCTC speaking at hearing on Department of Corrections housing

This morning, DCTC is testifying before the DC Council’s Judiciary Committee at a hearing on “population management” within the DC Department of Corrections.  In our testimony, we call for:

  • Increasing the volunteer pool for DOC’s transgender housing committee, and releasing a public list of approved volunteers;
  • Improving transparency and data collection, so that we know exactly how many trans people are incarcerated;
  • Developing alternatives to incarceration, especially for non-violent offenses.

You can read our full statement here.  Today’s hearing is at 11:00am in room 412 of the John A. Wilson Building, at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.

Don’t let the DC government roll back housing protections for trans people!!

The D.C. Office of Human Rights has proposed rules that would allow discrimination in housing on the basis of sex if there is a business necessity for doing so.  The proposed rules would make it harder for people who don’t look or act like the stereotype associated with their sex to be housed in homeless shelters, universities, nursing homes, and other places.

The DC Trans Coalition is circulating a petition (see below) to tell the Office of Human Rights that there is no need for businesses to discriminate on the basis of sex. At the least, OHR should clarify the rule to specify that individuals have access to housing based on their gender identity within sex-segregated facilities, in accordance with the DC Human Rights Act. Continue reading Don’t let the DC government roll back housing protections for trans people!!

DCTC Recommends Priorities for District Government

Last week, newly-elected Mayor Gray’s Director of the Office of GLBT Affairs, Jeffrey Richardson, attended a DC Trans Coalition meeting. Members of DCTC educated the Director about the needs of trans communities in the District, and we were assured that trans people (along with youth and aging LGBT people) would be among the administration’s top concerns.

For the occasion, DCTC prepared a list of priorities for the Gray Administration, and shared this with the Director. We broke it down by agency and listed the most pressing and achievable goals for each. Among our list were:

  • End the Prostitution Free Zones and move toward decriminalizing sex work;
  • Nominate one or more trans people to serve on the Commission on Human Rights;
  • Enforce the gender-neutral bathroom provisions of the DC Human Rights Act;
  • Restore funding to vital trans-sensitive social services like HIPS and T.H.E.;
  • Develop plans to address unemployment in the trans community;
  • Expand the Dept. of Corrections and MPD trans policies to include other criminal justice agencies in the District;
  • Fund the DC Trans Needs Assessment

..and much more. You can read the comprehensive list here.

DCTC writes to Mayor Gray calling for an accountable new leader for the DOC

Today we sent a letter to Mayor Vince Gray urging him to make the right choice when appointing a new director for DC’s Department of Corrections (DOC).  We learned recently that Mayor Gray had removed Fenty administration appointee Devon Brown, who had been serving until a new successor could be found.  DOC is currently under the interim leadership of Thomas Hoey.  As we worked on our jails campaign for the past few years, Devon Brown was a constant barrier to progress.  As there is still much work to be done, we very much hope that Mayor Gray takes our suggestions into account.

Below please find our press release about the letter.

Continue reading DCTC writes to Mayor Gray calling for an accountable new leader for the DOC