A privately-operated Washington D.C. shelter for homeless women, funded by the local government, is accused of violating the city's Human Rights Act by turning away transgender women unless they provide "documentation" of a legal name change or gender reassignment surgery, according to separate complaints filed by the two transgender women.
According to The Washington Blade, two women say employees at the John L. Young Women's Shelter said they could not be admitted because of their transgender status.
An attorney with the D.C. Trans Coalition filed the lawsuit on behalf of Lakiesha Washington against New Hope Ministries, Inc. of Woodbridge, Va., which operates the John L. Young Women’s Shelter under a city funded contract.
One of the suits was filed on behalf of Lakiesha Washington says Washington "who was homeless, attempted to gain admission to the shelter on April 3, when the lawsuit says the alleged discriminatory action took place. An unidentified female employee at the shelter asked Washington, 'Are you a woman or a man,' the lawsuit says. “Ms. Washington replied, ‘I’m a transgender woman.’ The employee then asked Ms. Washington if she had any documentation, to which Ms. Washington replied that she did not.
The lawsuit says the employee then told Washington, “We don’t do transgenders here. You have to leave.”
John Shetterly, executive director of New Hope Ministries, which operates the shelter under a city-funded contract, says the organization is "taking immediate steps to make structural changes to better accommodate transgender women and plans to hold a special staff training session to address transgender-related issues."
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