Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Why Can’t Homeless Shelters Obey The Law?

Here is another case of a shelter disregarding the law, this time down in Washington DC.
D.C. shelter drops ban on trans women
Washington Blade
By Lou Chibbaro Jr.
April 14, 2013

A D.C. Superior Court judge on Friday issued a temporary restraining order requiring a city funded shelter for homeless women located near the U.S. Capitol to stop denying transgender women access to the facility.

The Blade had previously reported about a lawsuit brought upon the shelter by a trans women alleging discrimination.

Judge Geoffrey Alprin issued the order after the executive director of New Hope Ministries, which operates the John L. Young Shelter for Women, chose not to contest a request for the restraining order filed by an attorney on behalf of Lakiesha Washington, a transgender woman who was denied admission to the shelter.
“We don’t do transgenders here,” the lawsuit quotes an employee at the shelter saying when Washington, who was homeless, attempted to enter the shelter. “You have to leave,” the lawsuit quotes the employee as saying.
It should have to take a law suit or a judge’s order to integrate shelters; they should just follow the law. I don’t know how many times I have seen posted on Facebook or in emails or contacted by people looking for shelter for a homeless trans*person here in Connecticut because a shelter wants them to say in a shelter for their birth gender instead of what the law requires, staying in a shelter of their gender identity and expression. They are all afraid to stand up for their rights because of the double stigma of being trans and homeless.

It doesn’t have to be that way; shelters in New York, Boston, San Francisco and Arizona all have been successfully integrated. Their policies are on-line as well as sample policies to integrate shelters.

Just obey the law and don’t victimize a community that is already highly marginalized.

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