In Iowa, the sheriff’s department got its hand slapped,
Johnson County settles with transgender woman, will clarify public restroom policyIn the Iowa the Gazette also had an article about the case, in it Dru Levasseur from Lambda Legal said…
Iowa City Press-Citizen
Written by Josh O’Leary
Jun. 20, 2013
Sheriff’s deputies will receive new training on civil rights matters, and Johnson County will clarify its policy on public restroom use under a settlement agreement with a transgender Iowa City woman.
Jodie Jones had filed a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission after she was denied use of a women’s restroom while dressed as a female by a deputy in November 2011 at the Johnson County Courthouse.
The settlement was facilitated by the Iowa Civil Rights Commission after Administrative Law Judge Heather Palmer concluded earlier this year there was probable cause supporting Jones’ claims of discrimination on the basis of gender identity, sex and sexual orientation in a public accommodation.
Under the agreement, the county’s Board of Supervisors will pass a motion reaffirming its policy that people are permitted access to restrooms in county buildings based on their gender identity, and regardless of their gender at birth.
In addition, the Johnson County Attorney’s Office will provide 30 minutes of in-person training to deputies assigned to work at the courthouse. And by February 2014, all deputies will receive two hours of training on civil rights and public accommodations with specific emphasis on gender identification and sexual orientation issues. That training will also be made available to officers from municipal police department annually.
Equal access to public restrooms for transgender people is a national issue that needs greater public awareness, said Dru Levasseur, an attorney and Transgender Rights Project director for Lambda Legal, a gay-rights organization based in New York City.Why can’t they just let us pee in peace?
About 12 percent of the 7,000 calls Lambda Legal receives each year concern transgender issues, and many of those deal with bathrooms, he said. Violence and harassment are very real concerns for transgender people, he said, and confrontations in bathrooms can lead to unsafe situations.
“That is definitely a very important topic that we are working on,” Levasseur said.