Skip to main content

The John L. Young Women's Shelter is located three blocks from the US Capitol.  The shelter is operated by New Hope Ministries, Inc of Woodbridge, VA.  Not surprisingly the shelter is operated under a city-funded contract.  And in the District of Columbia that usually means federal money is involved somewhere along the line.

A lawsuit was filed against the shelter on April 5 and a complaint was filed with the DC Office of Human Rights on March 22 by two transgender women who charge that employees of the shelter said they could not be admitted because of their transgender status.

 photo Lakiesha_Washington_zps8f56634a.jpgAn attorney with the DC Trans Coalition filed the lawsuit on behalf of Lakiesha Washington, a homeless woman who attempted to spend the night in the shelter on April 3.  The lawsuit says at that time a discriminatory act took place.

A female employee at the shelter asked Washington, "Are you a woman or a man?"  Washington replied, "I am a transgender woman."  The employee asked Washington if she had any documentation (presumably a court ordered legal name change or proof of gender reassignment surgery) and Washington said that she did not.  The employee then told Washington,

"We don't do transgenders here.  You have to leave."

 photo andy_bowen_zps136181b3.pngIn a separate complaint, DC Trans Coalition member Andy Bowen says a shelter employee provided details when Bowen asked for the shelter's policy in February.

The respondent stated that I would need to provide proof of a sex change.  When I asked what would constitute proof, respondent answered that I would need to furnish documents of a name change or proof of surgery.

--Bowen

Bowen said she initiated the phone call when she learned that the shelter had "a history of turning away transgender women."

John Shetterly, executive director of New Hope Ministries, said on Monday that he was looking into the allegations and would be able to provide an assessment of the shelter's actions in a few days.  

 photo Sterling_Washington_zps0057bb9c.jpgThe lawsuit states that Sterling Washington, director of the mayor's Office of LGBT Affairs contacted Shetterly via telephone on March 18 with reports that the shelter was refusing services to transgender women.

Washington told Shetterly that such action was in violation of the District of Columbia Human Rights Act which bans discrimination based on many criteria, including gender identity and expression.

Nevertheless, Mr. Shetterly did not take action to bring John L. Young into compliance with the law, and Ms. Washington suffered injury as a result.

--the lawsuit

The suit calls on the court to "[t]emporarily, preliminarily, and permanently enjoin defendant…from continuing to discriminate against transgender women."  It also asks the court to order New Hope Ministries to pay a civil penalty into the city's genderal fund and grant the plaintiff attorney's fees and other legal expenses.  A hearing was scheduled for today to consider a motion for a temporary restraining order to enjoin the Young Shelter from refusing admission to transgender women until the case is resolved.
Elliot Imse, a spokesperson for the D.C. Office of Human Rights, said the office would have to make a legal determination on whether New Hope Ministries is exempt from the Human Rights Act based on its religious status before the office can begin to review the case on the merits.
The most recent IRS 990 report, which is a form available to the public, reveals that New Hope Ministries claimed $1.25 million in revenue and said it had $918,015 in expenses. The vast majority of its revenue ($817,509) came from "government grants."  The form does not reveal the dollar amount for the Young Shelter grant.

Originally posted to TransAction on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 04:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets , Invisible People, LGBT Kos Community, and Community Spotlight.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site