Hispanic AIDS Forum Files Suit After Being ‘Forced’ to Relocate
The New York-based Hispanic AIDS Forum on Tuesday filed a discrimination lawsuit against a former landlord, arguing that the landlord refused to renew the group's lease when it rejected the "ultimatum" that transgendered women clients use a men's bathroom, Newsday reports. The suit, filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, contends that the "force[d]" move caused the group to spend money for relocation and new equipment that otherwise could have been used for client services. In addition, the new office in Woodside, Queens, is a less-convenient location for Latinos with HIV/AIDS than the previous Jackson Heights, Queens, location, the lawsuit said. The Hispanic AIDS Forum counsels HIV-positive patients and transgendered people who do not have HIV/AIDS. New York Association of Gender Rights Advocacy Coordinator Pauline Park said that forcing transgendered women to use the men's bathroom during counseling sessions is a safety threat, as these women face harassment and physical and sexual assault in men's bathrooms. "It happens all the time in homeless shelters where transgendered women are forced to locate in men's shelters and are harassed and assaulted by the other residents and in some cases even by staff," she added. At a press conference on Tuesday, group advocates said that they "hope to curb discrimination against those whose gender identity differs from their anatomical sex at birth." ACLU Attorney Tamara Lange said, "The impact that we're seeking is that everyone will realize that they need to accomodate transgendered people and not draw strict gender boundaries that require people to go into a situation that's unsafe for them, that makes them feel terribly uncomfortable, or that makes other people feel terribly uncomfortable" (Lowe, Newsday, 6/27).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.