News » Local

Transgender legal group celebrates third anniversary

by Michael K. Lavers

National News Editor

Wednesday June 11, 2008

More than 150 people turned out at the Ritz in Hell's Kitchen on Tuesday, June 10, to celebrate the third anniversary of the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund. Founded in 2005, the New York-based organization seeks to end discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression.

TLDEF recently represented Khadijah Farmer, a lesbian who was kicked out of the women's restroom at Caliente Cab Co. in the West Village after last June's LGBT Pride parade. She said a male bouncer burst into the bathroom and demanded she leave after he deemed her too masculine. TLDEF and Farmer reached a settlement with the popular eatery last month that awarded her $35,000 and set into place a variety of sensitivity trainings and policy changes.

TLDEF also represented Helena Stone, a trans woman repeatedly arrested inside Grand Central Terminal for using the women's restroom in 2005 and 2006. The organization reached a settlement with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in October 2006 that awarded Stone $2,000 in damages to cover legal fees. The MTA also agreed to allow trans people to restrooms on the property that are "consistent with their gender expression."

Log onto Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund for more information.

Based in Washington, D.C., Michael K. Lavers has appeared in the New York Times, BBC, WNYC, Huffington Post, Village Voice, Advocate and other mainstream and LGBT media outlets. He is an unapologetic political junkie who thoroughly enjoys living inside the Beltway.