In Transit

Housing Works opens talks with the Transit Authority about its transgender sensitivity policies

Ride to work...
or discrimination?

When a team from Housing Works met last week with MTA director for policy and media relations, Ernest Tollerson, he may not have been the most responsive guy in the world. But at least he was there.

Charles King, Housing Works' president and CEO; Diana Oliva, a social worker; and Lynne Walker, director of the Transgender Transitional Housing Program, got together with Tollerson and two lawyers from MTA/New York City Transit Authority at the MTA's Manhattan headquarters. The encounter was a result of a raucous protest outside that very building three weeks prior which sought to bring much-needed attention to the case of transgender Housing Works staffer Tracy Bumpus. (See article in 2/2 issue of the Update.)

Housing Works is suing an MTA employee who, last summer, subjected Bumpus to vicious homophobic and transphobic epithets, thereby violating her protected human rights. Housing Works is also suing the NYCTA for failing to properly train and supervise its employees.

Much was learned at the meeting, during which King expressed Housing Works' profound dismay about what happened to Bumpus and asked the MTA to take the steps necessary to preventing further transgender discrimination. (The details of the lawsuit were not discussed.) Tollerson, who was cordial if occasionally dismissive, revealed that the MTA had begun administrative proceedings against the transit worker who verbally attacked Bumpus. Richard Schoolman, one of the attorneys, explained that MTA police do get transgender sensitivity training, and said he would look into extending such trainings to all its front-line workers....


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