Salvation Army rehab centre faces charges for rejecting vulnerable transgender people
A substance abuse center that refused to serve transgender people is one of four facing action in New York over discriminatory policies.
The NYC Commission on Human Rights this week filed four complaints against substance abuse centers across the City for discriminatory policies involving the intake of transgender patients.
The complaints, filed on behalf of the City, come after the Commission investigated reports of discrimination from advocates.
Following tips from the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, the Commission began testing substance abuse centers for discriminatory practices.
The Commission’s testers approached more than a dozen substance abuse centers citywide to inquire whether the centers accepted transgender patients for treatment and where those patients would be housed.
The Commission found that one center outright refused to accept transgender patients, telling a Commission tester that “no, we don’t [accept transgender patients].”
Representatives at other centers told Commission testers that transgender women would be housed according to their gender assigned at birth, in violation of gender identity protections under the NYC Human Rights Law.
One representative said that “people with moving male parts would be housed with men,” while another said “it depends on how far along the person is in the process.” Representatives also said that they perform physical examinations on transgender patients to determine whether they are on hormone medication or have had surgery.
It has been illegal in New York City to discriminate against individuals based on their gender identity since 2002, when the New York City Council passed legislation to include gender identity as a protected class under the NYC Human Rights Law.
The rehab centres could face fines of up to $250,000 over discriminatory practises.
Noah Lewis of the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund had made the tip, after hearing of transgender people being turned away from the centers.
He said: “People seeking drug treatment are being turned away simply because they’re transgender. That’s unacceptable.
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