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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Transgender bias at Thruway -- Page 1 -- Times Union - Albany NY

The Albany Times-Union has reported on a recent court case involving discrimination against a transgender woman who was subjected to harassment and fired by the New York State Thruway Authority. She has been awarded more than $55,000 for her ordeal. She is still seeking reinstatement to her job.

A judge with the state Division of Human Rights has issued an order sustaining a complaint by Mackenzie W. Valentine, 29, a former Army dispatcher and military police officer from Cohoes who was diagnosed with gender identity disorder and underwent a court-approved gender change several years ago. The transformation took place around the time that Valentine, who changed her name from "Matthew Valentine," began working for the Thruway Authority in Albany as a $15.30-an-hour dispatcher.

This is particularly interesting because New York State does not have a law prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity, though it has had a law against sexual orientation discrimination since 2002. Governor Patterson only recently announced that gender identity would be included in the state's nondiscrimination policy that affects state workers. It is unclear from this story whether that recent policy is involved in the case, though that would seem unlikely since the events involved in the report appear to have taken place before the policy was put in place. There have been court opinions in New York since the 90s finding that transgender discrimination is illegal under statutes prohibiting sex discrimination and disability discrimination. It would be interesting to find out upon what statutes the plaintiff's attorneys were relying.

Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=886828#ixzz0cU1fKKqh

Transgender bias at Thruway -- Page 1 -- Times Union - Albany NY

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