Mayor starts transgenderjob training program
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has directed the city’sDepartment of Employment Services to begin a ﬁrst-of-its-kind pilot program speciﬁcally directed towardmembers of the transgender community for job trainingand job placement.Gray disclosed plans for the program at an Aug.4 meeting he hosted with representatives of thetransgender community. Ofﬁcials with several cityagencies also attended the meeting.“The Department of Employment Services willrun a pilot of their transitional employment programtargeting members of the transgender community,”said Jeffrey Richardson, director of the Mayor’s Ofﬁceof GLBT Affairs, who attended the meeting. “Theprogram includes six weeks of training coupled withsubsidized paid employment.”Richardson was referring to an existing program thattrains city residents for jobs and reimburses employersparticipating in the program for part of the salary of theemployee accepted in the program.Transgender activist Jeri Hughes, who requestedthe meeting with the mayor, submitted proposals inadvance of the meeting calling on the city to moreaggressively address chronic unemployment amongtransgender residents, especially young transgenderwomen.Hughes and other transgender activists have saidcity employers were turning away qualiﬁed transgenderapplicants for entry-level jobs in violation of the city’sHuman Rights Act, which bans discrimination based ongender identity as well as sexual orientation.“I’m very thankful that the mayor agreed to dothis,” Hughes said. “The bottom line is we didn’t geteverything we asked for, but we’re getting there.”Hughes said Gray didn’t make a commitment ona request by transgender activists that he direct theDepartment of Employment Services, the Ofﬁceof Human Rights, and the Ofﬁce of GLBT Affairs tohire at least one transgender person or a personknowledgeable of transgender issues to serve as a full-time coordinator of transgender related matters.Richardson said Gray made a commitment toexpand the city’s diversity training for all city employeesto include speciﬁc training related to “transgendercultural competency.”Gray agreed to hold a follow-up meeting withtransgender activists in 30 days to discuss the progressof the proposals that emerged from the Aug. 4 meeting,Richardson said.
LOU CHIBBARO JR.
Lesbian ﬁles bias complaintagainst Silver Spring diner
A lesbian from Laurel, Md., has ﬁled a complaintwith the Montgomery County Ofﬁce of Human Rightsaccusing the Tastee Diner in Silver Spring, Md., of discrimination for allegedly asking her to leave theestablishment because of her sexual orientation.The complaint ﬁled by Angel Cox comes two yearsafter a lesbian couple ﬁled a similar complaint againstTastee Diner, saying a manager asked them to leavebecause they were displaying too much affection for afamily-oriented restaurant.The two women, Aiyi’nah Ford and Torian Brown,said they were merely leaning against one anotherand displayed much less physical affection thanheterosexual couples at the diner who were not askedto leave. Ford noted that the dispute occurred about 2a.m. on a weekend evening.Cox’s complaint, which was accepted by the HumanRights Ofﬁce on Aug. 2, says several of the diner’smanagers entered the dining room and began to stareat Cox and her female partner as the two women sat ata table at Tastee Diner on July 16.“I asked one of the other waitresses why themanagers were starring at us and she said, “They don’tlike our kind here,’” Cox says in her complaint.Cox states that her partner, who works at the diner,left the table to begin her shift and Cox ordered morefood before moving to a different location to use one of the slot machines at the diner.“After ﬁnishing desert, I played poker on the slotmachine again,” she said. “The manager of therestaurant, a man named Romanee, came over to meand asked me to leave the restaurant. I was not toldwhy I was asked to leave,” she wrote in her complaint.“I believe that it was because of my sexual orientation.”John Littleton, general manager of Tastee Diner, toldthe Blade on Wednesday that the diner had not beencontacted by the Montgomery County Human RightsOfﬁce about the complaint. He said he would talk toRomanee, the manager that Cox mentioned in hercomplaint, to obtain his version of what happened.“I clearly state that we don’t discriminate againstanybody in any way,” Littleton said. “She’s welcome tocome down here and talk to myself or Romanee, andI’m looking into the situation,” he said.Esther Greene, the intake ofﬁcer at the Ofﬁceof Human Rights who signed a copy of Cox’scomplaint, couldn’t be immediately reached todetermine why Tastee Diner hadn’t been notiﬁedabout the complaint.Ford said she and Brown decided drop theirdiscrimination complaint against Tastee Diner shortlyafter they ﬁled it two years ago.
LOU CHIBBARO JR.
Teen pleads guilty tobeating trans woman
A 19-year-old woman who was charged with theApril 18 beating of a transgender woman inside aMcDonald’s restaurant in a Baltimore suburb pleadedguilty last week to one count each of ﬁrst-degreeassault and a hate crime.The incident drew international attention after abystander captured the attack on video and posted itonline, where it went viral.The video shows Teonna Monae Brown and a 14-year-old female, whom authorities have not identiﬁed,repeatedly punching and kicking Chrissy Polis, 22,in the head and body while dragging her by her hairacross the ﬂoor of the restaurant.Police said the incident started when Brown gotangry after seeing Polis enter the women’s bathroom atthe restaurant and began shouting derogatory remarksabout Polis’ gender identity. Police and witnesses saidBrown and the juvenile then started the assault.In a statement released on Thursday, BaltimoreCounty State’s Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger said hisofﬁce will ask for a “sentence of 10 years, with ﬁve yearssuspended, and ﬁve years to serve in jail.”A sentencing date had not been announced as of late this week.“On July 1, 2011, a juvenile co-defendant whoparticipated in this crime admitted responsibility to aﬁrst-degree assault and a hate crime,” the statementsays. “The juvenile was found delinquent and has beencommitted to a secure juvenile facility.”Shellenberger didn’t disclose how long the juvenilewould be required to stay at the juvenile facility.
LOU CHIBBARO JR.
Settlement reached inRobert Wone civil case
Three gay men named as defendants in a $20million wrongful death lawsuit over the 2006 murder of attorney Robert Wone inside their Dupont Circle areatownhouse have agreed to an out-of-court settlementin the case with Wone’s widow, who ﬁled the suit.A statement released last week by attorneysrepresenting Kathy Wone says defendants JosephPrice, Victor Zaborsky, and Dylan Ward “have agreedto a monetary settlement, including payments to theRobert E. Wone Memorial Trust.”The statement doesn’t disclose the amount of moneythe defendants agreed to pay Mrs. Wone. It says shewill use some of the money to advance the causes herhusband believed in, including college scholarshipsand free legal services to people in need.Attorneys representing Price, Zaborsky, and Ward— and the men themselves — couldn’t be reached forcomment.“A central purpose of this civil lawsuit has alwaysbeen to uncover as many facts as possible about thecircumstances surrounding Robert’s death,” says thestatement from Kathy Wone’s attorneys, Benjamin Raziand Patrick Regan.“Our extensive discovery efforts included detailedquestioning under oath of each defendant,” thestatement says. “In their deposition testimony, andin written discovery responses, none of them deniedresponsibility for Robert’s death. Instead, each refusedto respond on Fifth Amendment grounds.”The statement says the three defendants made itclear that they would invoke the Fifth Amendment at atrial, which had been scheduled for later this year.In an interview with the Washington Post before herattorney’s released their ofﬁcial announcement of thesettlement, Kathy Wone said she remains convincedthat the three men were involved in her husband’smurder.“They can rot from the inside out from all the secretsthey chose to keep,” she told the Post. “That’s theirchoice. I chose to move on.”
LOU CHIBBARO JR.washingtonblade.com
02 • AUGUST 12, 2011LOCAL NEWS IN BRIEF