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Transgendered Win Case Against N.Y. Transit Authority

By Sara Stefanini

NEW YORK  --  Transgendered New Yorkers won the right to use any restroom they choose at
Metropolitan Transportation Authority stations after a lawsuit was settled between a New
York woman and the agency.

The agreement Monday came as advocates prepare to tackle the same issue with the Port
Authority, whose police advocates say they arrested three transgender women for using the
women's restroom earlier this month.

The MTA agreed to pay $2,000 in damages to Helena Stone, formerly known as Henry
McGuinness. Stone, a longtime Verizon telephone technician, was arrested three times in
late 2005 and early 2006 after using women's restrooms at Grand Central Terminal, where
she was assigned to repair pay phones.

"I'm thrilled with it," said Stone, who began hormone replacement therapy 11 years
ago. "It's like the world was lifted off my shoulders after a few months of hell."

Transit police charged her with disorderly conduct. She said the officers verbally
abused her after she presented a man's work credentials. The charges were dropped after a
protest in March.

As part of the agreement, the MTA will also sponsor a transgender sensitivity training
program for employees, said Michael Silverman, an attorney for the Transgender Legal
Defense and Education Fund. Silverman filed the complaint with the city Commission on
Human Rights.

Both Silverman and Stone said they were satisfied with the terms. The $2,000 will
reimburse Stone for her criminal defense, and the new policy should put an end to the
harassment, Silverman said, noting that people aren't required by law to use specific

An MTA spokesman confirmed the terms but would not comment.

Silverman is now considering bringing a complaint or civil suit against the Port
Authority. Three transgender women were arrested at the Port Authority Bus Terminal Oct. 3
and charged with trespassing, said Kate Barnhart, manager of Sylvia's Place, a shelter for
gay, bisexual and transgender youth, where the women were clients.

A spokesman for the Port Authority said it was looking into the case.


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