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    Wednesday, March 01, 2006

    Helena Stone Against the MTA


    Article here:

    A 70-year-old transgender woman who says she was arrested three times for using the women's restroom at Grand Central Terminal said she will file a complaint against MTA police with the city.

    "The men's room is not safe for me," Helena Stone said at a news conference Tuesday. "People yell at me to get out of there. I never had an issue in the women's room before the police started harassing me."

    Stone, a soft-spoken pay telephone repair technician who works in Grand Central, was named Henry McGuinness at birth. She has been transitioning to a woman during the past decade and, with her makeup and women's clothing, appears outwardly feminine.

    Stone said MTA police berated her on numerous occasions, calling her "a freak, a weirdo and the ugliest woman in the world."

    She was arrested in September on disorderly conduct charges stemming from using the women's restroom. The same officer reportedly arrested her again in December. The following month, three MTA police officers entered the women's room, searched Stone, told her she didn't belong there and arrested her again, she said.

    "Using the bathroom is one of the most intimate and personal experiences someone has in the course of their day," said Stone's lawyer, Michael Silverman of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund. "We stand with Helena against bigotry, and will fight for her right to use a restroom consistent with her gender identity and persona."

    The New York City Human Rights law safeguards the right of transgender people to use the restroom that most closely matches their gender identity, Silverman said.

    The MTA said that all charges against her had been dropped, and that the circumstances surrounding her arrest are being investigated.

    "The situation has been resolved," said MTA spokeswoman Mercedes Padilla.

    Silverman said the MTA has not responded to a complaint he filed on Stone's behalf a month ago. He added that "all options remain on the table," including a lawsuit, and suggested that any settlement must include mandatory sensitivity training for MTA officers.


    If you're interested, you can see video on this site from the rally. Be warned, it is titled "Transvestite Rally" and requires Windows MediaPlayer. (It's AMNew York. You get what you pay for.)

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