New York transgender woman arrested over restroom use
March 02 2006 1:00 AM ET
A phone repair
worker who is transitioning from male to female said
Tuesday that she was arrested three times by transit police
in the last six months for using the women's restroom
at New York's Grand Central Terminal. Helena Stone,
70, said an officer called her "a freak, a weirdo, and
the ugliest woman in the world" and warned her, "If I
ever see you in the women's bathroom, I'm going to arrest you."
"I said, 'That's the only bathroom I use,' "
Stone said at a rally and news conference. " 'That's
who I am.' "
Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman
Tom Kelly said later that the charges against Stone
would be dropped and the matter had been resolved.
"There is an investigation into how this took place, and we
will take whatever steps are necessary to avoid a similar
situation in the future," Kelly said.
Stone's lawyer, Michael Silverman of the
Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, said he
was not aware of the decision to drop the charges
against Stone but that he welcomed it. "We're delighted to
hear the offer," said Silverman, who joined Stone and
about 20 supporters across from Grand Central on 42nd Street.
Stone said she has worked for Verizon and its
predecessor for 37 years and has been undergoing
the transition from male to female for about 10
years. In August of last year she was assigned to repair the
pay phones at Grand Central, where, she said,
harassment by MTA officers "started slowly and began
She was arrested on disorderly conduct charges
on September 29, December 17, and January 12. The
arrests occurred as she tried to use the women's
restrooms at the station, she said, and since then she has
been forced to use a cup in her office, which has no bathroom.
Silverman said he had filed complaints on
Stone's behalf with the MTA police and with the city
Commission on Human Rights, whose guidelines say that
restrooms must be available to transgender people
"consistent with their gender identity or gender