Feds Sue Texas RV Park for Transgender Discrimination
The federal government is suing a Texas recreational vehicle park for allegedly discriminating against a transgender woman.
The Houston Chronicle reports that U.S. attorney general Eric Holder filed the suit against In Toone Services, which had evicted Roxanne Joganik and her female partner, Darlina Anthony, August 18, 2012. The couple had been residing in the Texas RV Park in Athens, Texas, for more than a year.
“They said they weren’t going to have my kind living in the park,” Joganik told the blog The Rare Reporter, referring to owners George and Amy Toone.
Joganik filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, alleging that the company had violated the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled in 2012 that federal laws against sex discrimination prohibit bias against transgender people.
According to the original complaint, written by Natalie Chin of Lambda Legal, Joganik had been living in the park since April 2011 on a month-to-month lease. In Toone took over the lot in May 2012 and prohibited Joganik from wearing female clothing in the park's common grounds on the basis that there could be "children around the pool."
The company then tried to force the transgender woman and her partner to sign a new agreement that did not include protections against sex discrimination. When Joganik refused, In Toone began eviction proceedings. Joganik said she volunteered to leave the park if her partner could stay, but the company refused to allow Anthony to reside there either.
“He told me that he didn’t like my kind either,” Anthony said.
In Toone denied the allegations of discrimination, claiming the Fair Housing Act did not apply to the couple's RV, as it "did not constitute a dwelling." They said the couple were evicted for killing wildlife and disturbing the other residents.
In Toone can be fined up to $16,000 if the discrimination charge is upheld.