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Transgender woman
wins settlement against New York agency

Transgender woman
wins settlement against New York agency

A 20-year-old transgender woman has won a settlement in a discrimination lawsuit that claimed she was denied hormonal drugs while living at a New York juvenile facility. Alyssa Rodriguez alleged she was deprived of her prescriptive hormone medication and punished for her feminine hairstyle and other ways of expressing her gender, according to the gay advocacy group Lambda Legal.

Lambda Legal and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project worked in conjunction to represent Rodriguez. They filed the complaint in January 2006.

The suit, which was filed against the Office of Children and Family Services, claimed Rodriguez's hormone deprivation sent her into withdrawal, caused health complications, and induced emotional distress, Lambda Legal officials said in a statement released Wednesday. She had been taking the drugs for years prior to her arrival at the facility.

As part of the settlement, the OCFS agreed to work with both organizations to evaluate its policies about transgender youths. OCFS has since designated two facilities for transgender youths and is educating its staff about transgender care issues. The plaintiff also received $25,000 through the settlement.

Rudy Estrada, a staff attorney for Lambda Legal's Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project, said in a statement that Rodriguez is hopeful that no other transgender youths will have to suffer the way she did.

"We look forward to working with OCFS moving forward to give it all the information it needs to care for the transgender youth in its custody," Estrada said. (The Advocate)

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