ACLU Blasts the New York Post and the New York Daily News for Poor Reporting on the Hispanic AIDS Forum Transgender Discrimination Case

April 1, 2005 12:00 am


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Contact: media@aclu.org

NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union sent letters-to-the-editor yesterday criticizing the New York Post and the New York Daily News for their insensitive treatment of transgender people in articles about a recent court ruling in its lawsuit on behalf of the Hispanic AIDS Forum.

A copy of the letters submitted as well as links to the news stories follow. More information on the case is online at: /cpredirect/12170.

To the editor of the New York Post:

As the legal organization that brought the case against the Queens landlord that evicted the Hispanic AIDS Forum (HAF) because of its transgender clients, we were very disappointed by your reporting on the recent New York appeals court decision in the case (“Judges uphold Bathroom Ban on Girlie-Men,” March 31, 2005.)

As a news organization purporting to present the news in an unbiased manner, it is difficult to understand how you could possibly justify using the term “Girlie-Men” to describe the many transgender people affected by this decision. HAF was evicted because its landlord said its clients were using the “wrong” restroom and refused to even negotiate over what restroom they could use. As a result, HAF had to leave Jackson Heights, hindering its ability to help people with HIV/AIDS.

Since this case was filed, the New York City Council has added transgender people to those covered by New York’s civil rights laws. It is now crystal clear that transgender people are protected from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations, which includes restrooms. This is something your readers might be interested to know, especially considering your disrespectful and careless reporting.

Sincerely,
Matt Coles
Director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Lesbian and Gay Rights Project

http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/22887.htm

To the editor of the New York Daily News:

We’re the lawyers for the Hispanic AIDS Forum (HAF) in its transgender discrimination lawsuit you reported about in your March 31st article “Judges slam ladies-room door on drag queens.” While the content of your story was accurate, the headline and opening made light of the serious discrimination many transgender people face in New York.

This case is not about “drag queens” and bathrooms. HAF was evicted because its landlord said its clients were using the “wrong” restroom and refused to even negotiate over what restroom they could use. As a result, HAF had to leave Jackson Heights, hindering its ability to help people with HIV/AIDS.

Since this case was filed, the New York City Council expanded city civil rights protections for transgender people, making it clear that discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations – including restrooms – is no laughing matter.

Sincerely,
Matt Coles
Director of the American Civil Liberty Union’s Lesbian and Gay Rights Project

http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/295154p-252687c.html.

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