Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Trans woman with disability fights to use indoor pool's women's locker room

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that a disabled trans woman has filed a gender discrimination complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission following the insistence of city officials in Cleveland that she change her clothes in the men's locker room of the indoor pool at Cudell Recreation Center. According to the report, Karen Deamons, 53, who uses a wheelchair since suffering three strokes in 2003 and 2004 , used to change in the private stall of the women's locker room without conflict. However, after about five months, a few women complained they felt uncomfortable. After meeting with city officials and telling them she has not had sex reassignment surgery, she has been required to change her clothes in the men's locker room. According to Ms Deamons, a doctor has told her she must swim in order to help keep her left arm and leg mobile. Moreover, she is reliant upon public transport and Cudell is the most convenient pool from her Cleveland home. Ms Deamons, who cannot switch to another city pool because the mandate applies to all them, and who cannot afford to join a private club, is also fearful she will be beaten by gangs when they see her coming out of the men's room. "I want the city to let me go through the ladies room as a normal woman," she said.