Settlement Reached in Transgender Man’s Lawsuit Against New York City Parks Department Over Discriminatory Incident at Staten Island Pool

November 13, 2015 – TLDEF announces a settlement in its lawsuit against the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation on behalf of Bryan Ellicott, a 26-year-old transgender man who was barred from using the men’s locker room at the Joseph H. Lyons Pool in Staten Island in the summer of 2013.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the Parks Department has agreed to enforce its policy “not to discriminate against visitors to Parks and Recreation facilities on the basis of gender identity,” and to “allow visitors to Parks and Recreation facilities to access segregated areas (such as restrooms and locker rooms) according to the visitor’s gender identity[.]” The Department will also provide training to its employees on this policy.

In addition, the City has agreed to pay Mr. Ellicott $10,000 in settlement of his claims.

Statement from TLDEF Executive Director Michael Silverman

“We are pleased to resolve this case on Bryan’s behalf. All New Yorkers must have equal access to public facilities. Under the New York City Human Rights Law, transgender people cannot be denied the use of restrooms and locker rooms just because of who they are.

“This settlement comes on the heels of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive action to protect transgender New Yorkers statewide through proposed regulations that would ban discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and credit. These moves signal a positive turning point in transforming New York into a state where transgender people are finally treated fairly under the law. The changes are long overdue.”

Statement from Bryan Ellicott

“What happened to me happens to many transgender people when they try to use bathrooms and locker rooms. This discrimination severely restricts the ability of transgender people to fully participate in society. This settlement makes clear that discrimination against transgender people is prohibited at New York City Parks and Recreation facilities. Being able to use a bathroom or locker room without harassment is essential and I am glad to resolve this case.”

Carmine Boccuzzi, Sharon Barbour, Arnaldo Bernardi, Alexandra Eber, Melissa Gohlke, and Michael Noveck of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP were pro bonoco-counsel for Bryan with TLDEF. We are grateful for their assistance.

 

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