Transgender Man Sues Over Pool Discrimination

     (CN) – Pool employees in Staten Island kicked a transgender man out of the men’s locker room and told him he could either use the women’s facilities or leave, the man claims in court.
     In his lawsuit in New York County Supreme Court, Bryan Ellicott claims he “felt upset, embarrassed, and stigmatized by being singled out” when Lyons Pool employees told him he couldn’t change his shirt in the men’s locker room.
     The 24-year-old has been living as a man since February 2012, when he had his name legally changed and began hormone therapy, according to the complaint.
     He says he chose the name Bryan in honor of his late father, Lt. Brian Ellicott, an emergency medical technician for New York City’s Fire Department and a first responder to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
     Ellicott says he’s had his name and designated sex changed on other records, including his New York driver’s license.
     Though born female, Ellicott says he “has a longstanding, innate sense of being male.” He was diagnosed with gender dysphoria, meaning he views himself as male though he is biologically female.
     “He has an appearance, including facial and body hair, traditionally considered male,” according to the lawsuit. “In social situations, others recognize and interact with him as male, including using male pronouns to refer to him.”
     He claims a key part of his treatment for gender dysphoria is “living openly as a man.”
     But when he attempted to change his shirt in the men’s locker room at Lyons Pool on July 21, 2013, he says an employee “said something to the effect of ‘Hey, you need to leave,’ because ‘someone complained about someone being in the locker room who doesn’t belong here.”
     Ellicott notes that he was wearing swim trunks and a chest-compression garment, or binder, at all times.
     The employee told him to use the women’s locker room or leave, a view reiterated by a second employee, Ellicott claims.
     When he complained, he says their supervisor “appeared uninterested in the matter, and told Mr. Ellicott something to the effect of, ‘if you don’t like it, you can leave.'”
     “Mr. Ellicott did not want to, nor realistically could he, use facilities designated for women, and felt upset, embarrassed, and stigmatized by being singled out by Parks Department employees,” the lawsuit states. “He left Lyons Pool.”
     He claims he avoided city pools all last summer, fearing additional “embarrassment, humiliation and degradation” by the defendants. He also grew anxious about using public restrooms and developed “several urinary tract infections” from waiting too long, according to the lawsuit.
     Ellicott says he now wears his chest binder for longer periods of time, as the experience at Lyons Pool “has exacerbated his dislike of his breasts.” He says he wants to have a double mastectomy but can’t afford one.
     He is suing New York City, the parks and recreation department and its acting commissioner, Liam Kavanagh, for alleged violations of the city’s human rights law.
     He seeks unspecified damages and a court order barring the department or its employees from discriminating against other transgender individuals.
     His attorney is Carmine Boccuzzi of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in Manhattan.

%d bloggers like this: