Transgender man removed from public pool locker room, sues

| March 7, 2017

A transgender man is suing New York City after he was asked to leave the men’s locker room of a public pool last July, reports Gothamist. Bryan Ellicot, a 24-year-old who is undergoing hormone therapy and who has identified as a man for the last two years, used a public pool locker room in Staten Island, NY, on July 21, 2013. Because he cannot afford a  double mastectomy, a costly procedure, Ellicott dons a binder over his chest, reports Gothamist, to compress his chest and “appear more masculine.” In the locker room, Ellicott was wearing swim trunks under his jeans, as well as the chest binder and a t-shirt.

After Ellicott entered the locker room, he took off his jeans and left his belongings in a locker. About 30 minutes later, after spending time in the sun, he returned to switch his black t-shirt for a white t-shirt, as pool rules specified that only white tees are to be worn in the pool. Ellicott returned to the locker room to change, where a Parks Department employee told him that another pool guest had complained about him being in the men’s room. He was told he needed to use the women’s locker room.


The man was asked to use the women’s locker room or leave the facilities. From amboo who?

Though Ellicott asked to speak to a supervisor, he was approached by two more male Parks Department workers who didn’t give their names or job titles. The workers informed Ellicott multiple times that he had to either leave the pool or use the women’s locker room. As the Huffington Post reports, Ellicott’s lawsuit claims that “the two Parks workers were ‘hostile’ to Ellicott, and when their supervisor arrived on the scene, he told Ellicott something to the effect of ‘if you don’t like it, you can leave.’” Ellicott decided to leave.

In a statement, Ellicott said, “Like hundreds of other New Yorkers that day, I was just trying get some relief from the sweltering heat and enjoy an afternoon at the pool,” he said. “Instead, I was singled out by pool staff because I am transgender. They harassed and humiliated me. No one deserves to be treated that way, but it’s an all-too-common experience for transgender people like me when we use restrooms and locker rooms.”

The lawsuit was filed by The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF), and pro bono co-counsel Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. The case hopes to have a New York court find that refusing transgender people access to their choice of restrooms or locker rooms breaches the New York City Human Rights Law.

Michael Silverman, TLDEF Executive Director, said in a statement, “What happened to Bryan happens to many transgender people when they use restrooms and locker rooms. Incidents like this one severely restrict the ability of transgender people to fully participate in society. Being able to use a restroom without harassment and discrimination is essential to being able to do things like work or use public places.”

For the City’s part, a New York City Law Department spokesperson informed The Huffington Post that the department will “review the lawsuit once they are served.”

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Category: Restrooms

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