The complaints were filed on the behalf of the city by its Law Enforcement Bureau after proactive testing was completed in response to reports of instances of discrimination from transgender individuals. The centers named in the complaint include the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center (Brooklyn), Addicts Rehabilitation Center (Manhattan), Promesa Residential Health Care Facility (Bronx), and the Thomas and Marie White Health Center (Queens).
The commission began testing the treatment centers for discriminatory practices and approached more than a dozen substance abuse facilities to inquire whether they accepted transgender patients and where they would be housed. The four centers listed in the complaint failed, with one facility saying outright that they did not accept transgender clients. The other three indicated that transgender women would have to be housed with men. One representative indicated housing assignments would be determined by how far along a person is in their transition. Testers were also advised that physical examinations would be performed to determine if a person is on hormones or if they had surgery. In other instances they were told that transgender people would be segregated.
“TRANSGENDER AND GENDER NON-CONFORMING INDIVIDUALS DESERVE TO BE TREATED WITH RESPECT AND DIGNITY WHEN RECEIVING HEALTH SERVICES, JUST LIKE ANYONE ELSE.” – CHIRLANE MCCRAY
“The last thing New Yorkers battling addiction, depression, or any mental health challenges need is discrimination and harassment at the door,” said New York City’s First Lady Chirlane McCray, who leads the city’s mental health and substance misuse efforts. “Transgender and gender non-conforming individuals deserve to be treated with respect and dignity when receiving health services, just like anyone else. I am proud to live in a city that fights for transgender rights and look forward to further strengthening anti-discrimination protections for all New Yorkers.”
Discrimination based on gender identity has been illegal in New York City since 2002, when gender identity was ruled as a protected class under the NYC Human Rights Law.
“People seeking drug treatment are being turned away simply because they’re transgender,” said Noah Lewis of Transcend Legal who flagged the issue. “That’s unacceptable. Transgender people are disproportionately discriminated against in their daily lives, at their jobs, in restaurants, and on the street. Enough is enough. No one seeking treatment for drug use should be met with discrimination or harassment, and I’m glad the Commission is taking action so that people seeking treatment can get the help they need.”