A transgender man is claiming that workers at a city pool in Staten Island forced him to leave a men’s locker room, leaving him humiliated and afraid of using public bathrooms.
In a lawsuit announced yesterday against the Parks Department, Bryan John Ellicott said the July 21 incident at the Lyons Pool led him to wait “long periods of time” before using public restrooms. As a result, Ellicott said, he has suffered “several” urinary tract infections.
Ellicott also alleged the experience has caused him increased anxiety about “being perceived as transgender” and “exacerbated his dislike of his breasts,” according to the complaint. He has also avoided public pools.
In the lawsuit, Ellicott, 24, claims the actions of the agency’s employees violated the city’s Human Rights Law. The law prohibits discrimination based on gender, gender identity, self-image or expression.
The city’s Law Department said it would review the lawsuit after it had been served.
The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund and firm Cleary Gottlieb are representing Ellicott.
Michael Silverman, executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, said that Ellicott’s experience was not unusual.
“What happened to Bryan happens to transgender people in the city on a daily basis,” he said. “It happens in public places run by the city and it happens in private places.”
The city’s Commission on Human Rights has issued guidelines saying that prohibiting individuals from using sex-segregated locker rooms or bathrooms “consistent with their gender identity or gender expression” might be considered discriminatory.
However, the Human Rights Commission also recommended that public facilities where nudity is unavoidable "create private spaces" within locker rooms, for instance with curtains.