Outraged after a 70-year-old transgender woman was arrested by Metropolitan Transportation Authority police for using a Grand Central Station women’s bathroom, New York transgender activists and allies are staging a rally on her behalf.
Prior to her arrest on January 12 for disorderly conduct, Helena Stone, who works in an office in Grand Central, had been repeatedly subjected to “name-calling and physical intimidation” by MTA police, said Irene Tung, a coordinator for Make the Road by Walking, a New York Citybased social justice community organization. “A few members of the police force have it in for [Stone],” Tung said.
Stone has been jailed twice before by Grand Central MTA police, with both incidents stemming from antitransgender harassment by officers, said Michael Silverman, executive director and general counsel of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, which along with Make the Road, is assisting Stone. “There seems to be a vendetta situation with the police,” Silverman told Advocate.com.
Stone and the two groups are not currently seeking legal damages from police, but Silverman said that “nothing is off the table.”
“Our primary goal is ensuring [Stone] can go to work in peace,” Silverman said. Stone is currently back at work but not using any Grand Central restrooms, according to Silverman.
Stone and the two groups want an apology from police, sensitivity training for officers, and a change in MTA policy that would allow transgender people to use their preferred bathroom.
These requests will be verbalized during a rally Tuesday morning in front of Grand Central Terminal, where Stone, transgender activists, and other invited guests will speak out for the fair treatment of transgender men and women. (Advocate.com)