Florida becomes 1st state to have federal transgender discrimination case

The owner and manager of a Polk County RV resort charged with discriminating against a transgender resident is the first person to be prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for bias based on gender identity.

According to HUD, the charges are the first since the U.S. Supreme Court expanded civil rights protections for transgender Americans with a ruling in the 2020 case known as Bostock v. Clayton County.

Before the Bostock decision, discrimination over gender identity and sexual orientation was not recognized as a Civil Rights violation in federal court.

HUD began enforcing those protections in February 2021 as they pertained to the Fair Housing Act. However, no federal legislation has been passed to explicitly include those protections, as reported by by the Hill.

Nathan Dykgraaf, the owner and manager of 21 Palms RV Resort Park in Davenport, is accused of violating the Fair Housing Act of 1968. The complaint filed by HUD alleges Dykgraaf took issue when an unnamed resident began to dress and present themselves, “as a transgender woman and began widely wearing feminine-presenting clothing in public.” Dykgraaf gave the resident a handwritten letter telling them to stop these “actions” on Jan. 13, 2021, the complaint says.

According to HUD, Dykgraaf’s letter said, “I have been informed of your actions to have your sex changed to a female, I am told you have started taking the necessary mediation and that after a period of time your change will be completed. To avoid problems you must: 1. Act as a man. 2. Talk as a man. 3. Dress as a man. 4. Avoid tight clothing that is revealing sexual organs. If you follow the above steps trouble will be avoided. Sincerely, Nathan D.”

After getting the letter, the resident “stopped fully expressing her gender identity, no longer publicly dressed as a woman” and “avoided Respondents out of fear of eviction or other trouble” while at 21 Palms following the Jan. 13, 2021 letter from the property owner, the complaint states.

On March 24, 2021, Dykgraaf reportedly wrote to HUD saying that the resident in question was “not free to engage with other tenants about her clothing and transition that makes them uncomfortable,” saying it was “considered disruptive to the community.”

The resident and their family, which included a minor child, moved from the property on Aug. 26, 2021 and filed a complaint with HUD alleging discriminatory conduct that resulted in the family suffering, “actual damages including, but not limited to emotional distress, lost housing opportunity, and out-of-pocket expenses.”

Please see the full story here: https://www.wfla.com/news/polk-county/florida-1st-state-to-have-federal-transgender-discrimination-case/