The following is the general gist of my 2007 complaint to the Seattle Civil Rights Commission regarding Hammond House Women’s shelter and MTF harassing women. The commission censored references to gender and then dismissed the complaint. Other stories were also included in the original complaint to present a scope of the problem. All of the following events occurred within a 6 month time span.
The complaint came about as the result of an ordinance passed by the City of Seattle requiring people to refer to transgenders by their chosen gender and to treat them as such. This means that men are being housed in women’s shelters, often these shelters have open dormatories with limited options for space for changing clothing and a limited time to get it done and out the door least we be locked out the next night.
- Pre-Op Thiesen at Cascade: Thiesen at Hammond: When I transferred to Hammond House, I was aware that there was a group of about 6-10 MTF there that either lived there or came by for meals. Because the facility was an open dormatory I wanted to send a strong message for them to keep a distance from me so I was intentionally rude to Thiesen. The night I arrived she made a bee line for me remarking, “you wish I was looking up your skirt.” When she announced that there was mail for me, I took her olive branch and snapped it, “my mail is none of your god damn business” she said, “Cascade told me to tell you so it is my business…. You’re just mad cause i chose Laurie over you! You want it and you know it!” I reported her for sexual harassment but they would not accept the report unless I re-wrote the gender pronouns to female. While I argued with staff, Thiesen threatened that she would report the shelter to the Seattle Civil Rights commission. The staff person phoned the LGBT coordinator who gave the order to throw me out. I was thrown out on December 27th at 11:30 pm.
- Pre-Op Thiesen at Hammond: When I transferred to Hammond House, I was aware that there was a group of about 6-10 MTF there that either lived there or came by for meals. Because the facility was an open dormatory I wanted to send a strong message for them to keep a distance from me so I was intentionally rude to Thiesen. The night I arrived she made a bee line for me remarking, “you wish I was looking up your skirt.” When she announced that there was mail for me, I took her olive branch and snapped it, “my mail is none of your god damn business” she said, “Cascade told me to tell you so it is my business…. You’re just mad cause i chose Laurie over you! You want it and you know it!” I reported her for sexual harassment but they would not accept the report unless I re-wrote the gender pronouns to female. While I argued with staff, Thiesen threatened that she would report the shelter to the Seattle Civil Rights commission. The staff person phoned the LGBT coordinator who gave the order to throw me out. I was thrown out on December 27th at 11:30 pm.
- Pre-Op Thiesen and the born again Christian: Women who report sexual harassment, fear and intimidation by MTF transgenders are forced to refer to them as female in their complaints or be thrown out. Even when they use the chosen gender pronoun such complaints were being ignored. However because of a zero tolerance stance on pronouns, women were thrown out even if they make a mistake. This actually happened to a born again Christian who was on friendly terms with Thiesen. Horrified, Thiesen pleaded to no avail to prevent it. As the shelters are usually not open during the day, this means women are being thrown out into the street in the middle of the night.
- Pre-op Schizophrenic MTF and the college student: In an effort to protect a young woman with from a schizophrenic MTF who had sexually fixated on her, I ended up approaching a group of MTF who had befriended her and insisting that they send a message to the MTF to leave the woman alone. She was a petite red head from Iowa with permanent brain damage from a failed suicide attempt. The MTF spoke in tongues and would stand in front of women and gyrate sexually. We were all afraid of the her and there were rumors a woman she’d been in conflict with had been murdered by an unknown assailant taking a blunt object to her head.
- Post-op Ex football player and me: this 6’4, 300 lb Hispanic was aggressive towards women she felt she was in competition with. I’m only 5’0″ tall and when I first met her, she sat glaring menacingly and looking as if she were about to lung out of her seat at me. Other women in the room assured her that I was ‘cool’ and really nice…
- Post-op Ex football player and the retard: A mentally slow woman he’d called a retard was evicted when she responded by calling her ‘sir’.
- Post-op with Spiked Dog Collar: liked to challenge anyone to say ‘she’ was anything but a ‘woman‘. Lets just say it was more challenging to remember to use feminine pronouns with some of the MTF transgenders than with others.
- Pre-op MTF caught at the Mecca: A MTF was allowed to live her year as a woman and save up for her operation. After about two weeks she was caught in a local restaurant lounge drinking at the bar by a coordinator from the adminstrative offices. Normally women are thrown out no exceptions. However Mecca was given a two week suspension and allowed to return with a story about sudden death in the family. A couple months later the women in drug rehab programs were complianing bitterly that Mecca was walking around swishing vodka in a 7-up bottle. I point out to staff that if Mecca were to have ‘regrets’ about the operation she’d beable to sue everyone in a 5 mile radius because everyone knew she had a drinking problem. The staff person’s eyes got big as saucers. Mecca had to restart her year demonstrating strict sobriety.
The female staff and volunteers in these shelters were in no way equipped to help us if one of these people became violent, which defeats the purpose of woman’s shelter in providing a safe place for women.
Ironically, when they first brought these men into the shelter and women were upset I was one of the people who tried to smooth things over by saying, “well, this is transitional shelter.” I now realize that although my intentions were good I actually helped facilitate a situation where women would be made to feel unsafe and victimized with no recourse. The more conservative women had better instincts.
Issues of concern:
- Because staff and residents alike feared being accused of intolerance by LGBT in management, problems were being under reported and not responded properly when they were.
- When problems did arise, it was the women and not the Thiesen who were punished, usually by being thrown out of the shelter.
- When Thiesen was eventually asked to leave, another excuse was found. This created false and misleading documenting of problems and ultimately hid problems arising from public policies from policy makers and the community sponsors of the shelters.
- Thiesen was known for antics such as walking around the shelter in a powder blue negligee sporting a boner and had been forced out of at least one other shelter where FTM transgender staff member referred to him as a sexual predator.
- As a result of my complaint I was harassed in the workplace. The woman who appeared to be directing the harassment was discovered to be a fellow church member of the subject of my complaint. Other members of this church have also harassed me. This church is 10 miles and two cities away from my home in Bellevue, WA and located in the predominately gay neighborhood of Capital Hill in Seattle (see report Protocol Team).
- Gays should not head social institutions. I’m not saying they shouldn’t work in them or rise to management levels, but they should not head social institutions like shelters, schools, community centers and the military. Would it be different if people were able to openly discuss problems when they arose without retaliation. Maybe, I don’t know. Until and unless we can we’ll never know…
- If Pat Bucannan can’t talk about these issues and even women in shelters can’t talk about these issues. Then it’s a good bet that Behavioral Science researchers can’t talk about these issues either. If so, their research is crap and there needs to be a moritorium on LGBT policies until the field can get itself politically desegragated and take fresh look at these topics.
- So far, no LGBT I’ve spoken to about this situation has ever shown concern for the women. Instead they rationalized about the gender identity. This inability to put politics aside when it comes to the safety of women is highly concerning.
- If it’s an okay thing to allow MTF into women’s shelters then it should be an okay thing to talk about it. It should be illegal to censor complaints for gender particularly when gender conflict is what is being reported.
- No one should be coerced into affirming gender identity. This affirmation is used to validate radical medical procedures that result in high levels of suicide.
- A third gender term should be instituted so one person’s truth is not another person’s lie and everyone can acknowledge the situation for what it is.
- Straight employees confronted with these situations defer to LGBT supervisors to make the final call which reveals the discomfort of straights and the indifference of LGBT and their willingness of LGBT to put in danger the women they are charged with protecting. This makes LGBT dangerous to women in shelters and to soldiers in the military.
- It seems that whenever a new social issue arises American take a predicable path of unproductive extremes. Perhaps the real change we need is to learn respect for intellectual balance and how to confront special interests that attempt to silence dissent by stigmatizing people.
Why was I in a shelter? I don’t have drug or criminal issues. However, it’s not uncommon for people targeted with predatory harassment to experience breakdowns. I’d been listed in 2003 in San Jose, CA (see How I was targeted). I moved to Washington to get away from it but it followed. I was afraid to tell anyone and didn’t even know how to go about describing street theatre. When in May of 2010, when I finally did reach out for help it set into motion an extreme form of harassment that involved daily harassment, repeated attempts to bait, provoke and entrap on bias and gas-lighting to prevent police reports (local law enforcement doesn’t take reports on gas-lighting unless its related to domestic violence and will refer all others to mental health).
* Long-term follow-up of transsexual persons undergoing sex reassignment surgery: cohort study in Sweden. (2011) By Cecilia Dhejne, Paul Lichtenstein, Marcus Boman, Anna L V Johansson, Niklas Långström, Mikael Landén, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Division of Psychiatry, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. Journal Article: PLoS ONE (impact factor: 4.41). 01/2011; 6(2):e16885. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016885. Abstract: Persons with transsexualism, after sex reassignment, have considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behaviour, and psychiatric morbidity than the general population. Our findings suggest that sex reassignment, although alleviating gender dysphoria, may not suffice as treatment for transsexualism, and should inspire improved psychiatric and somatic care after sex reassignment for this patient group. http://www.researchgate.net/publication/50250857_Long-term_follow-up_of_transsexual_persons_undergoing_sex_reassignment_surgery_cohort_study_in_sweden