Awesome Wednesday night meeting with our Attorney
Well it has been an awesome afternoon and evening. It started about 4 when Cassandra sent out a text that the Judge had issued his decision in our case against the P-Club and Chris Penner for discriminating against our group by kicking us out of his club. Our Attorney Sue-Del McCulloch wanted to meet with us at Fox & Hound tonight and tell us what she could. Now I had not planned on going out tonight but there was no way I was going to miss this. I actually started getting ready as soon as I got the text.
I got to Fox & Hound by 6:15 and Cassandra, Chris, Kim and Victoria were already there. I guess we were all excited to hear what Sue-Del had to say even though she wouldn’t be here till 7:30 to 8 pm. Well it wasn’t long and Kelly, Christine, Mellissa and Sarah showed up. Actually tonight was Sarah’s first night out with the group as she just joined our group a couple days ago. It was awesome to meet her and such an exciting night to be out. Petra, Jan, Lynn and a few others even showed up, I think we had maybe 15 of us there by 7.
We were all waiting for Sue-Del and we knew it was good news as she had told Cassandra that much. Well Sue-Del showed up about 8 and we all couldn’t wait. Now she couldn’t go into a lot of details as the Judge’s decision won’t be made public till Friday 8-30-2013 when it is released to the media which is also the reason this blog will be posted a little later than normal. It is kind of symbolic that the judge released his decision on our discrimination suit on the 50 year anniversary of the walk on Washington and the day Martin Luther King Jr. gave his speech “I have a dream”. Any way Sue-Del told us that the Judge supported found that Chris Penner had in fact discriminated against us and violated our rights under state law.
We are all thrilled with the verdict and actually very surprised at how fast all this has happened. I can remember when we sat together at the Rainbow room on July 11 2012 (thank god for my blog) and talked about if we should go and meet with Beth Allen our first attorney. She had seen the YouTube video Cassandra had posted of Chris Penner telling us not to come back because we were transgender. Here we are a little over 13 months later with a ruling in our favor. I think most of us thought it would take a year or so just to investigate and then a year or more to work its way through the system. Beth Allen started our case but as she was appointed to be a Judge in February she got us in touch with Sue-Del who agreed to take over our case and we as a group were truly blessed to have had two such incredible, supportive attorneys to help us we can never thank them enough.
Now we all realize that this is not over as Chris Penner will almost for sure appeal the decision and we all expected this and in a way I think in a way we are excited about him appealing it. We look at it this way, several years back I think in 2007 the state of Oregon past a law protecting transgender people from discrimination. Actually the law basically says that transgender people have the rights of the gender they present as. Now we all know that laws can be passed but it can always be challenged in court. Well this law has and it stood up which is great for all transgender people and not just in Oregon as many States and cities have passed similar laws and now there has been a Judge that upheld it. Now this was an administrative hearing and Judge so having it go on to the State appeals court and getting them to support the law and uphold transgender rights would be huge. We really have a long road ahead and I think it will be at least 2 to 5 more years to go through the appeals process. The best thing is that this will send a message to all businesses that if they do discriminate against Transgender people they will be held accountable and will face huge legal action.
I am truly proud to be a part of this and such a wonderful group here in Oregon. There were 13 of us that were able to step up and make a stand and many more in our group that for one reason or another were unable to but were always there supporting us, it truly was a team effort and I hope all of the members are proud of this wonderful group or should I say family of people.
I really want to Thank the following people and let them know how much they have helped us and what an impact they have made on our lives and all transgender people.
Beth Allen our first Attorney
Sue-Del McCulough our current attorney
Brad Avakian the commissioner of BOLI
Chet Nakada the hearing presenter for BOLI
Jen also a hearing presenter from BOLI
You all are awesome people.
Well Friday night I will once again be out with my friends and we will be celebrating so it will be an awesome night. I am really looking forward to it as I am sure many others in our group will be as it will be our first chance to talk after this is made public and release to the media. None of us know what the future holds for us but I know for me this experience will be one of the highlights of my life.