Susanmillers Blog

My life as a heterosexual crossdresser.

Interesting Wednesday afternoon for Susan at an Attorney’s office

Well Wednesday July 25th 2012 was a really interesting Wednesday for Susan and for reasons you will read I had to put off making this blog. First I will start with a little background. As you all know from reading my blog our group was asked not to come back to the P-Club by the owner Chris Penner, he actually called Cassandra and left two different voice mails for her about it. Well so all the group could hear what he said she posted it on her YouTube page. Well she also sent the link to this page to the State Attorney Generals office along with a couple local attorneys never really thinking anything about it.

Well one of the attorney’s Beth Allen contacted Cassandra and wanted her to call her and talk to her about it which Cassandra did; she got a free half our phone interview. From this interview Beth Allen believed the Chris Penner violated the law as well as our right under discrimination laws and offered to represent us on contingency. She wanted to meet with Cassandra and a few others that were there on a regular basis. Cassandra said she would talk to a few that were there every week and get back to her. Any way Cassandra met with me, Victoria, Chris and Cristine on Wednesday July 11 at the Rainbow Room to get our opinions and to talk about if we should go forward or not and what kind of issues we might have. We all talked for over an hour and most of the discussion was on reasons we shouldn’t and what might happen or go wrong, mainly being outed for us and possibly members of the group as our group is the main concern. After all the discussion the group came to the conclusion what Chris Penner did was wrong and to keep this from happening at other places we may wish to go we needed to at least meet with Beth Allen and talk with her face to face and get our questions answered so Cassandra set up a meeting with the 5 of us and her on August 1 at her office. Mind you we still had not said yes or no we just had questions that needed being answered and all of us were in total agreement.

Now Beth Allen contacted the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries also known as BOLI to get some information on this and how to proceed. BOLI is the state agency who investigates among other things civil rights violations. Now normally how it works is you file a complaint with BOLI and they investigate, if they find that you have a valid complaint they will file the complaint for the persons making the claim in that persons name. Any way from the information they got from Beth’s questions and the YouTube video they contacted Beth Allen and asked to meet with her and the 5 of us on Wednesday July 25th at 3 pm so Beth contacted Cassandra and asked to move our meeting up one week. So this is how we got to my interesting Wednesday afternoon, going downtown Portland in at 2 pm as Susan to meet with an Attorney and a representative for BOLI.

Now this was going to be a fast day as I got off work at 12 and it takes me ½ hour to get home and I need ½ hour to get back downtown Portland to Beth Allen’s office and that is if there is no traffic issues which left little time to get ready so I laid all my stuff out the night before. Turns out traffic was light and I was home by 12:30 and all ready to leave by 1:15 which I think is a personal record for Susan getting ready, shower, shave, makeup, cloths, jewelry and nails and I still looked pretty. Well I drove downtown and only hit a little traffic but easily made it. There is a parking garage about a block away. Now walking downtown on a nice warm day is really nice and there were so many people out. I met Chris out front of the office building about 1:45 and could see Cassandra and Cristine walk up the street so we waited for them and all went inside together. Pretty good timing so far. When the elevator opened we found Victoria who had parked in the garage under the building riding up so all 5 of us went up together. Peggy Cassandra’s wife was already in the office waiting for us.

We met with Beth Allen and her law clerk for about an hour and got to ask all kinds of questions and she told us a little about BOLI and how they wanted to proceed. Our biggest question about privacy for our group members and possibilities of being outed in public were answered and Beth assured us that was not an issue. Only those willing to be involved in the case and giving their names would be involved and the rest of the group would not be involved at all. With our questions answered we were all feeling better about this. Now it was almost 3 and we were already to meet with the representative of BOLI and answer their questions.

Now it was not one representative from BOLI but 4, an Administrator and 3 investigators so now the 6 of us were in an office with Beth Allen, her law clerk and 4 state officials from BOLI. Now to the funny part, they really didn’t have a lot of questions for us but rather told us what they wanted to do. Seems they have already started checking into Chris Penner and the P-Club. Turns out the Commissioner of BOLI feels pretty strong about this case, so much so that he wants to file the complaint in his name, he would be the plaintiff and we would be secondary, basically witnesses. Turns out the voice mail he left where he singled out us as tyranny’s they feel is incredibly strong evidence. They are actually ready to start the process all they need is a few of us which is different then what we thought. They are coming to us.

Anyway we talked with them for over an hour and a half again asking a lot of the same questions we asked Beth as I said our group is the main concern and we want to protect it above all else. Again they told us the same thing; it would only be those who were willing to be witnesses and be involved in the case, everyone else in the group would not be involved in any way.

Now mind you the goal we all have is to tell Chris Penner and any other business out there that they cannot discriminate against transgender people, be it transsexuals, t-girls, or crossdressers. Now we realize BOLI can and will probably place a fine on him as in anything you get people’s attention when you hit them in the pocket book. We are not out to bankrupt him or put him out of business as we really do like the employee’s there as they treated us so great for the two years we went there. But like I said this type of action against transgender people cannot be tolerated so we all decided as a group we should go forward. With that all that was left were to sign onto the complaint.

Now Victoria and Cristine are full time and have legally changed their name so they were the first to Sign. Chris who is a supporter of the transgender community and most of those who know him know this also signed. Cassandra also signed, she is not out publicly as far as both sides of her. I also signed but asked that my male name be left out unless absolutely necessary as I still have kept both sides separate. Now I know that even doing it this way there is a good chance I could be outed but I feel this is worth it as discrimination is wrong in any sense and I guess I am ready to stand up.

None of us knows what will happen but we are sure that there will be media coverage as these types of cases get played up in the news plus in a way that is the point. If this does not get out to the public so they know that they cannot discriminate then this is all for nothing as I said that is our goal. For Transgender people to be able to go where they want, work where they want and not be afraid of being discriminated against.

We also agreed to have Beth Allen represent us in this as our attorney which she is doing totally on contingency. It will cost us nothing. She feels that BOLI along with fines will probably ask for attorney fees to be paid, but even so she is taking this on realizing she may get nothing off of the case. That is how strong she feels about this. Turns out she does a lot of GBLT cases in Oregon and is a big supporter of this cause. From talking to her and meeting her I would highly recommend Beth Allen if you need an attorney.

It was about 4:45 when we were all done. The people from BOLI thanked us and said they would be in touch with Beth to help write the complaint and keep us up to date on the case. Seems this is the first of this type of case in Oregon. Hard to believe that just 4 or 5 years ago I was too scared to really go out of my house and now I am involved in something this big. I am still a little scared about the future and being outed but not nearly as much as I would have thought.

Well from here we all went over to Fox & Hound which I already blogged about.

This was a little longer than my normal blog but felt it needed to be to make sure I got it just right. Thanks for reading and of course I will update as I can.

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August 8, 2012 - Posted by | T-girl | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Hi Susan.

    It seems you are doing a lot here, almost going out on a limb to help the tg community; good for you!! I am also glad there are people out there that are willing to fight the cause. I am a little unsure how you feel about the P-club. For 2 years you were saying it was really great and that everyone including staff really helped and appreciated you being there. Then of course they said ‘don’t come back’ whether or not they were suffereing a downturn in business. Probably not, but maybe they have had some vociferous complaints from other customers, who knows?.

    I am sure you are right to follow through with these lawyers to see what they are about. Only thing I would say is, they welcomed you for 2 years. That is an awful lot better than a club that makes it plain after a week or so that you are not welcome. Have you ever gone back to the owner and chatted things through as to why he blocked you? All I’m saying is he may have reasons. They may not be good reasons. But… well I don’t know the situation from your perspective.

    All I can say is it has given you the chance to be Susan in a responsible situation, so way to go girl!! I hope you at least have some fun with this, even if it is not easy!!!!

    Hugs TinaCortina xx

    Comment by TinaCortina | August 9, 2012 | Reply

  2. […] In July 2012 we met with an Attorney and investigators from BOLI (Bureau of Labor and Industries) thinking we would be filing a suit against Chris Penner. The attorney Beth Allen wanted to take our case on and the People from BOLI informed us that the commissioner Brad Avakian wanted to file the complaint in his name and use us as witnesses so we agreed. […]

    Pingback by Update on P-Club « Susanmillers Blog | July 13, 2014 | Reply


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