Gina Desir wins discrimination case against her landlord for not granting her housing.
What We Know:
- In 2016, Henry Walter denied Desir housing after finding out she was transgender. She came to Walter’s apartments after her then landlord refused to renew her lease in October of 2015. A friend who lives in the building told Desir there were apartments available, so she made an appointment with Walter.
- When she went for her appointment, Walter’s comments were nothing short of rude and discriminatory. “Why didn’t you tell me you were transgender?” he asked, “Thank God, I had you come here at night. What would people have thought if they had seen you.” Desir told the New York Daily News that he was “shocked and surprised” by her appearance when she arrived for the appointment. Walter even went so far to voice his concerns that people would think he was sexually attracted to Desir if he allowed her to live there.
- Unfortunately, this was not Desir’s first discriminatory encounter with a landlord. Walter was the fifth landlord to not only call her out, but make comments that ultimately shattered her self esteem. Walter advised her to not only stop her transition until she found stable housing, but he also recommended that she find “a basement somewhere with it’s own entrance, that’s not around too many people.” This “advice” came after he told her he couldn’t rent her an apartment “around people and children.”
- Despite being used to conversations like these, Desir decided enough was enough. When she took her fight to court, she won a recommendation in her favor from administrative law judge John Spooner. After her win, she was awarded $25,000. At the end she told the Daily News, it “felt good to do something.”
Situations such as these rarely result in a victory, congratulations to Ms. Desir.