When 15-year-old trans teen L.P. landed herself in the Philadelphia juvenile detention center, a judge told the staff to give her hormone therapy and due respect. Instead, the staff refused to call her by her female name, refused her access to female clothing and grooming options, and refused to stop other residents from insulting her. The residents regularly called L.P. “a wanna-be girl,” “a faggot” and even attacked her. Once a staffer told her, “You ain’t no fucking female, you are a dude… Till you get your dick cut off, I’m not going to call you [by your female name.]” She endured this kind of treatment for almost a year and a half.
Then in October 2009 Lambda Legal filed a complaint with the city’s Commission on Human Relations citing the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Youth Study Center (YSC) where L.P. stayed for violation of the city’s Fair Practices Ordinance prohibiting harassment and discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived gender identity, sexual orientation, sex, and disability. This week, they finally reached a resolution.
The resolution now requires YSC to give and gender non-conforming youth hormone therapy, a single room, acknowledgement by their preferred name and pronoun, and access to their preferred clothing and grooming options. DHS will also give LGBT training to all YSC workers on LGBT issues and treatment.
L.P. is now 18 and happy with the settlement, part of which included an undisclosed amount paid to her by the city. She said, “I hope that these changes will ensure that no other young transgender person experiences the physical and emotional abuse that I experienced at the Youth Study Center.”