Courts and Crime

A transgender woman filed a discrimination complaint alleging she was denied admission to an assisted living facility

A 78-year-old woman has filed a discrimination complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission alleging that she was denied admission to an assisted living center because she is transgender.

The complaint was filed on Thursday by GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders on behalf of the woman, who is only identified as "Jane Doe." The complaint alleges that a social worker at another facility referred her to Sunrise Assisted Living in Jonesport, but an administrator denied her admission because of a concern that she wanted to stay in a room with a female roommate.

"She simply wants to be treated with dignity, compassion, and understanding as she ages. Just like everyone else," said Ben Klein, one of the attorneys who filed the complaint on behalf of the woman. "She is someone who has lived as a woman for decades. She deserves to be treated as the woman she is. And Maine law requires that."

Klein said the case is the first known discrimination complaint brought by a transgender older adult against a long-term care facility.

"We think it's a really important case that raises some very systemic discrimination faced by transgender older adults, especially in accessing the facilities and supports they need," Klein said.

Adult Family Care Homes of Maine, which operates Sunrise Assisted Living, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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