News Briefing
Jan 24, 2013 | 1091 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Transwoman seeks judge’s intervention

Attorneys for transwoman Bobbie E. Burnett have asked a federal judge to order city officials to turn over records pertaining to Burnett’s employment-discrimination case.

On Jan. 14, Burnett’s attorneys filed a motion with U.S. District Judge C. Darnell Jones 2d, requesting that the records be provided within 20 days of a court order by Jones.

Burnett, 56, has been employed by the city as a library assistant for about 22 years.

In 2009, Burnett sued the city and four coworkers for allegedly violating her constitutional rights and creating a hostile work environment due to her transgender status.

The case is in the discovery phase of litigation.

Burnett alleges ongoing workplace harassment and discrimination dating back to 2001, shortly after she transitioned to the opposite gender. Her lawsuit alleges constitutional violations of right to due process, equal protection under the law, freedom of expression and other rights.

She’s also suing under Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for discrimination due to her sex.

Additionally, Burnett alleges that four of her coworkers intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon her, which is prohibited under state law.

Brian J. Pierce, a city attorney handling the case, declined to comment.

John W. Beavers, an attorney for Burnett, also declined to comment.

Burnett is seeking an unspecified amount in compensatory and punitive damages.

Human-relations panel to be named in Haverford

Haverford officials are moving forward with implementation of the township’s LGBT-inclusive antibias ordinance, enacted in February 2011.

The ordinance bans discrimination in employment, housing, commercial property and public accommodations in the township.

The ordinance also authorizes the creation of a seven-member human-relations panel to investigate antibias complaints, and allows for penalties of up to $5,000 per discriminatory act.

Implementation of the ordinance was delayed, in part, because of a legal challenge by township resident Fred W. Teal.

But Teal died Sept. 21, 2012, of natural causes.

On Jan. 29, the township’s board of commissioners will interview 19 individuals who wish to serve on the human-relations panel, said township manager Lawrence J. Gentile.

Board members will vote on their final selections at the Feb. 11 public board meeting, he added.

Gentile said a majority of the nine-member board must approve the seven appointments before they can be finalized.

“A majority vote is needed to make the appointments,” Gentile explained. “The terms will be staggered so the entire [panel] will not change at once.”

The new appointees will receive training from the state Human Relations Commission, after township solicitor James J. Byrne Jr. addresses them about their legal responsibilities, Gentile said.

“I will make sure that the training is scheduled with the state Human Relations Commission,” Gentile added.

Board member Larry Holmes expressed optimism about the process.

“I am pleased we are moving forward,” Holmes told PGN. “We have excellent applicants, and I’m confident our [panel] will be a model for other communities.”

At the time of his death, Teal was seeking a permanent injunction, preventing the township from implementing the ordinance. Teal claimed the township exceeded state law when it enacted the ordinance.

The protected categories in the ordinance are: race, color, religious creed, ancestry, age, sex, national origin, handicap or disability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression and use of guide/support animal.

The state Human Relations Commission doesn’t investigate complaints based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Thus, local antibias complaints based on those categories must be handled by individual municipalities.

— Timothy Cwiek Mazzoni to host first-ever wellness workshop

Mazzoni Center’s Social Sober Space Program will host its first-ever Wellness Workshop from 3-5 p.m. Jan. 31 at the William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce St.

The event will teach LGBT individuals how to strengthen both mental and physical wellness through nutrition, meditation, yoga and many more techniques, taught by professionals.

“We’re really excited to be offering this event, which is something we’ve been discussing and planning for some time,” said John Edwards of Mazzoni’s Open Door counseling program. “It’s an opportunity for individuals in recovery to learn about activities and practices that can truly enhance their quality of life and also to mingle with others who are on a similar path.”

Healthy refreshments will be provided at the event.

To RSVP, email ealbert@mazzonicenter.org or call 215-563-0652 ext. 225.

Doc, discussion on HIV/AIDS activism

A number of local agencies will participate in a free screening of and discussion about HIV/AIDS documentary “How to Survive a Plague.”

University of Pennsylvania HIV Prevention Research Division, The Penn Center for AIDS Research and Community Advisory Board will stage the event at 6 p.m. Jan. 31 at Ritz East Theatre, 125 S. 22nd St. A panel discussion with director David France and local HIV/AIDS activists will follow at 8 p.m.

The documentary traces the history and development of ACT UP and Treatment Action Group.

Liberty City hosts annual meeting

The Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club will host its annual meeting from 1-3 p.m. Feb. 2 at the William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce St.

The event will feature the election of board members and small discussion groups on HIV/AIDS, violence, youth homelessness and violence against transgender and gender nonconforming individuals.

Guests will also have the opportunity to voice the issues they would like Liberty City to focus on this year.

For more information, visit www.libertycity.org.

— Angela Thomas
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