I’m Nona Conner and, apart from my role as CASS’s Program Fellow, I’m an employee at Casa Ruby LGBTQ Community Center. This past summer, I worked with Casa Ruby’s staff to organize a fun-filled pool day at Banneker Pool. We carefully planned a day where we wouldn’t bring too much attention and could still have a good time.
As it turned out, all the careful planning we did was in vain because upon entering the facility we were misgendered by staff. We asked for directions to the woman’s bathroom, and we were sent to the men’s room. We decided to let that level ignorance go, and we proceeded to the pool. We had a ball until it started to rain so we had to leave.
Upon leaving, we were called a host of names from “failure” to “pedophiles” by the aquatic staff.
When the incident made it into the news, CASS partnered with local trans-led consulting firm Parallax to train DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) staff on trans cultural competency and bystander intervention to prevent future incidents of harassment and to make DC’s parks, pools, and rec centers safer for our trans communities.
But this training was not enough to repair the harm caused to those of us who were harassed and misgendered that day.
Another staff member and I went to the Office of Human Resources and filed a discrimination complaint. It took two weeks to get a date for an intake where we shared our side of the story. Three weeks later, we had a mediation date where a mediator, the lawyer from DC Department of Recreation, and I met to come to a settlement for the unwarranted treatment from DPR’s staff. After a short but informative discussion, I was awarded a settlement for my pain and suffering.
I urge all who are mistreated in any way, shape, form or fashion to take action to stop hate.
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