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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Adult care network turns to Maine pledge after trans discrimination case

PORTLAND, Maine ( Associated Press) — A network of adult care facilities in Maine will adopt a non-discrimination policy regarding the care of transgender people who file a human rights complaint against a company as part of a settlement with a woman.

Advocates described the agreement as a landmark agreement regarding elderly care for transgender adults in the state. The settlement came three months after Maine’s human rights panel ruled in favor of a 79-year-old woman, Mary King, who complained that she was denied a room at an assisted living facility because she was transgender.

Lawyers for GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders, representing King, said Adult Family Care Homes of Maine will adopt a non-discrimination policy in addition to sending employees and administrators to nine of its facilities for LGBT-qualification training. The non-discrimination policy states that the adult family care home “shall provide a welcoming environment and the best possible services to all communities, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender older adults.”

King was initially anonymous when she filed her complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission, but later decided to make her own identity. He said the settlement was a “positive outcome” for him and other transgender elders seeking care.

“I believe the new policies will prevent others from experiencing abuse and help people understand that transgender people are seeking to be treated with dignity and respect just like anyone else,” King he said.

The Human Rights Commission approved the agreement without discussion during its meeting on Monday. The commission’s executive director confirmed the agreement and did not comment further.

Rhonda Chambers, administrator of Adult Family Care Homes in Maine, did not respond to calls seeking comment. The company mostly runs elderly care facilities in the rural parts of the state.

The Human Rights Commission found that there were reasonable grounds that one such facility, Sunrise Assisted Living in Jonesport, violated the Maine Human Rights Act and discriminated against King on the basis of sex and sexual orientation or gender identity. King’s lawyers have said she filed a complaint with the commission that Sunrise would not accept her because the facility was concerned that she wanted to live with a female roommate.

“The settlement that resulted from King’s complaint sends an unmistakable message that transgender older adults should be treated with dignity and respect when seeking long-term care services,” said Ben Klein, senior attorney for GLAD.

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