Every year when the holiday season arrives I encourage people to walk on by the Salvation Army kettles without putting in even a dime. Why, because the organization continues to be stridently anti-LGBT despite many mealy mouthed statements aimed at hiding the truth that the organization remains a right wing religious body that is in some ways little better than the "family values" hate groups. As Think Progress is reporting, in New York the Salvation Army has been caught discriminating despite that state's non-discrimination laws. There are plenty of worthy charities to which contributions can be made. The Salvation Army is not one of them. Here are highlights on the situation in New York:
The New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) announced last week that it was charging four different substance abuse centers, one of which is run by the Salvation Army, with discriminating against transgender patients in violation of city law.
[T]he violations found included:
· Refusing to accept transgender people as patients or tenants
· Assigning trans people rooms based on their sex assigned at birth instead of their lived gender identity
· Unwarranted physical examinations to determine if trans people are on hormone therapy or have had surgery
· Segregating transgender patients into separate rooms.
The discrimination was found through a testing process after the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) tipped off the commission that mistreatment was happening. One of the clinics told the testers outright, “No, we don’t [accept transgender patients].” Another clinic’s representative said, “People with moving male parts would be housed with men.”
The NYCCHR has the authority to fine violators up to $250,000 and can also require trainings, policy changes, community service, and mediated apologies.
Two of the clinics found to be violating city law have religious affiliations. The Addicts Rehabilitation Center was founded by a church, operates a gospel choir as one of its programs, and is currently run by Rev. Reginald Williams, a baptist preacher.
The Salvation Army is itself a church with a long history of discriminating against LGBTQ people. While that history has mostly focused on its rejection of homosexuality, a Salvation Army-run homeless shelter in Texas was also accused of anti-transgender discrimination in 2014. Their public relations campaign to improve their LGBTQ image has rung rather hollow.
The recent U.S. Trans Survey found that 22 percent of trans people had been harassed or denied treatment when trying to access services from a drug or alcohol treatment program.