Texas RV park sued for discrimination against transgender woman

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A transgender woman and her girlfriend were evicted from In Toone Services, a recreational vehicle (RV) park in Texas. Led by United States attorney general Eric Holder, the federal government is suing In Toone for discrimination. 

“[The park owners] said they weren’t going to have my kind living in the park,” said Roxanne Joganik, as reported by The Rare Reporter. Joganik and her partner Darlina Anthony had resided at In Toone in Athens, Texas for over a year. 

Joganik claimed that the In Toone park had evicted her on the basis of sex discrimination which is a violation of the Fair Housing Act. Joganik filed a complaint with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Attorney Natalie Chin of Lambda Legal authored the original complaint that described the legal agreement of the couple’s residency at In Toone. 429Magazine learned that Chin has since left Lambda Legal since the case was filed, and therefore was not available for comment. 

The complaint documented that Joganik had signed a month-to-month lease in April 2011. George and Amy Toone took over the In Toone park in May 2012, which is when the reported discrimination and insults began. 

The owners told Joganik that she was not allowed to wear women’s attire in the park’s communal spaces such as the pool, saying that there may be “children around the pool.” 

The Toones asked Joganik and girlfriend Anthony to sign a new lease, however the new agreement did not include sex as a protected class against discrimination. When Joganik refused to sign the new lease the company proceeded to evict Joganik. 

Joganik even tried to comply with their request by volunteering to leave her home on the basis that her girlfriend could stay. To that, the Toones told Anthony that they, “…didn’t like my kind either,” Anthony says. 

When In Toone caught wind of the allegations of discrimination, they claimed that the evictions were due to Joganik and Anthony killing wild animals and for disrupting the neighbors. 

In Toone also claimed that the Fair Housing Act was not relevant to an RV park, under the basis that it “did not constitute a dwelling.” However, a “dwelling” is defined by the Fair Housing Act as:

any building, structure, or portion thereof which is occupied as, or designed or intended for occupancy as, a residence by one or more families, and any vacant land which is offered for sale or lease for the construction or location thereon of any such building, structure, or portion thereof.

Based on the Justice Department’s definition of a dwelling, an RV would fall under this category. 

If the lawsuit is in Joganik’s favor, In Toone could face a discrimination fine up to $16,000. 

429Magazine

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