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Jackson Heights landlord fights discrimination claim

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Emmanuel Gold, a lawyer for the estate of Joseph Bruno, told a panel of appellate court judges in Manhattan May 19 that under state law transsexual citizens are not specifically protected.

Gold said he asked the judges from the State Supreme Court Appellate Division to overturn the rulings by several lower courts that extended state protection for the first time to transgendered individuals.

The court is expected to issue a decision within the next couple of months.

With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Hispanic AIDS Forum sued the estate of Joseph Bruno in June 2001, seeking unspecified monetary damages after it lost the lease on the Jackson Heights location it had occupied for 10 years. Bruno owned the building.

The group filed two claims of discrimination under state statutes and a city law, which has been amended to explicitly cover transgendered individuals.

"(The landlord) told us that if we didn't ask our transgendered clients to stop using the common areas - the hallways and the bathrooms - we'd have to leave," said Miguel Bonilla, Hispanic AIDS Forum's director of special events.

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Posted 7:05 pm, October 10, 2011
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