Transgender woman upset after being kicked out of shelter

TOLEDO, Ohio (13abc Action News) - A transgender woman says she was discriminated against by a Toledo homeless shelter.

The woman says the discrimination was a direct result of her gender identity.

Jennifer Braly arrived at the Sparrow's Nest late Tuesday night but she claims when a staff member found out she was transgender they told her it was the last time she'd walk through the door.

"A woman's shelter is where I am supposed to be because, I'm a woman," said Braly.

Jen Braly, 41, has lived as a woman since 2011. Tuesday, she was evicted from her apartment after falling behind on rent and turned to the Sparrow's Nest for help.

"At the end of intake one of the workers asked if I was transgender and I said, yes. She said well we have to move you to the men's shelter and I said no, I'm not doing that," said Braly.

Braly said going to a men's shelter puts her safety at risk, but staff at the women's shelter felt the same way.

"They said I could stay for the night but in the lobby not in the rooms with other girls," Braly recounts.

Dan Rogers is the CEO of Cherry Street Mission Ministries. He said the organization's mission is the help all in need, regardless of sexual or gender orientation. Issues have come up in the past but Rogers admits the number of transgender people living openly appears to be growing.

"It's come up before but not in this exact way, so this is new for us," said Rogers. "If you made a gender choice then we have to agree as well but we need to figure out how to do it and keep everybody safe."

Rogers said he plans on reaching out to Braly to find a way to accommodate her and admits this starts a new conversation finding a way to help the unhoused in the LGBT community.

As for Braly, she says she'll continue to push for equal rights, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

"I am a normal person, with hard times and I am looking for the same safe shelter and help anybody else is," said Braly.

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