U.S. Attorney General files lawsuit against Texas RV park for anti-transgender discrimination

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the United States government against a Texas recreational vehicle park for alleged discrimination against Roxanne Joganik, a transgender woman who was evicted from the park.

Joganik initially filed a complaint against the park's owner George Toone with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in June, 2012. Her complaint alleged that Toone and the company In Toone Services had violated the federal Fair Housing Act by discriminating against her on the basis of sex.

According to the complaint, Joganik and her roommate had been living in the park before it was owned by Toone. When Toone took control, he would not allow Joganik to dress in clothing of her choice in the park's common areas, and a began eviction proceedings in court after Joganik and her roommate refused to sign new park rules that included no protections against discrimination based on sex or familial status.

The judge presiding over the July, 2012, eviction action hearing ruled in Toone's favor, awarding him possession of the lot and thousands of dollars in attorney's fees and court costs, and Joganick and her roommate were evicted the next month. However, after HUD officials began an investigation into Joganik's complaint, they issued a charge of discrimination, and the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has responded with a lawsuit against George Toone and In Toone Services, filed in the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division, on October 3, 2013.

Anti-transgender discrimination in housing occurs at alarmingly high rates. The National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that 19% of transgender respondents had been refused a home or apartment, and 11% reported being evicted because of their gender identity or expression. One fifth of respondents reported experiencing homelessness at some point it their lives.

GLAAD will continue to monitor media coverage of this case, and provide updates. If you see a defamatory news story about Roxanne Joganik or her case, please report it to GLAAD.