portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article announcements portland metro

gender & sexuality

transgender confronts tri-met

This is for other transgender individuals contemplating actions against their employers
Here is the relevant text from the Union Grievance I plan to deliver to ATU 757 tomorrow:

Beginning in April 2001, Grievant experienced constant workplace bullying by individuals angry at her gender expression ("male-to-female transgender"). Grievant has filed several security complaints since April 2001. Tri-Met has made no effort to educate the public and its workforce as to appropriate restraint of discriminatory language and actions in the workplace. Tri-Met has exacerbated the suffering of Grievant by refusing doctor-ordered medical care. See City of Portland 23.01.050 (anti-discrimination), also ORS 659.030 ("... may not... discriminate in compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment... ").

REMEDY: Tri-Met should post non-discrimination statements in public view in its workplaces. Tri-Met should cease medical discrimination.

we shall overcome 22.May.2007 22:30

c

Theresa, bless you for having the courage to stand up for yourself and for the dignity of others.

I wish you the very best with this case.

In solidarity.

Right on ,Theresa 23.May.2007 13:46

Feminista

Keep up the fight,sister!

Good Luck 23.May.2007 17:05

Passenger

I have seen transgendered bus driver or drivers. So What. As long as someone is a good driver, I dont care if they are purple with orange hair and have orgys, thats thier business. I believe I know what driver they are referring to, and she is an excellent driver who is considerate and fair with passengers.
If they want to pick on someone, why not go after those drivers who laugh as they pass by passengers and skip passengers who are trying to get to work, etc. Tri-met is run by idiots, who dont know what side of the bus is left or right, seriously, the transit mall is a good example. So how can one assume they would act rationally about ANYTHING!!!!!
Good luck Teresa, its obvious what kind of idiots are running the satan trains.

the process 26.May.2007 05:25

theresa mitchell

I get (got) my health care through Kaiser Permanente. When I put through a claim for unemployment compensation, I had to go to Kaiser's Industrial Medicine department. I went to one appointment, to be told there was a 90% chance my claim would be denied.

This is because, rather than suffering from an injured arm or foot, I filed a claim centering on Panic Disorder. The problem is, after years of daily workplace bullying, my mind finally cracked. I went to my doctor more than a year ago and started increasing dosages of Zoloft--which seemed to work for a while, though the dosages got larger and larger. Finally, this March 26, I realized I could no longer drive a bus. My anxiety is so great that I can't concentrate on safely maneuvering the 13-ton, 40-foot long behemoths.

Any loud noise, laughter, or pointed comment sends my reactive mind into a desperate "fight or flight" mode. I can't control this now, even when loaded with 150 mg/day of Zoloft (sertraline). Just getting into the bus seat makes me shake and sweat, and suffer chest pains. It is utterly unethical for me to attempt to drive buses in this condition. Other bus drivers have accidentally killed pedestrians with just a second's inattention.

And my disorder has gotten worse; now I'm getting reluctant to leave my house. It's weird, having my mind fight itself. But it's also Catch-22: no one in their right mind could take that much abuse, and stay stable. Years of sitting strapped to that seat and being threatened, belittled, abused, struck, and spat upon took its toll. I don't know if I can work in public at all. The only public place where I feel safe is KBOO radio, where I volunteer.

So my counselor told me to go to the Industrial Medicine shrink, where I could ask for a different anti-anxiety medication. I don't really believe in the stuff, but if I am to get my pittance from Worker's Compensation, I have to seek and accept treatment. Here's what happened to me when I arrived:

I went to my appointment with Dr. X at the Mt. Talbert (Sunnyside) Kaiser Permanente facility at 10 AM on May 24th, 2007. Dr. X (the name is changed to protect the guilty) greeted me in the lobby and showed me the way to his office. He sat at his desk and began to write. He asked me what my complaint was (he had a dossier in plain sight, and knew why I was there).

I told him that I was suffering from panic disorder, due to workplace bullying. He asked me what I wanted Tri-Met to do about it. I said that Tri-Met should hold sensitivity training for their employees (as that would help condition public response), and I said Tri-Met should notify the public, as they do with their signs regarding behavior on the bus, that gender-based (I also mentioned race and sex) derogatory remarks were considered inappropriate.

Dr. X then began to question whether Tri-Met could possibly have any such responsibility over the behavior of the public. I tried to counter with the fact that Tri-Met is constantly attempting to condition the attitudes and actions of the public--e.g., their myriad signs encouraging post-9/11 paranoia; I pointed to an example in common use (i.e. the common sign in restaurants that decries such abuse), but he was unsatisfied. I then asked him what his role was, and he seemed confused by the question.

I asked him why he wanted to know whether Tri-Met was the negligent party, and he responded that he needed to know in order to determine whether the claim was valid. At no time did Dr. X ask me how I was feeling, or whether I needed medical care. I had gone to the clinic hoping that I could forward the comment of another counselor, that I should ask for anti-panic medication. Instead, I told Dr. X goodbye, and walked out, after feeling that I was doing nothing but arguing with a bigot about my rights.

The whole procedure took less than five minutes. I left feeling criminalized; I was shaking; I felt miserable--but I didn't want the bastard to see me weeping.]

I have received so much sympathy and respect from Portlanders that it's easy to forget that even "professionals" can suffer from transphobia. It really shook me to the core to be treated like that. I filed a complaint with the Board of Medical Examiners, and I'm going to try for a new appointment, hopefully with someone who puts their professional ethics first.

worker comp at trimet is a joke /test lab for Dr. not willing to perform 16.Jun.2007 17:09

still fight the mco Mytrends296@aol.com

It is no secrect that trimet contacts the doctor before your vist. This is why they ask when and where you will be treated. Check your medical record you will find that the workers comp manager also pays a vist in some cases to your doctor. also note that any contact you have with trimet they are setting you up. Be very careful not to sign any papers unless your legal council has approved them first. Also please note that you may find yourself being followed by PI. Also be very mindful of the rate of denied claims a trimet most people have to go through along drawn out process to get what is owed to them.