Doe v. Sunrise Assisted Living
We all deserve to be treated with dignity and respect as we age. But transgender older adults, like our client Jane Doe, experience high rates of discrimination and vulnerability in long-term care facilities.
On October 21, 2021, GLAD filed a discrimination claim with the Maine Human Rights Commission on behalf of Jane Doe, a 78-year-old woman who was denied a room by Sunrise Assisted Living in Jonesport, Maine because she is transgender. It is the first known discrimination complaint filed in the U.S. by a transgender older adult against a long-term care facility.
In the spring of 2021, the complainant, who is being identified publicly as Jane Doe, was admitted to Pen Bay Medical Center for an acute medical emergency. Once Ms. Doe’s health was stabilized, the medical staff determined she did not require in-patient care and needed placement in an assisted living facility. A hospital social worker contacted Sunrise Assisted Living on Ms. Doe’s behalf and was told they had rooms available. Upon learning that Ms. Doe is transgender, however, the Administrator at Sunrise informed the hospital they would not admit Ms. Doe because they were concerned she wanted to reside in a room with a female roommate, despite the fact that Sunrise regularly places women in semi-private rooms with other women.
The claim brought by GLAD on Jane Doe’s behalf asserts that Sunrise discriminated against Ms. Doe based on her gender identity, transgender status, and her sex, all explicitly protected under the Maine Human Rights Act.