Rep. Barney Frank writes Mayor Williams on Tyra Hunter case
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Rep. Barney Frank writes Mayor Williams on Tyra Hunter case

U. S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C.

June 29, 1999

The Honorable Anthony A. Williams
Mayor
One Judiciary Square
441 Fourth Street, N.W., Suite 1100
Washington, D.C. 20001

Dear Mayor Williams,

I am a very strong believer in home rule, and I have never voted as a Member of Congress to alter a decision of the District. So I want to make it clear that I send you this not as a Member of Congress claiming any jurisdiction over your affairs, but as a gay man expressing my opinion about an action you are taking. And that opinion is one of great disappointment.

I am referring to your decision to appeal the ruling which found the District government liable in the case of Tyra Hunter. The facts of that case are appalling, and I have seen few cases of such official bias against a transgendered person. The victim's family took appropriate action in going to court, and the verdict is entirely understandable given the blatantly bigoted action that was involved.

Transgendered people are very vulnerable to abuse. I am a strong supporter of passing federal hate crimes legislation that would protect them from mistreatment which in this case is made even more ironic by the fact that this was an individual who was supposed to be providing aid to someone in difficulty. I am very distressed that you have decided to appeal and I urge you strongly to reverse your decision. It is not only unjustified in its impact on the Hunter family and other transgendered people in Washington; it will have a negative effect on our effort to educate people about the rights of transgendered people to be treated with respect.

[Signed]

Barney Frank
















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