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Should Transgender Discrimination Be Illegal?

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Bree Campbell (WWJ Photo)

Bree Campbell (WWJ Photo)

sandramcneill Sandra McNeill
After graduating from the University of Michigan, Sandra McNeill...
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DETROIT (WWJ) – A gay rights group is pushing to make discrimination against gay and transgender Michigan residents illegal.

That law can’t come soon enough for Bree Campbell.

Campbell says her family has been fine with her transition from man to woman and she didn’t have a problem, until she tried to rent an apartment in downtown Detroit. Campbell says she was denied a rental at the Windsor Towers after it was revealed that she used to be a man.

“I noticed that after [a worker] saw my ID and all of my other information, her whole attitude changed. I have never experienced that and I didn’t know what to do,” said Campbell.

Campbell says she never got a clear answer as to why her application was refused. She describes the experience as like a “punch in the stomach.”

Windsor Towers manager Lynett Robertson calls Campbell’s claim ridiculous and says the apartment practices fair housing laws.

Officials at Equality Michigan say that they received 20 reports of housing discrimination in 2010 based on sexual orientation or gender identity and officials believe there are many more unreported cases. In a survey last year of transgender people in Michigan, 17 percent said they had been denied a home or apartment due to their status. The group wants the state to add sexual orientation and gender identity to it’s civil rights laws.

“Transgender people have feelings, too,” Campbell said. “This isn’t always about the heels, the make up, the wigs. My life is not a drag. I don’t do drag.”

“This is supposed to be the land of the free,” Campbell said. I call it the land of the free … to a certain extent.”

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