Main | Wednesday, August 27, 2008 T-Shirt Gets Woman Bounced From CA Social Security Office

Homophobic rent-a-cops strike again. A 31 year-old California woman was booted from the Van Nuys Social Security office because of her t-shirt.
A routine trip to the Social Security office Monday turned into 30 minutes of shock, disbelief and irritation for Lapriss Gilbert, who was forced to leave the federal building by a guard who objected to her "" T-shirt.

As she headed for a line to pick up a Social Security card for her son, Gilbert was stopped by a guard who said her T-shirt, naming an educational and resource Web site for gay women, was offensive. She said the guard, who works for a private company hired by the Department of Homeland Security, demanded that she leave the building or face arrest.

"As an African-American and a lesbian, I haven't been through one day without facing some sort of discrimination ... but this is just shocking," said Gilbert, 31. Lori Haley, a federal spokeswoman for the office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement - which is under the Homeland Security umbrella - said the guard was out of line.

"We believe that the actions of the contract security guard were inappropriate and unacceptable - we have notified his company, Paragon, of our position in the matter," Haley said. A security guard identified by Lapriss Gilbert as the one who told her to leave declined to comment. The guard cited the document, The Rules and Regulations Governing Conduct on Federal Property, as proof of his jurisdiction over Gilbert's attire, she said. The document does not specifically address what type of clothing is allowed in federal buildings.
After her ejection, Gilbert put her mother, who just happens to be a lesbian activist, on the case.
Tanya Gilbert said she plans to contact her attorney today to file a lawsuit against the Paragon Security Company. "In 30 years as an activist, this is one of the most unsettling things I have seen. When she called me I told her to wait right there," said Tanya Gilbert, who recently moved to the Van Nuys area from Chicago.

When the mother arrived, she called the LAPD to protest her daughter's removal. But before four Los Angeles police officers arrived with at least one federal agent, Lapriss was told she could come back into the building and was escorted to the front of the line by another Paragon security guard.
Mama to the rescue!

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