The Biden administration has lodged a federal charge of discrimination against a Florida trailer park and its owner for allegedly demanding a transgender woman present as male to avoid being evicted from her mobile home.
The charge, announced Tuesday by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, alleges the owner of the 21 Palms RV Resort in Davenport, Florida, sent a discriminatory and threatening note to the woman after she came out as transgender in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
“No one should have to change how they express their gender identity to maintain their housing,” HUD official Demetria L. McCain said in a statement. “Setting restrictions like these is not only unacceptable, it is illegal.”
According to the charges, the resident, who has not been named publicly, lived at 21 Palms with her child and fiancé for several years before coming out as transgender and “wearing feminine-presenting clothing in public” on Jan. 4, 2021. Just nine days later, the park’s owner and manager, Nathan Dykgraaf, allegedly sent the woman a handwritten notice regarding her appearance.
“I have been informed of your actions to have your sex changed to a female, I am told you have started taking the necessary medication and that after a period of time your change will be completed,” Dykgraaf allegedly wrote. “To avoid problems you must: 1. Act as a man 2. Talk as a man 3. Dress as a man 4. Avoid tight clothing that is revealing sexual organs. If you follow the above steps trouble will be avoided. Sincerely, Nathan D.”
Dykgraaf did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.
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Due to fears of being kicked out, the woman stopped presenting as female, avoided speaking with neighbors and stopped using the park’s amenities after receiving Dykgraaf’s note, the HUD charges allege.
She then filed a complaint with HUD last February, alleging the park violated the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender identity and other protected classes. Dykgraaf then responded to the complaint a month later, telling HUD the woman is “not free to engage with other tenants about her clothing and transition” and claimed her transition is “disruptive to the community.”
The unnamed complainant and her family moved out of the motor home park in August. She is now seeking damages for emotional distress, lost housing opportunity and out-of-pocket costs.