DMV investigates note sent to transgender woman

October 28, 2010 5:57:28 PM PDT
A hate-filled letter sent to a San Francisco transgender woman has prompted an investigation at the Department of Motor Vehicles. The anti-gay letter claims to have been written by a DMV clerk who assisted the woman at the San Francisco branch last week.

The usually painful experience at the DMV became a traumatic one last week for Amber Yust. A transgender woman, Yust went to the San Francisco branch to legally change her name on her driver's license.

A few days later a letter was mailed to her house. The writer claims to be the DMV clerk who helped her and then went on to say being transgender is "evil." He urged her not to go through with the transition from man to woman. He said Yust is going to hell.

"Understandably, I think, she was scared to get a letter sent to her home from a state employee who presumably found out her address through his official capacity as a state employee and it was an incredibly harassing and traumatizing experience for her," Kristina Wertz, legal director of the Transgender Law Center, said.

Yust is not speaking publicly, but she turned to the Transgender Law Center for help.

The DMV is now investigating the allegation. A spokesperson for the agency said in a statement, "This is a personnel disciplinary matter which the department does not discuss, but the DMV does not condone or tolerate the access or use of personal information for non work-related purposes."

Advocates for the transgender community say discrimination like this is nothing new. The Transgender Law Center in San Francisco receives more than 1,500 calls a year from transgender people seeking help.

"I think it's a sad indication of where we are," Wertz said.

Wertz says Yust has not yet reported the letter to the police, but they believe a biblical verse quoted in the letter is clearly a threat. It says, "Let [gay people] be put to death"

The writer signed the letter, "In charity, Thomas."


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