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HomeAlaska NewsTransgender files complaint against shelter for abused women

Transgender files complaint against shelter for abused women

VULNERABLE, ABUSED WOMEN MUST NOW SLEEP NEXT TO BIOLOGICAL MEN?

[Editor’s note: The transgender individual in this story is referred to as a male for purposes of clarity, because he is a biological male who presents as a female, and because no legal record of his female identity or name change could be discovered through research.]

“They” said it wouldn’t happen under AO 96, which in 2015 liberalized Anchorage non-discrimination laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Hawkins

They, meaning the ACLU and advocates for gender-neutral bathrooms, promised that no transgendered individual would ever abuse the law — they simply want a place to pee.

ENTER TIMOTHY ‘SAMANTHA’ COYLE

Along came Timothy Paul Coyle, also known as Samantha Amanda Coyle. He had other plans, plans that the ACLU lawyers had perhaps foreseen but dismissed.

Coyle was banging on the door of a shelter for abused women, and he was demanding entry.

In late January, Coyle was homeless, as he so often is. He was also inebriated and got into a fight at the Brother Francis Shelter, according those familiar with the incident. In some of his legal records, he lists Brother Francis Shelter as his home; readers can safely assume the staff is familiar with him.

The Brother Francis Shelter takes both homeless men and women, but because of the circumstances of his inebriation and fight, the staff sent him over to the Hope Center, which runs a shelter for abused and battered women who are homeless.

It’s likely that Brother Francis staff figured Coyle’s assumed female identity would be enough to get him in the door, and they were just trying to move him along.

The Hope Center is run by Christians, with over 30 church partners. It also runs a soup kitchen, a culinary school to train people for jobs, and offers showers and bathrooms for both men and women.

But at night, the sleeping mats are rolled out where the food was served hours earlier, and desperate women, some who are escaping human trafficking, find safe shelter in one big room, crammed next to each other on the floor.

The women sleep beneath a large wooden cross, while the staff does their laundry for them overnight. In the morning, they have breakfast before leaving the shelter, and the staff turns its attention to providing lunches, showers, and bathrooms for all homeless people in need.

The line for lunchtime soup starts up all over again, day after day, with hundreds of people served in a clean, relatively safe setting.

A TRIP TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM

The Christians running the Hope Center took one look at Coyle on the night of Jan. 28 and determined he needed medical attention; they gave him cab fare to get to the emergency room for treatment of his injuries, and they directed him to then go to the AWAIC shelter, which houses both abused men and women.

Coyle came back to the Hope Center the next day, Jan. 29, and tried to gain entry, but was also turned away, this time because he had shown up at the wrong time of day. The “women’s shelter” portion of the Hope mission doesn’t start until after 5 pm, and Coyle showed up in the early afternoon.

He had now been turned away twice.

A COMPLAINT IS FILED

Four days later, Coyle filed a complaint with the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission, saying that he had been discriminated against at a place that provides “public accommodation.” He alleges he was refused entry because he is transgendered. Transgendered means he is in a protected class of individual, his complaint says. He cannot be refused service.

The matter is now before the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission, which has set a hearing for March 15. Will the commission rule that the Hope Center must accommodate those who appear to be biological men?

The Hope Center hopes not. It will argue that it is not a “public accommodation,” as it does not cater to the general public. Its showers and bathrooms and soup kitchen serve the homeless, but its women’s shelter is there to keep vulnerable abused women safe from the dangerous nights in Anchorage.

The Hope Center will also argue that it has a First Amendment right as a faith-based mission to operated its charitable services for women and exclude biological males so that women can sleep in a place that feels safe.

In fact, if the Hope Center had to admit men, it would not have the physical means to segregate them from the women.

WHO IS TIMOTHY PAUL COYLE?

His court records show that Coyle is a man with an extensive criminal record, including violent crimes. There are no court records found in extensive research by Must Read Alaska that pertain to his assumed female identity.

Coyle, 52, appears to have lived in Anchorage, Colorado and Idaho. He has a long list of prior arrests and convictions that include charges for armed robbery with a deadly weapon (dismissed by prosecution), and other theft charges, including shoplifting, resisting arrest, and violation of probation.

As late as January, 2017, his last interaction with the Alaska criminal justice system, the court referred to Coyle as a male, and no records were found for a name change.

But in June of 2017, the media said he was a woman. KTUU quoted Samantha Coyle as a client of Bean’s Cafe, a soup kitchen, where “she” was when a homicide took place outside. A man had been stabbed in what has become one of the most notoriously violent areas of the city, and Samantha Coyle was quoted.

Again in October, Alaska Public Media quoted Samantha Coyle in a story about Anchorage homelessness, referring to her as a woman. “She” told the reporter that there needs to be more affordable housing.

Alaska voter rolls list Timothy Coyle, age 52, whose address is the Brother Francis Shelter.

Coyle’s complaint is clean, legalistic, and notarized. He may have gotten help from Abused Women’s Aid in Crisis (AWAIC) in filing his complaint against Hope Center.

Coyle lists the AWAIC address as his home address on his complaint and he filed his complaint online:

Whether the complaint made to the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission is legitimate remains an unanswered question, since it’s hard to determine if Samantha Coyle is an actual legal person or operating under an assumed name. Samantha Coyle’s complaint is notarized.

If indeed AWAIC is helping transgendered persons file complaints against another women’s shelter over the issue of men seeking entry into a place reserved for the safety of traumatized women, then the AWAIC board of directors may have some new policy decisions to make.

VOTERS WILL DECIDE, COMMISSION WILL HEAR REAL CASE

At the same time the Equal Rights Commission is hearing the Coyle complaint against a women’s shelter, voters in Anchorage are being asked to reverse the Anchorage Assembly’s actions that prevent private businesses like the Hope Center from keeping men out of “intimate places,” when those places have an open architecture that doesn’t preserve privacy.

On the ballot voters will receive in the mail about March 15, they’ll be asked to vote yes or no on Proposition 1:

A yes vote will restrict access to public facilities such as bathrooms, locker rooms and now, it appears, battered women’s shelters on the basis of sex at birth, rather than gender identity. It will allow private establishments such as businesses and religious organizations the right to make their own bathroom rules.

A no vote is against restricting access to facilities such as bathrooms or locker rooms. Members of the public would be free to use bathroom facilities consistent with the gender identification they might feel on a given day.

MUST WOMEN’S SHELTERS NOW BE OPEN TO MEN?

The vote that Anchorage voters cast between March 15 and April 3 will be pivotal to many nonprofits and charities serving battered women.

But what about the Hope Center’s women’s shelter? How will they decide who is a man or woman?

The Hope Center is accustomed to dealing with women who dress more masculinely in order to afford themselves more protection as homeless women.

The staff has to make a judgment about who is actually eligible to stay at the shelter. For instance, they don’t accept those under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and they only accept homeless women. Their focus is on abused women, although for a few years they have had an agreement with the Brother Francis Shelter to accept overflow when the Brother Francis shelter is full. The Hope Center will take women from Brother Francis, if there’s room.

The women who come to the Hope Center for the night are usually suffering from some of the most horrible traumas imaginable. Their experiences with men have left them with what is a form of post-traumatic stress disorder, in many cases.

That’s not something that proponents of gender-neutral intimate spaces have thought through:

  • Former School Superintendent Carol Comeau wrote, “It is not true that the current law allows men to simply dress up as women to enter women’s restrooms. It is not true that the current law makes it more permissible for someone to harass anyone in public facilities.” But Comeau is not the one staffing the door of the women’s shelter. She’s speaking from on high as a retired educator. The people staffing the doors of shelters are now presented with men dressing up as women, and then filing complaints.
  • Former lawmaker Arliss Sturgulewski wrote: “Proposition 1 is one of the most divisive, harmful initiatives I’ve seen on the ballot in our beloved city…Let’s be clear: Proposition 1 targets transgender individuals who want to safely and privately use public facilities, just like the rest of us.  Most transgender individuals have been harassed using public restrooms, and many have been physically assaulted. The current non-discrimination law provides them with the freedom to choose the facilities in which they are comfortable and safe.  That freedom should belong to the individual, not put up for a citywide vote.” (It’s unlikely she wrote that voters should not have a right to weigh in on important public policy, but she signed off on the op-ed and it was printed in the Anchorage Daily News).

But Jim Minnery of the Alaska Family Council wrote back in 2015:  “While not fully repealing the misguided law, our intent is to bring balance and create equal protections for people of faith who want to live and work in the public marketplace without fear of governmental intrusion and legal intimidation.”

Minnery was prescient. It only took 30 months from the passage of AO 96 for a women’s shelter run by Christians in downtown Anchorage to come under attack for turning away biological males.

COMMISSION TO HEAR RESPONSE FROM HOPE CENTER

The Anchorage Equal Rights Commission is governed by nine commissioners appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the Anchorage Assembly. The AERC also has six paid staff, including an executive director and staff attorney, three investigators, an intake and outreach coordinator, and a docket clerk.

The Commission meets on a regular basis in the Mayor’s Conference Room at City Hall (632 W. Sixth Ave., Suite 830), and the next meeting is March 15, from 6-7 pm, when this matter will be heard.

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Because of the legalities I predict that women’s centers will begin shutting down. And the term “protected class” bothers me. A lot. To the point that I feel in danger.

    • Arm yourself. A chain loop with a heavy padlock on it can be very effective if you don’t want to risk a firearm being taken from you and used against you.

  • Wonder why some of the fine people at the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission would not offer Samantha shelter in their home? After all, would that not be the honorable thing to do?

    • So Larry, did you not read the damn article or understand that biological females need spaces away from biological males especially in times of great vulnerability and distress? Yes, “Samantha” has needs that should be met but not at the expense of biological females who have equally valid needs. The feelings and identities of males are NOT more important than the feelings and needs of females especially when they are at their most vulnerable. You do not understand because you do not want to understand and like many do not really care about the safety, needs or well being of biological females as you do about the entitlement of males to do as they please.

      • totally, I have been abused and had to go to a house for abused woman for awhile. If a biological male was there I would have left because I wouldn’t feel safe. Not right to force woman going through trauma all ready many due do to violence from men.

      • Rousseau, did you actually read it yourself and actually read what Larry wrote? It is not the shelter that Larry is commenting on taking this Samantha
        in.

      • What Larry actually said went right over your head and you completely misinterpreted.

  • Our world is messed up enough and now vulnerable women have to fear for their life and safety once again. Sad day for us all. Every community nationwide has run into this or similar and worse with ruling similar like the Anchorage one. GET RID OF IT before a tragedy happens.

  • The prospect of a shelter for traumatized, abused women is in danger of closing because a genderbender criminal insists he can invade the only safe place these women have at this time in their lives is beyond horrendous, beyond rational, beyond sane.

  • The argument is a non-starter as the individual was intoxicated and reportedly combative/fighting and therefore not a candidate to receive accommodation. This appears to be another eleventh hour red herring from the Minnery camp and I would urge all who feel concern over fake news to follow this story, and individual, through and past this current election cycle.

    • And yet he filed a complaint of discrimination based on his claims of transgender identity. How is that then a red herring?

  • Something smells here.

  • I identified as a orange today. I think I will be a cloud tomorrow. The federal government can’t tax oranges or clouds right?

    • Hehehe.
      I identify as an aged pensioner.
      Give me my aged pension and free medical now!!!!!

      • lol ok I identify as a super rich country music star with a big ranch. Where is all my money?

  • “Former lawmaker Arliss Sturgulewski wrote: “Proposition 1 is one of the most divisive, harmful initiatives I’ve seen on the ballot in our beloved city…Let’s be clear: Proposition 1 targets transgender individuals who want to safely and privately use public facilities, just like the rest of us. Most transgender individuals have been harassed using public restrooms, and many have been physically assaulted…”. I’d really like to see data that supports the repeated claim that trans identified men (presenting as women) are routinely assaulted in public bathrooms. Does anyone have these numbers? And even if that were the case why must women be the ones to accommodate ‘trans-women’? Doesn’t it make more sense to invest in a campaign to educate men not to assault other men in dresses?

  • It seems we don’t know right and wrong anymore, but this one is a no brainer. Get the word out, the vast majority of Alaskans will not support forcing women’s shelters to take men. Let’s take it to the state level.

    Also in that unanimous vote by the business leaders of anchorage, I see a couple of folks that work for rural native corporations. For example the Dimond Center Hotel which is owned by SNA. They are by and large conservative. I wonder if they know about this.

  • You asked for it, you got it. Transgender men deserve to have unfettered access to women’s shelters, bathrooms, and locker rooms. Transgender males also deserve the right to compete in women’s sports, get underutilized female status for jobs, and take any other protected status that women currently have. Yeah… that makes sense!

  • fgxtrse7n3gfdrtk;’./5y s? DF∆†˚99ç˚¬.?&O

  • You erased my original comment a pop up said I was posting too fast?????? I’ve never posted here and I had only written one comment WTF. Now it’s gone thanks for that I’ll never comment here again. Fix your stupid system

  • A transgender person told me 2 years ago that “women are a protected class” due to equal rights laws passed years ago

    If true, where is the protection for these abused women?

    Does the protection of Samantha supersede the rights of these abused & homeless women?

  • This is such a horrific situation for the women at the shelter, both clients and staff alike. They already have to deal with drug dealers and sex-trafficking recruiters sneaking in and endangering the vulnerable women there. Now they have to battle this? Our country has grossly abused our freedoms. To think that men and women are giving their lives to protect these “rights”…disgusting! I hope God-fearing, sensible people will get out there and vote, then PRAY!

    • So Angela have you served in our militRy? I served for 4 years and I’m a transgender mtf. So I’m disgusting huh. Maybe you should shut the hell up and live your life like the lord has said in his book. Treat overs like you wanna be treated.

  • Can you please confirm if this will be on the AERC agenda this week?

  • I know Samantha, and while she may be struggling with mental health issues, she certainly deserves to be treated with respect. She both identifies as and presents as female, and the intolerant and bigoted tone and bias in which this author wrote this piece made me so sad and angry for trans people living in our community.

  • People with mental health issues certainly deserve compassion, “Kendra”.

    Compassion does not include being untruthful nor does it include putting others in the way of harm physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

    Labelling others as intolerant, bigoted and biased is just generic name calling.

    An obvious question would be why you yourself did not provide accommodation to an individual you know (or merely know of).

    Inability or unwillingness are obvious responses (including financial and physical circumstances, own family’s health and survival requirements, understanding that you are not the one best equipped to assist in this situation).

    The thus far unanswered question: why did this individual not seek assistance from you? Why weren’t you their first port in the storms of life?

    What was it about this particular place of refuge that was so attractive to the individual?
    What does this refuge have that you would be unable or unwilling to provide?
    Do you believe that violent requests should be acceded to in all situations regardless of the consequences for others and the effect on the individual’s health?

    Deep and truthful answers would be welcome. Generic name calling is not.