Mid June '97 GenderNews EXTRA

CONTACT: Riki Anne Wilchins, (212) 645-1753,
Online Editor: Clare Howell,

Transexual Man Convicted on Rape Charge

ENDA Re-introduced -- No Coverage for Gender

PA Court Holds Transexuals Not Protected Against Discrimination


[Pasco, WA: 16 Jun 97] IN A CASE immediately reminiscent of Sean O'Neill, Christopher Wheatley, a 20-year-old transexual man, has been convicted of 3rd degree rape in Franklin County Superior Court for having sex with a 15-year-old girl. He was sentenced to 27 months in prison on April 29th.

A local newspaper reported that the 15-year-old told police she believed Wheatley was a male and didn't realize he was using a strap-on penis until they had had sex several times. Seeing the newspaper story, another 15-year-old girl came forward to make similar allegations. Wheatley is currently imprisoned in Pasco awaiting prosecution on the second charge.

Members of the local Washington State transgender community and the nationwide male transexual community have issued appeals for support. Inquiries can be addressed to Tonye Barreto-Neto, (813)752-9226, or

Wheatley, who began transitioning 2 years ago, has been taking hormones and says he intends to seek sexual reassignment surgery. Transactivists have questioned whether Wheatley is receiving adequate legal representation because he pled guilty in the first case and his new lawyer, Public Defender Daniel Arnold, has refused to acknowledge Wheatley's transexualism, maintaining that his client is in denial.

In the case of Sean O'Neill, a Colorado Springs District Attorney charged him with multiple counts of rape and pedophilia for sexual encounters with two underage girls -- both were teenagers -- while Mr. O'Neill was 19. O'Neill's attorneys advised him to plead guilty after the DA stacked the charges so that he faced up to 40 years in prison. However, they successfully made his transexual status an issue at the sentencing, and he was later sentenced to only 90 days in the local jail.

Contact: Tonye Barreto-Neto, (813)752-9226,
GenderTalk fallowup:
Help Needed

Transactivist David Schreier asks for legal help. If you are licensed to practice law in Washington State or know someone who is, please contact David at or (253) 859-1053.

Expressions of support for Chris, who is still locked up in isolation as of 6/25/97, can be sent to:

Chris Wheatley
7320 W. Quinault, Pod M
Kennewick, WA 99336.


[Washington, DC: 23 Jun 97] THE HUMAN RIGHTS Campaign reintroduced its Employment Non- Discrimination Bill (ENDA) again. As in past years, the bill's covers only sexual orientation but not gender expression.

The reaction in many parts of the transcommunity was negative and vocal, as in previous years. This year New Orleans activists, led by their gay, lesbian, and bisexual counterparts, have publicly threatened to boycott area HRC fundraisers unless the organization makes strides toward becoming more transinclusive.


[New York, NY: 17 Jun 97] THE PENNSYLVANIA Commonwealth Court affirmed that a person discriminated against because of his or her transexual status is not protected by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA). The Lesbian/Gay Law Notes reports that in July 1992, Kristine Holt began a medically supervised transition from male to female, which necessitated that she begin dressing and presenting herself as a woman. She was subsequently transferred to another office and fired for allegedly violating the employer's dress code.

Holt filed a compliant alleging that her firing violated PHRA. The court ruled that Holt has no claim under the act. On appeal, Justice Pellegrini, writing for the majority, affirmed the trials court's decision. He ruled that a person seeking protection under PHRA must demonstrate a physical or mental disability that substantially limits one or more of life's major activities, and that transexualism does not fall within that definition.

In dissent, Justice Collins suggests that Holt should be allowed to make a case that she falls within the class protected by PHRA, contending that transexualism may be a physiological disorder that effects Holt's essential life activities and functions, which would make it applicable to the PHRA.

(c) 1997 InYourFace, an online, news-only service for gender activism.
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June '97
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April '97
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