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Mom of Transvestite Awarded $2.9M

December 12, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A jury on Friday awarded $2.9 million in damages to the mother of a transvestite who died from injuries received in a traffic accident after District of Columbia paramedics refused to treat him.

The Superior Court jury ruled that the paramedics were negligent and violated the human rights of Tyrone ``Tyra″ Hunter, 24, in stopping treatment after realizing that he was a man dressed in women’s clothing.

``It really wasn’t about money. It was about justice,″ said Hunter’s mother, Margie, who had sued the city for $10 million. Her son died after a car in which he was a passenger was struck by another car in southeast Washington on Aug. 7, 1995.

Witnesses testified during the trial that the D.C. Fire Department paramedics ridiculed Hunter, a hairdresser, and stopped treating him for five to seven minutes after realizing that he was in drag.

That was a violation of the D.C. Human Rights Act, which protects citizens from discrimination against, among other things, sexual orientation and personal appearance, Mrs. Hunter’s lawyer, Richard Silber, argued.

``The jury seemed to be extremely affected by what happened at the accident scene,″ Silber said.

Jurors also ruled that Hunter received negligent care at D.C. General Hospital at the hands of Dr. Joseph A. Bastien.

Silber criticized the doctor for failing to drain blood that pooled near Hunter’s heart and for failing to give him blood needed to supply his body with oxygen.

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