Former Montebello detective sues city, alleging gender discrimination in vaccine exemptions
A former detective in Montebello was recently told by city officials that he must remove his transgender rights advocacy group from Facebook because she’s not a woman.
Johana Mendia, a former detective in the Montebello Police Department, alleges that the city is discriminating against her because she has been a trans woman since 2012.
In 2013, the city removed the rights group, which was called Montebello Pride, from Facebook but told Mendia to keep her page alive online so she could continue to raise awareness around transgender issues.
“It’s clear in this case you have the right and responsibility to take a trans person’s rights to the streets and fight what happens in your community,” Montebello Deputy Police Chief Dan Breslin told Mendia on Sept. 15, according to the complaint filed Oct. 18.
After she was told to stop talking about transgender issues on Facebook, Mendia says in her lawsuit, she was “discriminated against in violation of her rights under the California and United States Constitutions.”
“By limiting their advocacy activities, the City has put itself in direct opposition to the interests of the trans community and has violated its own non-discrimination policy,” Mendia alleges in her complaint.
Montebello is a city of over 7,000 in the South Bay region, roughly 40 miles north of San Francisco. City officials told the Mercury News that Mendia is suing Montebello based on a private agreement that was made between the city and her rights group.
“The city of Montebello is bound by a contract with Mendia that stipulated that ‘no city employee shall advocate, participate in or otherwise support or endorse any action on behalf of the City of Montebello’ in light of its non-discrimination policy,” Breslin said in a statement. “I can confirm the city has acted in good faith.”
The city did not provide further information in a statement.
Breslin said the city has already made changes so Mendia cannot continue to use Facebook, which has more users than it did at time