Transgender Woman Sues Area Police for Discrimination

Panama City - Last year a Bay County woman won an appeal on her grand theft convictions. Now she's suing the state attorney's office and two area police departments claiming they discriminated against her because she's a transgender woman.

Erica Kay Used to help operate an interior decorating business. In 2007, clients accused her of stealing their money without doing the work they paid for. She was convicted and sentenced to five-years probation. But Kay appealed claiming she was the victim of discrimination. Kay says a disgruntled former employee circulated old tabloid articles that outted her as a transgender woman.

Now she's suing the Panama City Police Department, Parker Police Department and State Attorney's Office. She claims the agencies repeatedly listed her gender improperly, despite the fact she'd verified it to authorities multiple times. She says this caused confusion and humiliation in court and in jail.

She also says a warrant for her arrest was left active for more than a year after her conviction was overturned. She says she thinks this was to cause further humiliation.

All the defendants declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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