A woman was forced to leave a government building in California because she was wearing a ‘lesbian.com’ tshirt.
Los Angeles Daily News reports that Lapriss Gilbert, 31, was stopped by a security guard when she tried to enter the Social Security office. The security guard said that Gilbert’s tshirt, which named an educational and resource Web site for gay women, was offensive.
“As an African-American and a lesbian, I haven’t been through one day without facing some sort of discrimination … but this is just shocking,” said Gilbert.
She said the guard, who works for a private company hired by the Department of Homeland Security, demanded that she leave the building or face arrest.
After being kicked out of the federal building, Gilbert called her mother, Tanya Gilbert, a longtime activist for gay rights.
When Tanya Gilbert arrived on the scene she called the Los Angeles Police Department to protest her daughter’s removal. But before four Los Angeles police officers and one federal agent arrived, Lapriss was told she could come back into the building.
Paul Dumont saw the incident and made a statement to the police, in which he said the guard’s “loud, unreasonable, aggressive and angry approach to the situation almost caused chaos.”
“For her to be told to leave was completely unnecessary, especially considering how peaceful and quiet she was responding the security officers,” said Dumont. “Nobody in that office felt her T-shirt was offensive by any means.”
Lori Haley, a federal spokeswoman for the office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement – which is under the Homeland Security umbrella – said the guard was out of line: “We believe that the actions of the contract security guard were inappropriate and unacceptable – we have notified his company, Paragon, of our position in the matter.”