NEW YORK – A phone repair worker who is in transition from male to female said Tuesday that she was arrested three times by transit police in the last six months for using the women's restroom at Grand Central Terminal.
Helena Stone, 70, said an officer called her "a freak, a weirdo and the ugliest woman in the world" and warned her, "If I ever see you in the women's bathroom, I'm going to arrest you."
"I said, 'That's the only bathroom I use,"' Stone said at a rally and news conference. "'That's who I am."'
Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Tom Kelly said later that the charges against Stone would be dropped and the matter had been resolved.
"There is an investigation into how this took place, and we will take whatever steps are necessary to avoid a similar situation in the future," Kelly said.
Stone's lawyer, Michael Silverman of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, said he was not aware of the decision to drop the charges against Stone but he welcomed it.
"We're delighted to hear the offer," said Silverman, who joined Stone and about 20 supporters across from Grand Central on 42nd Street.
Stone said she has worked for Verizon and its predecessor for 37 years and has been in transition from male to female for about 10 years.
In August of last year she was assigned to repair the pay phones at Grand Central, where, she said, harassment by MTA officers "started slowly and began to mount."
She was arrested on disorderly conduct charges on Sept. 29, on Dec. 17 and on Jan. 12. The arrests occurred as she tried to use the women's restrooms at the station, she said, and since then she has been forced to use a cup in her office, which has no bathroom.
Silverman said he had filed complaints on Stone's behalf with the MTA police and with the city Commission on Human Rights, whose guidelines say that restrooms must be available to transgender people "consistent with their gender identity or gender expression."