Rep. Lujan Grisham's office faces discrimination claims | KOB 4
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Rep. Lujan Grisham's office faces discrimination claims

The Associated Press
December 12, 2017 10:22 PM

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A recent New Mexico college graduate says she was fired from an internship in U.S. Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham's office because she is transgender.

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Riley Del Rey tells the Santa Fe New Mexican she's coming forward nearly three years after the internship because of the wave of news about harassment and discrimination. She says missing from the debate are the views of transgender people.

Lujan Grisham said through a spokesman that neither she nor her office would discriminate against anyone.

Lujan Grisham's office referred questions to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the nonprofit organization where Del Rey worked briefly.

The institute denied the discrimination claims. It declined to elaborate on the allegations but confirmed she was an intern in 2015 and did not finish the program.

Lujan Grisham is running for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in New Mexico.

The congresswoman's office provided this statement:

Congresswoman Lujan Grisham is a leader in Congress and in New Mexico for LGBTQ rights.  Throughout her career, she has worked to repeal discriminatory laws, eliminate hate-motivated violence, and improve the health and well-being of all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

She is a member of the House LGBT Equality Caucus; introduced legislation to prohibit President Trump from unconstitutionally banning transgender Americans from serving in our military; advocated for and specifically sponsored legislation on behalf of Anthony Gonzalez, who was unfairly denied Social Security survivor benefits after his husband passed away; and cosponsored the Equality Act in order to prohibit employment, housing, credit, and education discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Further, she ensures her office operates with those same values.  She is the only elected leader to pay for her staff to receive Safe Zone Training from UNM’s LGBTQ Resource Center.  And also had her staff receive more specialized training through the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico. 

Our office takes the rights of the LGBTQ community very seriously and we are dumbfounded by any suggestion that we would discriminate against anyone for any reason.  Our office treats every person who interacts with our office with dignity and respect, regardless of their LGBTQ status, age, national origin, religion, disability, political orientation or any other factor.  In fact, our office has had an on-going positive and productive relationship with Riley after her internship, which we intend to continue.

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The Associated Press

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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