DMV Sued by Transgender Woman Over Privacy

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on February 23, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Though no one enjoys going to the DMV, it's rare that anyone experiences more pain than that of boredom. Enter Thomas Demartini, one DMV employee you hope never calls your number.

Amber Yust, the woman behind headlines proclaiming "Transgender Woman Sues DMV," moved to San Francisco a few months ago. Having recently changed her name, it was time to get a new driver's license. While at the local office, Ms. Yust met Thomas Demartini, the clerk who handled her application.

Four days later, Amber Yust received a letter from Thomas Demartini, as well as a package from My Holy Family Monastery, a fundamentalist Catholic group. The letter from Demartini called Yust "an abomination" and states that he does not believe the state's approval of her name change makes Yust less evil. The package from the Monastery contained a DVD, which according to Mercury News, was titled "Death and the Journey Into Hell."

It turns out that Thomas Demartini had recorded Amber Yust's contact information and shared it with outside hate groups.

In fact, Amber Yust is not the only transgender woman harassed by Thomas Demartini. Yust's attorneys at The Dolan Law Firm point to a 2009 incident where he refused to serve a transgender woman who was also changing her name. He proceeded to tell her she was going to hell.

Every state has regulations in place to protect citizens' private information. Failing to protect that information can result in civil penalties and potentially jail time for the employee. Though Amber Yust is suing the DMV for violating her privacy rights, there's another angle to this case--discrimination.

California prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Why wasn't Thomas Demartini fired for the first incident? And does this open up the DMV to an even bigger lawsuit? Stay tuned to FindLaw's Law and Daily Life as this case develops.

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