Woman forced from fed building for lesbian shirt

Minority GroupsNational SecurityCompensation and BenefitsDefenseU.S. Department of Homeland Security

A woman wearing a T-shirt promoting lesbianism said she was forced the leave a federal building Monday by a security guard who didn't approve of her attire.

Lapriss Gilbert said she was picking up a Social Security card for her son when the guard was offended by her "lesbian.com" shirt and threatened her with arrest.

She was eventually allowed inside after her mother called police, according to a Los Angeles Daily News story.

The guard, whose name was not immediately available, works for Paragon Security, which contracts with the Department of Homeland Security.

Lori Haley, a spokeswoman within the Homeland Security Department, said the guard's actions were inappropriate and unacceptable.

"We have notified his company, Paragon, of our position in the matter," Haley said.

A message left with Paragon Security was not immediately returned Monday night.

Gilbert said the guard cited a document, the Rules and Regulations Governing Conduct on Federal Property, as proof he had jurisdiction over her clothing. The document does not address what type of clothing is allowed in federal buildings.

Gilbert called the guard's actions "shocking."

"As an African-American and a lesbian, I haven't been through one day without facing some sort of discrimination," Gilbert said.

Her mother called police after Gilbert was kicked out, but another security guard escorted her to the front of the Social Security line before officers arrived, the Daily News reported.

According to a police report, a witness described Gilbert as "peaceful and quiet" before the guard told her to leave.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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