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[personal profile] roketsune

Updated 28 March 2017


Addendum 1 As Trump was elected and he has deemed it favorable to appoint some of the most inept and anti-LGBT people he could find to fill cabinet positions (the people who lead various federal agencies), AND the Democrats failed to stop their confirmations (I thought for sure they'd filibuster), some of what I wrote is or will soon become outdated. I believe housing and HUD is unaffected and might not change during his tenure, but much or most of everything else regarding federal agencies is or will soon be outdated. I will make appropriate revisions in the future.

Federal court interpretation I doubt has changed or will change in the near future, though if Trump's nominees for vacancies follow the same track as cabinet ministers, this will be jeopardized. It'll still be an option, but the rate of failure will rise since a higher proportion of judges will be bigoted Republicans.

Addendum 2 Much of this will need to be revised to reflect my greater literary and tactical proficiency and awareness. I was less perceptive and less experienced last year, and have gained much experience and insight since then.

Addendum 3 The EEOC and HUD are on the same track now that they were during Obama (though some circuits momentarily are against the EEOC on sexual orientation). However, Trump and Sessions fucked us over royally regarding Title IX's enforcement by the DoE and DoJ. While one may still sue (and it seems successfully) via Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 in federal court, the DoJ and DoE seems to have withdrawn from the process.

I don't know the federal processes and regulations well enough to predict competently, but Sessions and the DoJ could soon conspire with Carson from HUD to end their transgender/GNC protections as well. I've read HUD cannot change its policies as readily as other agencies, and the NYT article did say Sessions needed the other one's cooperation, so maybe my and other transpeoples' HUD cases will continue undisrupted until their natural conclusion. I'm definitely uneasy, though.


Discrimination: Wartime Mobilization and Maneuvering

Well, fuck this shit! You were minding your own business and generally being awesome, and someone came along and demanded you not be an overt femboy and/or whatever else, and you were reasonable, and yet they won't cease destabilizing your life. You are now more or less forced to declare war, and will possibly have to stare them down in federal court at some point. This is going to consume a huge proportion of your time and mental energy at the onset, and intermittently for however long it goes. Hopefully you have a great case and the relevant agency's personnel are worth a damn and will fight this for you in court if/when it reaches that point. Preferably, the opposing entity will soon recognize the error of their ways and your life was not seriously upset. Quite possibly, you have lost a great deal and you two will be irreconcilable enemies to the bitter end. Either way, this information should help.


Making a Formal Complaint With the Government

This process depends very massively on what general area the offending company falls into. I laid out the responsible agencies and empowering laws in a previous chapter. So, my comments will be brief. Sometimes you can go immediately to the respective agency, and sometimes you need to attempt a less drastic manner of resolution before you are able to file a complaint. In a few scenarios, you can actually complain to multiple agencies for the same offense, such as if you work for a federally funded school with 15 or more employees. The applicable agencies and laws have their own regulations on such things as timeframes and procedures and remedies. HUD is mandated to either conclude an investigation within 100 days or formally explain why this deadline cannot be met, while the DoE appears to take potentially much longer. You might not even be working with a federal agency because your state or city actually gives a fuck about its LGBT citizens. In general, they are all empowered to- and prefer to- seek less aggressive and peaceful resolutions with those you are having a problem with. If a suitable arrangement can be reached which all parties find acceptable, the matter is settled then, and the agency/DoJ can later take the violator to court if the contract is broken. If not, if it is deemed discrimination took place, it can be referred to the DoJ or some equivalent agency and prosecuted in civil (in rare cases, criminal) court. Keep in mind, though, the EEOC apparently very rarely takes someone to court on the victim's behalf.

If the HUD process is any indication of the usual process, you will first be contacted by some sort of intake department, where they record people's general allegations and determine whether they allegations would fall under their jurisdiction. Then it would be actively investigated, and this is when you will be expending great amounts of energy and time (at least you should be) interpreting and explaining your evidence to the investigator. You will want to relay what the critical parts are and why, but also present the entire conversations (you probably will have to upload the files and link them, rather than send them via e-mail directly) rather than merely fragments. Judges and investigators need to hear the entire correspondence to establish context and such.

During or just before the investigative phase, the option for a peaceful non-lawsuit resolution will be available to both parties, and will be pursued if you and they wish this. If one or both of you elect to give the middle finger to the notion of peace and conciliation, war it shall be. I cannot advise you on whether to do this as the combination of variables and possibilities are innumerable. I will say, these can be enforced through government court order if violated, and it may very well be ideal to accept an agreement which protects your gender non-conformity and your position at whatever and wherever rather than seek monetary damage and the satisfaction of defeating an enemy in a series of battles. In my situation, given the disruption caused and my need to depart regardless, I wouldn't have accepted less than monetary damages and a proper relocation timetable, and her refusal to do more than give only a month and moving costs made a decision to pursue war to the bitter end very easy to make.

Remember all that audio evidence I very strongly insisted you record for future use? Well, if you have not done it by now, you have the pleasure (meaning, the reverse) of listening to all of the relevant parts, scribing the general course of the conversation and the moments which are useful, determining the parts which are imperative and why, scribing a few of the most impactful quotes and times to quickly catch an investigator's attention and make their job easier, writing a general in-depth summary of the files' contents and reasons they are pertinent, and then replaying and ruminating on the crucial parts a fucking maddeningly high number of times over a course of days or even months. I was having new realizations on what I had many weeks after I recorded them and sent off a detailed explanation of the audio files! Of course, you also need to process, explain, and send written and other correspondence as well, and do the same with other manners of evidence.

Remember that you not only need to prove discriminatory intent and action, but also that the entity you are accusing is not exempt from these laws. The Fair Housing Act, Title VII, Title IX, etc, do NOT ban discrimination in those areas absolutely. There are usually exemptions within those laws. The exemptions in the FHA are very complicated and in reality very few would be considered exempt. If the landlord advertised the place on Craig's List but meets all other applicable conditions, it's not exempt, for example, and presenting an ad of that nature would prove your claim. Title VII only covers employers who have 15 or more employees generally, so you may wish to prove employee numbers if your employer is small. Whatever your situation is, make sure you understand the exemptions as well as the prohibitions, and do what you can to prove they don't meet the exemption standards.


Demeanor and Character: Ignore These At Your Extreme Peril

Unfortunately, a case isn't merely decided by cold and hard facts and evidence, as scientific theories are. Such facts and evidence per se can indeed prove a crime was committed, but the behavior and general likeability of the two combatants will factor into what compensation will be awarded. In other cases, some inference and weighing of trustworthiness favorable to the plaintiff/complainant will be necessary for an accusation to be upheld at all. This section is even more urgent during a trial, but the results of an investigation will to some degree affect the outcome of a trial and even who has to start one, so I placed it here.

There are three general aspects of you and your opponent (as well as witnesses) people will rate and consider when they ponder the case and various evidence: Objectivity, Honor, and Personality. They determine how accurately they are perceiving and describing things, whether they are being truthful and exerting themselves to ensure they don't make incorrect claims, and how agreeable and compatible they are with people. The third category can affect their perception of your own perception and how justified your enemy was in taking adverse action.

Objectivity is very good in general, but it is especially important when your claims and interpretations cannot be irrefutably proven by evidence alone. If you are perceived as very rational and not prone to emotional outbursts or emotionally influenced beliefs, the person/court will be more likely to take your word on something. Being very thorough and unemotional when giving testimony and freely admitting things which are favorable to your enemy when confronted with such questions will facilitate this. Honor is even more important, as neither investigators nor courts take kindly to those who deliberately misrepresent aspects of the case, or who behaved dishonorably with the other belligerent during or preceding the discrimination. Always exert yourself greatly to ensure whatever you accuse the enemy of is correct, and never give into the impulse to torment the other party or make things easier for you by lying or dissolving an agreement. If your enemy does this first, use it as character evidence!

Personality is a factor I have unpleasantly collided with when trying to have HUD investigate my case and proving my case to a magistrate. The landlord's strategy largely consisted of maximizing my apparent weirdness to others even to the point of blatant and willful exaggeration. Furthermore, my very elaborate and precise manner of speaking to the investigator, combined with me addressing at length what furrydom was and how it is incorporated into my attire, quite possibly amplified this to the point the investigator herself became prejudiced and assumed I was just too strange and that was why I was evicted. If the general perception of the investigator, judge, jury, etc., is that you are unsettlingly unusual or generally abrasive or otherwise dislikeable, then they are liable to believe a general incompatibility with others either was the true reason for the adverse action, or it was a secondary factor and thus the punishment should be lowered. My fashion choices, me being a furry, and my normal manner of speaking all will heighten the risk of people concluding I'm unsettlingly unusual and perhaps somewhat of a jerk about everything, so this aspect will be my weakest of the three going into any trial.

I would guess the average person would have little or zero deficiency in this area. If you're autistic or openly a furry or brony or whatever else, even if you have high social intelligence and are courteous to people, your enemy will likely try to capitalize on them and exaggerate how offputting you actually are, both deflecting the underlying discrimination accusation and establishing a mitigating factor even if they are found guilty. You would be well advised to defend yourself with hard and witness evidence, and to counterstroke by pointing out the enemy's personality flaws, especially if they were threatening and belligerent when you started asserting yourself. The more damage you can do to the perception of the enemy, the stronger your position becomes. Of course, I don't suggest you stoop to their level and assert things you know to be untrue, or use 'low blows'.


Countering Attacks Based on Broniness/Furriness

Since this general treatise was written with bronies and furries such as myself at the forefront of my mind, I will write a section about how they should best counter these assaults on their Personality level. If you are neither one of these, it might assist you anyway if some aspect of you is inherently similar. Anyway, if you are openly a furry or a brony, this might be one way your enemy will counterattack. Even if you don't pester people about it and only discuss it when it's relevant to a conversation or asked, it is possible this will be used as a tactic, especially if someone took an intense disliking to you about it and is a loyalist of the enemy. Probably this would be a likely scenario only in an apartment or shared house living arrangement because you can dress however you want there and this is where various aspects are most on display generally. However, it might come up in an employment situation. This section is written with the assumption you have indeed not been creepy and intrusive about this. If you have, I encourage you to eradicate that terrible social tendency post haste for your own and everyone else's welfare.

This almost certainly will not be the centerpiece of their strategy, so you probably won't need to spend much time explaining this to an investigator (or on the stand if it is brought up there). How much time you spend would depend on how openly and heavily furry or brony you are. If you dress as I do ordinarily, you will need to spend some more time explaining this and how it is incorporated into your outfits or presentation, especially if the enemy is denying gender discrimination and asserting it was furry/brony discrimination instead. If your situation is covered by an all-inclusive law which prohibits discrimination for any irrelevant reason, your position will be stronger.

For furrydom, my explanation to those who ask is the following: "Furrydom is a community of people who are enthusiasts of anthropomorphic characters, such as Disney's Robin Hood and Zootopia. Our subculture is very creative and has the highest number of artists per capita. Generally, each of us chooses a species we most identify with and create a primary personal character, and this 'fursona' and species is how we present to other furries." It doesn't take much to explain furrydom on a basic level. For bronydom, my response would be, "Bronydom is a community of people who are enthusiasts of the newest My Little Pony series: Friendship is Magic. The aesthetical qualities of the characters and artwork, the quality of the storyline, and the primary lessons of friendship and tolerance are the main reasons we are drawn to the show and its universe."

I extremely strongly advise you to NOT preemptively refute negative stereotypes. Denying furries tend to have sex in fursuits or denying bronies are pedophiles before those things are even mentioned or asked about will just raise suspicions and make you seem ill at ease about being yourself. If sexual aspects of either subculture are raised, calmly state there are pornographic elements there just as there are in any other subculture or any other concept. There is far less sexualization in bronydom, so, for furrydom, you might go as far as saying furries are comfortable with sexual expression relative to societal norms, but it is not the primary impetus for the subculture's existence. Again, only address a misconception or stereotype if the enemy has used it against you and you are asked for an explanation. Likely the questioning won't be more personal than that if you haven't been creepy as fuck about it. If it is, it probably is best to respond with affrontedness and decline to answer. If it's in a courtroom, I imagine your lawyer would immediately object and probably the judge would uphold it (meaning you are not to answer it).

Finally, I suggest you try to incorporate these traits and fashion choices into your gender discrimination case by explaining such things as plushies and adorable animal artwork and a MLP interest are seen as effeminate, or at least acceptable for females to have/wear. If you were female, while these things might be unusual, they wouldn't cause nearly the same discomfort or revulsion as they would for males. You are being treated differently on the basis of sex because you are wearing/interested in things which are considered unmanly and inappropriate for males, which is in essence the rationale for adding gender identity and sexual orientation to the Sex category interpretation. While gender non-conformity most often refers to wearing female clothing and having feminine mannerisms, it includes anything which is atypical for your biological gender. Your precise fashion choices being unusual for either gender does not invalidate a gender discrimination claim, especially since you are getting even more flak for it as a male. Additionally, it is related to gender discrimination because it is amplifying the prejudice people have against male crossdressers. Alone it might be a problem for some people, but combined they have a synergistic effect on bigots. Relay these concepts to the investigator and your lawyer, and instruct your lawyer to incorporate this into your side's counter-offensive strategy if/when the enemy makes it pertinent.


The Home Front: FHA and the HUD Mechanism

As housing is very important and I have a heightened familiarity with this area due to being plunged into war with a landlord AND an investigator, I will add a sub-section specifically about that so that all who are having to fight on their Home Front may benefit maximally. This part somewhat works in concert with the next section since you likely will be having to do both. As this saga is continuing to unfold, I will update this substantially in the future as I acquire more experience and knowledge. This is the process as explained by HUD.


Complaint and Intake

Depending on where you live, you may be working with a partner of HUD rather than HUD itself. While everyone is subject to the FHA and federal (HUD, the courts) interpretation of it, not all housing agencies interpret Sex the same way the federal system does for some reason. Thus, in many areas, going to a local or state housing discrimination agency would be futile. If you are in one of those areas, HUD will retain jurisdiction and do the investigation themselves. If you live in an area where the law/agency uses the same or better definition of Sex/Gender, or specifically includes gender identity and sexual orientation, HUD will instead relay your case to them. Only if they refuse to take it or delay substantially will HUD assert responsibility and reclaim the case.

There are several ways to file a complaint. My online complaint didn't even make it to the system, so I advise you to mail or personally visit if possible. Either way, I advise you to call their intake department and ensure it actually is in the system. If you have been threatened with or have had started eviction proceedings, emphasize that in your complaint and in your follow-up call to intake so they are more likely to expedite the process. Their investigation won't be expedited this rapidly probably, but the time before intake starts on it may well be reduced from 6-8 weeks to 1 or less if it's an urgent case. You will then be called by some intake department person and will be asked various questions about the discriminatory acts and the apparent motivation. Assuming you are a femboy rather than a random person led here by a Google search or whatever, you would assert the basis of discrimination is Sex and gender non-conformity. Unless you or the intake person catastrophically fuck this up, it should be determined to fall under their (or a lower level partner) jurisdiction rapidly. You will then need to sign the complaint and then send it back (this can be done in several ways, including e-mail), though do make sure there are no severe errors before doing so.


Investigation

This is the manual investigators are supposed to use when they investigate a case. Whether they follow HUD's doctrine and procedures is another matter (mine certainly didn't). Read this to understand what to expect from them, and also use as a basis for appealing a decision if the investigator botched the job. Anyway, eventually, this department is supposed to receive the case, a staff member assigned to it, and then pursue it. If there seems to be an abnormally long delay between intake and investigation, call or e-mail the intake staffer to inquire. Mine was expedited, and the time between when the first documents were sent and when the decision is made was ~70 days. So, expect this to consume at least as much time. They have a 100-day standard, meaning from the "filing of the complaint" (I surmise that means when someone first complains, rather than when this level starts work on it) there must be a decision rendered or letters sent to the parties explaining why this cannot be done. As my case and my presentation of it were abnormally complex and this started for real just before Christmas, had it not been given higher priority, mine quite possibly would have taken longer. So, I suggest you expect to not have a HUD decision and any overwhelming pressure on the enemy in the form of a federal lawsuit for a minimum of 100 days. However, a pending investigation in local court may convince the judge to suspend a decision, so HUD may assist you indirectly this way in the interim.

What the investigator actually elects to do is unpredictable, but, they are supposed to have at least an initial and a final meeting with you, and preferably at least some face-to-face interaction ordinarily (mine called me once and never visited me). Mine called me after I read and then responded to the many requests for information, but yours might call you first. Arrange for at least an hour for the conversation, preferably two if it is abnormally long (mine lasted ~90 mins). It is imperative that you have worked out the critical things to relay and to emphasize to this person, especially if you have done what I advised and have a great deal of information they must analyze. Remember that even if they are highly competent and intelligent, they are still an outsider to this conflict and its prelude, and thus cannot possibly acquire as great an understanding and recollection of it as you. They may forget or overlook a critical and decisive piece of evidence, or misconstrue something so that it seems innocuous or minor when it is vital. Thus, both in the interviews and via e-mail, raise and reiterate these things if there is any possibility they are not aware. Construct for them the series of events which constitute actionable discrimination, and always link each event to a specific piece of evidence if possible. Include as well aggravating factors so that the investigative staff's impression of the enemy's Objectivity, Honor, and Personality will fall and so the legal section will have more to work with when arguing your case. Honestly, you should operate under the assumption your investigator is somewhat stupid and you should thus make it nearly impossible for them to overlook or misunderstand the most vital parts of your case (though that still didn't help me). Barrage them mercilessly with information which will enhance your case, while also enabling them to see relatively easily discrimination has taken place by re-emphasizing the critical components in one document or e-mail.

Also, your investigator will probably handle conciliation if one or both of you are desirous of this. Pretty much, you can get from this manner of resolution what you could from trial, if not even more. This is essentially an end to the war through a peace treaty rather than fight until one side is totally defeated. HUD and the other agencies seem to by default prefer conciliation and are supposed to encourage it within certain bounds, though one or both can refuse to settle it this way without penalty. This very nicely expounds on the concept and how they are supposed to pursue it. If your investigator rules against you and she/he did very little to facilitate or encourage conciliation, you might be able to use it as a basis for appealing. If your opponent seems amenable to providing whatever it is you need or see as necessary for atonement, I would suggest you end this at this stage to prevent figurative bloodshed for both sides.


Success: Reinforcements Will Arrive!

If you have performed sufficiently and they aren't fuck-ups, the investigator and their superiors will conclude discrimination has taken place. Read Steps 6-8 to see what they say on this. I hope to actually get to this point and thus have direct experience and observation to relay. For now, I'll give my impression as naturally talented strategist.

I am sure their ALJ option is more rapid, and I suspect less complicated and overwhelming. However, I also suspect the potential rewards are lower and it is less hospitable to a very complex case presentation. Note that in both HUD's summary and the full FHA is included the word 'punitive' when listing the various forms of recompense for the federal trial option, but not for the HUD ALJ option. An ALJ apparently is within HUD's apparatus, as is the mechanism for a first appeal. I suspect, regardless of whether there are attendant disadvantages, the chief advantage here is rapidity of resolution. They are exhorted by the FHA to start the hearing 120 days after a charge is issued or explain in writing why this cannot be achieved, and the judge is similarly exhorted to make a decision 60 days after the end of the trial or explain why this cannot happen. Assuming my hunches about damage limitation and speed are correct, it would be advantageous for you to consent to an ALJ option if you don't expect much or any punitive damages, don't have an extremely complex case to present, and/or you are becoming exhausted and need the war to end more rapidly. I presume these would be same reasons the enemy would consent to this method, with the addition of having lower attorney's fees (you would have a lawyer provided gratis).

Whether you have to file a lawsuit yourself or have HUD and the DoJ do it, I would assume it will require much more time for it to be processed and be conducted. I would hope it would at least get to trial within a year, but I have no way of knowing at this time. If your landlord was being an unmitigated prick or you need there to be a process conducive to complex evidence and the analysis of such, you might want to decide on a federal trial. Remember that there is the option to have a case heard by a jury and that IIRC only one party needs to consent, so you will very possibly have to persuade an entire jury rather than just one highly trained judge. If your Personality level is low, especially because of your interests or other forms of eccentricity or genuinely bad things, your enemy will likely elect to have a jury trial both to delay the trial and increase their chance of victory, as they only need to persuade one random untrained person you were creepy and dislikable and that's why you were acted against. This would be harder to do with a judge (at least, I hope so) and he/she would probably convict if a sufficient case is made. This, of course, would be one reason for the victim to go with an ALJ: to preclude such a strategy.


Failure: Appealing to HUD's Senior Echelon

Addendum: My appeal was acknowledged on 28 June 2016, and approved in January 2017. So, over 6 entire months transpired between them receiving it and making a decision! Darkly amusingly, the approval letter came 1 day after Trump's inauguration. I received a new investigator from an entirely different office within my Region.

You may yet be able to garner federal reinforcements if there is deemed to be insufficient evidence. However, you will need to put in a lot more work, because now you have to make a lengthy and adroit case to their senior level using both what you already had and different information and evidence. You not just have to prove discrimination took place, but that the team overseeing your case fucked up. My case is unique. My investigator's mishandling was so extensive and so consistently detrimental to me that she had to have actually been at best antipathetically negligent. I actually proceeded to file a formal complaint of misconduct along with the appeal. If you have to appeal, I doubt you would also need to file a complaint with HUD's Inspector General. That being said...

Preferably, you will be given a final interview, and told or could infer why you are on the verge of losing. If not, use that as one reason in your appeal. In either case, you will receive a packet of documents containing a summary of the evidence reviewed by the investigator (and presumably his/her superiors), the perception of that evidence, and the precise prerequisites which were thus not met. It will also contain instructions for appealing which include reading the Final Investigative Report and where to mail it, and miscellaneous other things. I overlooked this at first and wasted 12 hours on an appeal, so I will stress this to you now: that summary is NOT the Final Investigative Report, and you need to ask for this report to receive it. I do not know why, but they do not by default send the parties the FIR. The summary of the evidence and conclusions itself was about 8 pages, and the FIR was 32. Expect to be angry and disgusted with their incompetence upon reading it, especially if your case is at all similar to mine. Especially if you are furious, if you must write an appeal right then, do NOT send it right after. You most assuredly will need to refine it regardless.

The process detailed online seems somewhat different from what was detailed in the packet. The online version states you must send just a letter requesting reconsideration, and then both parties are allowed to present evidence both new and used. The written version indicates one needs to include all of this and a detailed list of errors in the report with the request rather than after. Thus, I very highly suggest you compose and send everything at the outset, and those things that cannot be sent physically (pictures, audio files) should be linked in the document. The site states they will essentially re-investigate the whole thing, reviewing the original evidence and report as well as the new set. Whether they actually do that I cannot assert. It would be wise to assume the manpower used would be comparatively low and there will be weight given to the original findings by default. Thus, I would not list inconsequential errors, and compile a list of the significant ones in descending order of severity. Do what you can to capture their attention and interest in the first page or two, clearly describing the catastrophic errors and omissions, even giving precise quotes and times in audio evidence. If the investigator was given evidence which directly contravenes the findings and the senior official reads and sees this quickly, it should cause her/him to be quite motivated to confirm your adamant and unambiguous assertions.

The summary was awful and contained three errors which were catastrophic to my case, and the FIR was so astonishingly bad I proceeded to swear a charge of misconduct, even raising the possibility she was bribed. The investigator asserted something on two critical points which were contrary to the audio evidence, and stated in pictures I was wearing tail and paws when I was not. In my appeal which will go out tomorrow, I will seize the official's interest by quoting the part of the audio evidence verbatim which contradicts the investigator. Me saying I have the enemy (I wouldn't use that term when speaking to HUD or in a court, BTW) on tape making admissions, then quoting those admissions, will make any reasonable person seriously question the lower findings and listen to the moments in the files for themselves. Just two minutes of listening will confirm my account. I uploaded the pictures I had shown the investigator via e-mail onto Google Drive and linked the pictures in the document. If they only look at those three points of protest (and they can without any further input from me), that will be enough to persuade them. There is a section entitled "Substantial Secondary Problems" immediately below the "Critical Errors" section. The errors were so numerous I struggled to come up with an optimal way of grouping and listing them, but I did manage to do so elegantly. While they will need to confirm all of them to assert rightfully they're true, they can see very clearly why there is a contradiction or error and what it is.

Again, you probably will not actually have to file a complaint against the person, and will instead only appeal to the FHEO Director of Enforcement in DC. If you do actually have to file a misconduct complaint, my understanding is the separate HUD Office of the Inspector General has authority there. I elected to send what I created to appeal as the main body of my complaint to the regional special agent directly, using a cover letter to explain why I did that, summarize my allegations, and give contact info. I sent off the documents to both places simultaneously. Probably you will only need to appeal to FHEO. I strongly advise you to only accuse someone of misconduct or incompetence if the errors are very numerous and/or severe. Incompetence is a rather high bar, willful and malicious incompetence even higher. Accuse with insufficient cause and your Objectivity and Personality with them will certainly fall. I may on a future date upload and link my document after making various redactions, but it likely won't benefit people much since my case is so unusually terrible and complicated.


HUD Fails Entirely: The FHA Still Provides A Way of Pursuing

Generally, if a government agency declines to prosecute a case, there is still the option of suing the accused party yourself. Unless a prosecution is in progress, the ALJ ruled against you, or you have already settled with the party in conciliation, you are granted the right in the FHA to take your case to federal court. Furthermore, Section 813, Subsection B grants the judge the discretion to waive court fees and to provide a lawyer. Section 706, Subsection F, Paragraph 1 (I could just say 706-F-1 or 706 (f) (1), but I like seeing myself talk too damned much) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 grants the same right to those with employment grievances, which is great for us since the EEOC rarely does more than give a letter to the person certifying the right to sue. So, if you are poor and are unable to find an attorney or even pay the $400 in filing fees, you can petition the court for allowing you to sue 'in forma pauperis' (this applies only to court and filing fees, not to counsel), and this is a standard right anywhere. What is noteworthy about these two laws is the judge can also appoint an attorney for the plaintiff or grant continuances while they try to find one, which is generally unheard of in civil trials. I would hope by default the judge would grant at least counsel if your initial filing is well constructed.


I wouldn't be optimistic about finding meaningful assistance from organizations. My attempts to receive legal assistance from three legal organizations- including one general LGBT and one transgender- were actually worse than useless because I lost time and emotional energy for nothing in return. Lambda Legal was the worst of the three because I was given three leads which were not at all applicable to my situation or location. The lawyer who called me from Cobb Legal Aid wasn't even aware the FHA and HUD protect transgender and GNC people, and told me representation was nearly impossible. The sad reality is these organizations even when well managed are overburdened by unfortunate people who are even worse off financially and emotionally than I am. I wouldn't assert you shouldn't try, but don't expend much resources pursuing the option unless one is actually promising.

What you CAN do, however, is use a lawyer referral service for your area which will pair you with a suitable lawyer (in this case, a federal civil rights specialist) with whom you can confer for 30 or 60 mins meaningfully for $45 or whatever they charge for consultations. Be sure you compile an outline which includes a description of your case that is informative but not excessive, and also the critical and secondary questions you have. At worst, you will have received extensive advisement from an actual professional rather than a militaristic raccoonboi with too much time on his paws, and at best you will have found a lawyer who will represent you pro bono or maybe for reduced contingency fees (you pay them a set percentage only if you prevail). If and when I get to this point, I will relay my newly obtained experience and insight.

Additionally, there is a middle-road option between full pro se and full representation: legal coaching. I will cover the concepts of pro se and assisted pro se representation more extensively in a more appropriate section further down. However, this concept is akin to what I described, only they are available long-term for advice and supporting functions. If you cannot find acquire full representation but you have some spare resources, and the time and energy and intellect necessary to represent yourself in a courtroom, this would enable you to achieve maximal effectiveness and minimal blundering for a self-representation strategy.


Holding the Line in Magistrate/Small Claims Court

If you are facing eviction, there is a substantial possibility you will have to hold the line here while HUD investigates. Unless you elect to hire a lawyer or can find one to aid you for free, you will have to be the lead and sole tactician in court. Additionally, you MIGHT be able to pursue the entire discrimination claim there as well. This section will be very applicable in either situation. Some of these concepts I laid out in pre-conflict chapters.


Information is Power and is in Many Places and Forms

I stumbled upon these realizations somewhat belatedly because they're usually not immediately apparent to a layperson. Obviously, you need to understand eviction (often called 'dispossessory') laws and possibly ordinances for your area, and those can usually found online. Also online are such things as the code of regulations and standards which courts and judges must follow, certain laws governing rules of evidence and other court processes, and miscellaneous information on the local courthouse websites. However, there are books published pertaining to more advanced concepts such as legal customs and preferences for eviction/housing or whatever, something a legal code may not much or at all describe. There may be a text pertaining to just one level of court for your state. For these things, you would go to a law library or perhaps a regular one if it has the books you need. You can also access online repositories at the law library which ordinarily would require paying money to use. Once I stumbled onto the fact we had a law library at the justice complex in my town's center, I went there to read a book on the Magistrate Court processes and norms and such, and a book on Dispossessory trials for my state. There also were books on the subjects of pursuing civil cases pro se, the federal civil process, and possibly other subjects. Oh, take pictures with your phone of pages which contain useful and applicable information, as that way you easily will have a record of the info and not have to pay for photocopies.

The other major way of acquiring information alone is to attend trials of the sort you need and directly observe the various processes, general tempos, and the styles and demeanors of the judges (obviously, you will wish to observe the judge you will have most of all). Generally, all trials are completely open to the public and there is a regularly updated list online and at the courthouse (at least, there should be) of the scheduled trials and their type and presiding judge, so you should encounter no obstacles to this. Once you know your trial date and judge, pick one or two dates before the start of your trial/first hearing to gather this crucial first-hand knowledge. You can then fashion and amend a general operational strategy to optimally suit your scenario. Be sure to silently write or type whatever you find to be noteworthy, and/or record the entire thing discreetly for later perusal.

You could also speak to an actual lawyer. A consultation would cost a little money and would allow you to ask questions your research and observations could not answer. If you have to pay $50 for a short conversation with an evictions lawyer to minimize the chance of paying hundreds to appeal a decision by the magistrate, that is a bargain. If you are poor, 'legal aid' would probably be useful merely for advice and direct lawyerly observations, but would not be likely to provide you with representation. There may be other charitable organizations with lawyers who will give advice but likely not representation.


Mobilizing For Battle

You will need a variety of things for your trial, especially if you will be fighting unaided. The primary thing you must keep in mind is this level of court is quite expedited, especially eviction cases. You cannot merely present hour-long audio files or reams of written evidence to the court and expect them to process it. You need to very rapidly prove the very most critical components of your case as seamlessly as possible. Thus, limit audio evidence you will present to small fragments with the most incriminating comments. Perhaps add short set-up commentary for each fragment in your condensed audio file so you don't have to interrupt the playing to do that there. Try to limit all audio evidence to within 5 minutes if at all possible, up to 10 if you really must. If you have no special audio recording equipment or editing software, you will have to play the relevant parts aloud from one device and record them with/onto another. Obviously, if unilateral audio recordings are illegal where you live and you recorded anyway, presenting them in any form would be suicidal and pointless, and you would be presenting critical files with highlighted passages instead.

Another critical thing to do is create a document containing an extensive outline of the case and its various points you need to address, using the observations you ought to have made to determine how much time you will have and other various characteristics. Oh, yes, the styles and preferences of judges can vary massively on this level. On at least one occasion my judge said, "I do not grant those fees.", meaning she has CHOSEN not to rather than she cannot due to the law. If this level of court follows the same patterns nationwide, until you observe the judge for a while, their behavior and the court process will be unpredictable. This will determine your presentation and various other things, as much as courtroom process laws and regulations. Remember that in civil cases it is customary for the plaintiff to begin their case first, so you're going to have a barrage of accusations and denials to address as well as presenting your case when it is your turn, unless the judge repeatedly invites the other person to interject.

I advise also mentally rehearsing how you will communicate various core matters as well as refute those things which you are aware of that the enemy is likely to raise. Quite likely the process of proving your case won't be as simple as presenting the audio files and other evidence and the judge immediately listening/reading/looking, because with audio especially, magistrate judges can be reluctant or even downright refuse to listen. Mine elected not to listen after the landlord was deemed to have confirmed the contents, and since I was denied the method I had so massively depended upon and was not fully prepared to communicate and reiterate every crucial thing verbally, the judge thus had a poor understanding of the scenario. It is imperative you be able to adequately communicate yourself both what you need to prove and what you need to disprove.

If you need to call any witnesses for your defense, learn your area's standards of serving people if any of them need to be subpoenaed. If you have sufficient time and this is a viable method, use a certified mail service which requires the person named to sign and not just anyone there, and present the receipt to the court clerk as proof of 'perfected' service. Compose a list of questions you will have for them which will prove or reinforce various facts and add them to an electronic device (or paper if you lack even a smartphone, or preferably both), preferably a tablet. Additionally, I insist you create series of questions for each witness you do not wish to call but believe the enemy may for their own purposes, so that when you are given the chance to cross-examine them you will not run the risk of forgetting something important or awkwardly verbalizing what you can manage to remember. When applicable, write questions which you intend to ask only if the previous one was answered in a certain way, or if triggered by an allegation that was made which you had already foreseen. Contemplate your questions for all possible and certain witnesses very extensively and numerous times, and ensure none of what is intended is superfluous, misleading, or will needlessly endanger or harm you. Also, you may or may not have the option of question the other combatant directly, so be prepared to examine them as well.

Also, do not forget, even if you are contesting something primarily on discriminatory grounds, that very well might not be the only defense available to you. If you only protest on grounds of discrimination, that probably will be the only thing considered by the judge, and probably will be the only basis considered if appealed. If you get a transphobic judge or the judge just doesn't believe you proved your case, you are more likely to be shit out of luck. However, if your research provided definite or possible other conflicts with the law, do not hesitate to raise them in your brief or answer, especially in an eviction case. While the enemy (assuming they started the case) might be free to refile immediately or soon if the case is tossed on one of those other grounds, it guarantees a delay and forces them to exert themselves more at the very least. This is what caused my former landlord to have to refile, giving me about three weeks before another fight and forcing him to pay another $80.

Ensure all miscellaneous things are completed by the evening before the hearing or trial.
  • All batteries are charged and within the intended devices.
  • All necessary files are saved onto your mobile devices.
  • All necessary devices are placed into your carrying objects
  • All necessary documents, as well as a paper notebook and pen (preferably two pens), are in a document pouch or envelope and that is placed in a carrying object.
  • You have showered, so there is much less which needs to be done before departure should you have a mishap.
  • Your electronic devices are absolutely, positively silenced. No, this is not merely turning down the volume on the side of the phone. Go through your various settings to ensure nothing will make it vibrate, ensure the things which have an independent volume/vibrate level aside from your Bluetooth headphones (if you listen to music) are set to zero sound and vibration. You do NOT want to disrupt the court in any way.


Marching Into Battle

Ensure you are not relying on a hat or cap for this day, as it is a universal custom in courtrooms to have people remove those and similar head coverings not worn for religious or medical reasons. There's also no point in refraining from crossdressing and donning other girly things since you will already be using a gender non-conformity defense and thus should look the part. As much as I dislike this, I do not advise one enter there wearing tails and other extremely attention-seizing items, as at best you would be seen as naturally repelling in personality and give the enemy an excellent chance to obfuscate. You can probably get away with dressing in a moderately resplendent and casual manner in this court level. I elected to wear my Everyday attire, with a couple of modifications due to the nature of the excursion. I honestly had no utterly ordinary female 'business casual' clothes, so that was my option short of going to Goodwill for purchases. I wasn't going to forego or expend anymore for this fucking court process, anyway.

If the way it proceeded for me is the norm, if it is an eviction case, you will arrive at the appropriate courtroom by a given time, take a seat, await the judge's arrival, and then have a 'call of the calendar'. You and the landlord being there and answering will make the matter 'contested', whereas if one fails to appear the other wins a 'default' judgment, and if neither appear the matter is dropped and thus the defendant effectively wins. Your area might have mediators which you and the enemy are encouraged or required to meet with prior to trial. You will have to use your best judgment in this situation. Ask whether any mediation agreement will bar you from seeking redress at other levels. If not, if it's a matter of eviction, give the period of time you need to relocate in an orderly and moderately rapid manner if you indeed wish to leave. If they will agree, there's no need to fight them in front of a magistrate. I suggest making peace on this front if none of your grand strategic plans would be thwarted, as a war on multiple fronts simultaneously (local court, relocation/reemployment, HUD or whatever) would be at best exhausting on you.

I suggest starting your recording devices when you enter or even before so you will have no chance of forgetting and thus not be able to review the day's conversations later or prove something useful which was said or done there. A court on this level might not be a 'court of record' and thus not document anything that transpired at all. If there is a prohibition on unilateral recording by state law, you likely won't be able to use it as evidence, unless there's an exception for public areas where there is no reasonable right to privacy such as courtrooms. I am not sure whether it will matter if only that court level (as opposed to a ban by law) generally prohibits unapproved recordings once you start dealing with federal agencies, and I also am not sure whether the rules and prohibitions they have on recording and recording devices apply to all manner of them or just include those things which would be disruptive or require special installation. I still don't know whether the Magistrate Court guidelines for my state were meant to apply to extremely inconspicuous phones or whether violating a rule is actually illegal or just sanctionable by the judge at the time. As you can see, even one of my great intelligence and strategic and tactical abilities has gaps in their knowledge and limits to capabilities.

As I stated before, the plaintiff generally goes first, which means if you are not the plaintiff, you will be having to both stroke and counterstroke during your turn most likely. Dispossessory hearings at least here are rapid even by general Magistrate/Small Claims standards, and I suspect the same applies everywhere else. The reasons I stated a notebook and pen (the old-fashioned kind) is part of an essential deployment configuration is, a judge might misinterpret someone tapping on their tablet to enter points to address and they also can fail, whereas if you're writing the intent is obvious and the paper (and probably not the pen: better bring two) will never malfunction. Write down those things which were raised that need context/background added, and those things which are completely untrue. Counterattack on those points when you are invited to present your case.

When you speak, try your utmost to minimize any chance of you tripping over your own words, and also to come across as rationally and honorably as possible. Judges will rate your Objectivity and Personality much lower if you are provoked by the other side and start lashing out and interrupting, and Objectivity will suffer if you are exceedingly emotional in your presentation. Present the facts unambiguously and as irrefutably as possible, and when/if appropriate describe the emotionally detrimental effects the enemy's misconduct had. Your schwerpunkt will be to prove discrimination, and close behind is to prove there were no plausible alternative motivations for the firing/dismissal/whatever. The tertiary or other secondary objective is to damage the judge's impression of the enemy in general, particularly Honor and Personality. Do not raise irrelevant and embarrassing things because it both is dishonorable and will likely backfire, but anything which pertains to your case and the enemy's interactions in that general period is fair game generally. Do not underestimate the effect of damaging someone's general character, as I made that mistake and the enemy's furious offensive along those lines caught me off guard and very nearly forced me to have to appeal to State Court.

If you have brought a discrimination complaint to this level or it's something else and not an eviction hearing, you may well have to attend court on multiple days or be there for much of one day. If it is indeed an eviction case, unless many witnesses are brought it probably won't take long and you will quickly know the judge's decision. Landlord-Tenant laws vary wildly from state to state, so your threshold of victory might be lower than mine was. If you are victorious and it is a simple eviction case, the landlord might just resign themselves to having you remain there as long as you please and enter into ceasefire negotiations. If you had to fight a large business, especially if you won substantial monetary damages, they probably will appeal and thus make the next section relevant to you. Where I live, one is allowed to evict for any reason besides discriminatory ones, which means even if one is shown to have made discriminatory demands and thus have discriminatory motives, any other plausible and legitimate reason that the judge feels is proven would validate the eviction. This meant, as the judge was deceived by the landlord, even though I proved discrimination, she would have issued a writ of possession had there been no pending action from HUD. The hearing actually consumed an hour and the judge placed the case in 'under advisement' status for three days before suspending the case for a month. This is very unusual for an eviction case here.


Beyond Magistrate/Small Claims

Either a decision was appealed or one of you elected to go to a higher level first for whatever reason. The next level of court and above is not a 'people's court', which means either you need a lawyer or you had better invest a colossal amount of intangible resources (time and energy) becoming as good as one for that set of circumstances. Magistrate/Small Claims is somewhat informal, as it was designed for those without lawyers to pursue or contest grievances. You don't need to know the formal terms for a motion or understand a complex set of rules for whatever it is you are wanting to do. Higher levels are designed with the expectation lawyers will be doing the fighting, and the judge will not likely be pleased if a rank amateur disrupts the process with her/his incompetence. I was actually rather pessimistic about pro se/pro per representation when I wrote this section, but I discovered much encouraging information which causes me to see it as more feasible for those with certain traits and circumstances.

One thing you need to understand if a case is being appealed is whether or not it is 'de novo'. Here, a trial in State or Superior Court resulting from an appeal of a Magistrate Court decision is 'de novo', meaning the case is being tried anew. This is important depending on what side you are on and other factors, because the court will not merely review the legitimacy of the magistrate's decision. All the facts and witnesses will have to be presented again. Using my example as a way to explain this, if the judge had ruled against me, within 7 days I would have had to leave or appeal to State Court. I could then present a better case due to rules of evidence and customs which are more friendly to the evidence I had, though I would have had to find a lawyer or learn how to be at least semi-competent at self-representation. If appeals of Magistrate Court decisions were NOT de novo, I would not have a second chance to present my case, but I would also have had an easier time of it because I would have been limited to explaining why the judge's decision was erroneous (beyond just misinterpreting what she was given). If the judge ruled against her and she appealed, we would have had to put on a full case all over again if de novo, and if not de novo I would have had to prove the decision contravened the law or was otherwise improper. If no such grounds for reversal exist, if the appeal is not de novo, the appealing person is screwed because the judges won't care about how good the case presentation was.

If you are being evicted and you lost the case, appealing would suspend the writ of possession until the matter is decided, which could be months. This would grant you additional time regardless of whether you do anything else substantial on your behalf. If your landlord asserts to you they can have you out in a short time no matter what, most likely they are either ignorant of law (which would be very sad for someone in their line of work; my landlord may well have been that stupid) or are bluffing you. My landlord didn't seem to realize I could and would be given the time I needed regardless of his wishes, and he would have learned this the hard way had developments been different. Of course, if you had sued or counter-sued for money, you would appeal for monetary reasons. If you cannot be fired without a court order and you went to court largely or primarily for that, appealing might suspend the order allowing your termination. These possible scenarios combined with whether the appeal is de novo will determine whether appealing would be appropriate, as well as the general strategy for that level.

As I said earlier, organizations probably are not going to get you free or discounted representation. You might be able to get a few questions answered for free from a lawyer from your area's legal aid organization, but likely no more. You probably should at least pay the $50 or whatever for a consultation with a lawyer to help you get your bearings, and hopefully also get you a lawyer for the case either fully or as an as-needed adviser. Beyond that, if you are going to go it alone, you need to review all available texts which pertain to your situation and level of court, and you also need to sit in on more than a couple of trials. This will be really hard if you have a job you need to go to, even harder if you lack a mate or close friends to provide additional manpower. You cannot half-ass this. You do not wish to annoy judges with improperly worded or timed motions, or complaints that you don't know what to do. You need to develop the competence and proficiency necessary to adequately present a case without advisement from the judge or anyone else. You're not merely playing tactician here. You need to more or less be on par with those with doctorate degrees in law, at least in this particular matter and location. Pro se can be done well I am sure, but, if you're not a homemaker or on disability, even with high intelligence and tactical instinct, you will be hard pressed to achieve that because you only have so many spare hours for self-education and all other needed things. And, of course, you need to have the emotional stamina and interpersonal skills necessary to do this.

Of course, appealing to the next highest level, or starting at a higher level, also brings with it unique challenges. My understanding is jury trials generally do not exist in the lowest level, but they do higher up if one or both parties make a timely and valid request. You would in that event have to participate in jury selection and advocate to a jury and not just a highly trained judge. State Court has different rules and customs than Magistrate, and they may well conform to overarching state and federal laws. Thus, much of what you learned in the first level is not applicable here. You will also be able to engage in 'discovery' maneuvers such as depositions and direct written questions called interrogatories, and this will be very difficult if you have no counsel to do this for you. Higher levels are vastly different in many ways, and this was why I so dreaded a situation where I had to maneuver in State Court while finding a better home environment. The landlord wouldn't have given a damn about how unfair and burdensome that would have been, and you should assume your opponent is similarly callous. This can be done without counsel, but even if you have no work obligations it will be a massive project. Of course, you can then impart that knowledge to others as I have done here, so it will not be a total loss.


Self-Representation Details and References

I discovered a decent repository of information on this and related topics recently, on a site called Nolo. While they don't explain everything and need for people to purchase the books people have published under their auspices, they are respectably generous with free legal information and thus I feel they have struck a fair balance. Keep in mind that while I have natural tendencies and traits conducive to general strategizing, and I have a marvelous and autistic orientation to strategy and tactics, I am not a fucking lawyer. The authors of the pages and books are, and they have done more than I have. I may have a natural superiority in tactics and strategy and articulating doctrine, but they have a LOT more experience. Heed well what I have said, but also heed well what they tell you in the following: Representing Yourself, Representing Yourself FAQ, Ways to Save on Legal Fees, and Hiring a Lawyer as Coach. The first two are very link-intensive, and I strongly insist you click on and read all of them in addition to the four I have linked here. There is a lot of information on matters related to lawsuits in general as well as self-representation relayed in there, and the book they keep referencing I'm sure has very much more usable information, though you can acquire it for less on Amazon and many more are there.

Speaking of books, there are two others which are highly acclaimed but also highly expensive. One is on trials in general and the other is on depositions. There are many other legal books on there, though I could find none with decent ratings specifically on gender or housing discrimination lawsuits, or discrimination lawsuits in general, or even federal civil trials in general. Once you have a list of books you feel would be useful, I would suggest renting as many from the library as you can and only buying those you either need full-time or cannot acquire from the library at all, if cost is at all a concern. When/if I read these I will interpret and disseminate critical acquired information and concepts on here.

The consensus seems to be, doing a lawsuit in propria persona is actually feasible and not a near-impossible feat. They also seem to conclude full representation for cases which would gain one under 25k is not feasible anyway, thus many are forced to either do everything alone or have a lawyer on the sidelines to occasionally advise and/or perform secondary supporting functions. So, my first impression seemed more pessimistic than reality. However, you need to consider this... I am an ideal candidate to pursue a lawsuit in propria proper a.k.a 'pro per', and yet I am not eager to conduct such a campaign because it would necessitate an extremely high and undesirable level of mobilization. I am disabled and have no volunteer obligations, so I can generally set my own schedule. I am highly intelligent, highly attentive to details, am highly honorable, and I have an extremely high natural affinity for affairs such as this. However, there is a LOT that I would need to do, and I do not work quickly at all. What I do is superb, but it requires much time to prepare and construct. I would need to read at LEAST two books just to figure out how to question someone, and then I would have to determine who and how I would do so, and then hope I can sufficiently mitigate my natural weaknesses at verbal interlocution. Imagine if I actually had to work or take care of children while attending to this! Even a person with zero mental health issues and obligations would be seriously burdened.

That being said, it may very well end soon after the lawsuit is filed. If their own discovery motions gain them evidence which seems quite compelling, the opposing lawyer/tactician may well deem it preferable to settle with you. Of course, what is acceptable only you can say. Remember  that if it goes fully to trial and the matter is decided in pitched combat, not only can it be appealed, but they also can elect for a jury trial. If you are your own tactician in court and if you have liabilities on Personality, this will be substantially disadvantageous for you. This would just prolong a drain on time and emotional energy, though you might also gain a lot more in the end.


Conclusion

There is a massive amount of information in this chapter. So much that I had to divide it and post each part in a separate Inkbunny journal since their limit is 100k characters! I hope you will not need to apply all of what I have written, but you do have it if you are not that fortunate. I excel at communicating experience, information, and theory to other people, and thus I feel this is the most effective single manual a femboy has access to, and this probably is the best non-book text in existence on the matter of discrimination. Of course, I cannot possibly convey absolutely everything I know, and cannot possibly cover every conceivable scenario. You will have to do much research yourself to meet your needs, but this will set you very nicely on the right path.

If you wish for me to clarify something, provide information not in here, or wish for me to advise you on something (Discrimination or anything else), you are more than welcome to message me here or the other places I reside in. I consider it a sacred duty to enlighten people on matters I have heightened knowledge of. If you are encountering an emergency, you are advised to note that in the title, because under normal circumstances I generally postpone reading messages until I am prepared for such, and I might not feel ready for up to a week or even 10 days (the autism has its attendant disadvantages). I also beseech you to provide me with your own direct experience and knowledge on areas or scenarios I am not well educated in, and also to correct me if I have made an error.


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