Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Anti-trans DMV employee resigns

The state Department of Motor Vehicles employee who sent an attack letter to a transgender San Francisco woman in October resigned yesterday (Wednesday, December 15), a department spokesman said today.

DMV Spokesman Steve Haskins told the Bay Area Reporter that Thomas Demartini’s resignation “in no way diminishes the severity of the situation. [Demartini] acted well outside the scope and course of his duties. We recognize this was unacceptable and wholly unauthorized behavior by this former employee, and the DMV will continue to take measures to ensure that not only all employees act in a professional manner, but that our customers are treated fairly and equitably.”

Asked what exactly the measures he referred to would be, Haskins said, “I don’t know if that’s necessarily been completely worked out, but obviously more training would be a good idea.”

He couldn’t say why Demartini was just now resigning.

“That’s really his decision,” said Haskins, and “something you’d have to go to him for a comment for.” He didn’t know whether Demartini lives in San Francisco. The B.A.R. has been unable to reach the ex-DMV worker.

The DMV still likely faces a lawsuit from Amber Yust, the woman who received a letter from Demartini on October 25 that said, “The homosexual act is an abomination that leads to hell.” Demartini had been on paid administrative leave since October.

According to a claim Yust filed through attorney Christopher Nolan on Thursday, December 9, Yust had gone to the DMV with her court-ordered name change and DMV paperwork with her, and with Demartini’s help had obtained a new driver’s license in her new name.

Demartini’s letter also quotes the Bible as saying, “If anyone lie with a man as with a woman … let them be put to death.

Besides the letter, Yust also received a pamphlet from the Most Holy Family Monestary, which appears to be an ultra-conservative Catholic organization based in Fillmore, New York.

In his letter, Demartini calls Yust’s gender change “evil” and refers her to Most Holy Family’s site for information for her “salvation.” Through the claim, Yust alleges that Demartini provided her address to the monestary.

“This has been a traumatic experience for me and I want to ensure nothing like this happens to anyone else,” Yust said in a statement from Christopher Dolan, her attorney, and Transgender Law Center, which has been assisting her.

According to the statement, Demartini was involved in a similar incident in 2009. At that time, he supposedly refused to assist a transgender woman attempting to change the name on her driver’s license, telling her, “I want to let you know that God will send you to hell!” The DMV apologized for that incident.

Asked why Demartini hadn’t been fired after the 2009 incident, Mike Marando, another DMV spokesman, has said the DMV had taken “appropriate action” at the time, including the Transgender Law Center conducting sensitivity training for all employees.

He said Demartini has worked for the DMV for four years.

“We view this as an isolated incident,” Marando said, referring to Yust’s claim. He said he couldn’t recall a similar incident occurring other than the 2009 case.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, December 16, 2010 @ 11:04 am PST
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