South Bend Trans woman LaKeyla Onasses forced to use the men’s room


 LaKeyla Onasses

Indiana Trans woman LaKeyla Onasses was denied access to the woman’s rooms at the transportation hub then photographed by the same employees as she entered and exited the men’s room. This is the sort of dysphoria inducing transphobia that costs lives, Ms. Onasses understands that and is sharing it to help others.

It all began with a simple request. LaKeyla Onasses asked the bus station employee who job is to remotely control the restroom doors if the station had a unisex restroom that she could use.

The center didn’t have one according to the WSBT 22 report. But the Transpo employee refused to open the door to the ladies room. Instead, she buzzed open the men’s room door and took photos of Ms. Onasses entering and leaving which she posted to facebook, complete with transphobic remarks.

In Onasses’ second complaint, she said that last Friday another Transpo employee buzzed her into the women’s bathroom. Once inside, she said someone kept buzzing the door and jiggling the door handle. She said she opened the door to see a Transpo security guard laughing and calling her “he/she.”

If Onasses had been a resident of South Bend Transpo might have been fined $1,000 dollars if found in violation by the city’s human rights commission. The second offense carries a $1,500 violation but because Onasses lives outside of the city limits her complaint was sent to the Indiana State Human Rights Commission which does not include gender identity.

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Local news talk show host Casey Hendrickson says he has a “problem” with the story and posted a webcast about it. He prefaces his podcast by saying he’s cynical because “Anytime time someone claims that they were discriminated against those claims turned out to be false.”

This individual says his ‘spidey sense’ triggered by the story because “typically a transgender person files a lawsuit when forced to use a unisex bathroom.”

Hendrickson assumed that LaKeyla Onasses has been riding the bus for 21 years and using the Transpos restrooms for that entire time.

Apparently his biggest problem with the incident is how Onasses learned of the posting on facebook status inquiring if she had a ‘personal beef’ with that Transpo employee.

Hendrickson quotes the academy of pedradics, a discredited splinter group posing as a medical authority while postulating that he is presenting an unbiased report.

Let me answer your questions.

Your last caller established that Transpo employees control access to public restrooms. (oh darn right)

It is natural for transgender people to use the restroom which is congruent with their gender expression, in this case, the women’s room.

Many trans woman, myself included will look for a ‘family restroom’ at times while in crowded public spaces, for the same reasons that some cisgender women do. Safety (from cis predators like the Transpo employee and health reasons.

Many young transgender people see universal unisex bathrooms as an answer and advocate for them on campus.

The problem with Unisex bathrooms is that they other transgender who are forced to use them who then feel then ostracized presenting an opportunity for bigots to prey on that vulnerability. (sound familiar)

Lastly, there has never been a single case of a transgender person using a law permitting access to public accommodations to commit a crime. Ever.

Finally, you said some people would consider you a ‘horrible person’ for this ‘news’ segment.

Yes, you a horrible person. You frame your ‘news’ as unbiased but in fact, your only intent was to discredit and further humiliate the victim LaKeyla Onasses. That is horrible.

ABC 57

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Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender


  1. This is unbelievable. What an experience, just to go to the toilet.

    I wouldn’t have asked to use a unisex toilet. I would have just gone straight to the ladies, because asking is like waving a flag, “I am trans”, which isn’t very helpful in the face of bigots.

    It’s cases like these which have inspired me to do what no justice system can prevent me from doing… wage spiritual war, death and destruction, upon all bigots.

  2. Kelli Anne Busey, thanks for taking this on. As someone who used to call the area home, I couldn’t have done this calmly which is required to inform people of what happened. I have been beside myself as given other circumstances this could have been me or anyone of us.

    It’s outrageous that this has happened and all there are from officials are policy platitudes. Not a word from the mayor and that one must live in South Bend to even have their complaint addressed is nothing short of unconscionable. I spent half the night awake thinking about what if this were me. I’m just sickened by this.


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