July 30, 2019, San Francisco, CA – Kevin Seaman, an interdisciplinary artist, cultural worker, and drag queen whose drag persona is LOL McFiercen, and The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a leading-edge Order of queer and trans nuns devoted to community service and promoting human rights, have reached a collaborative agreement with Lyft to ensure individuals in the queer and drag communities are not discriminated against by drivers using Lyft’s platform. The agreement is available here: Fully Executed Lyft Settlement Agreement and Release, 06-28-2019
According to the Agreement: “On February 28, 2018, Claimants’ counsel sent a letter to Lyft, asserting that persons who were gender-nonconforming, or appearing in drag, were not being provided with equal access to rides they requested using the Lyft Platform, and specifically were being denied rides by Drivers.” On June 22, 2018, the Parties entered into structured negotiations to work cooperatively on Lyft’s policies, practices, and procedures concerning full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services relating to Lyft’s Platform, and the transportation available through the Lyft Platform, without regard to sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, and/or gender identity.
Under the Agreement, Lyft reaffirms its commitment to creating a safe environment for drivers and riders and agrees to develop new content to educate drivers about issues affecting the LGBTQ community, including in the context of gender identity and gender expression. Lyft has also agreed to maintain a readily available method for riders to report discrimination via the Lyft App, to re-train employees who handle complaints on LGBTQ issues, and to develop an appropriate process to ensure that complaints are handled in a sensitive and appropriate manner. Lyft will continue to work with Kevin and The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to implement the Agreement.
“In the midst of increasing violence against transgender people and so many corporations focused on marketing to LGBTQ+ communities to uplift their own brands at pride celebrations, it’s wonderful to see that Lyft is not just talking the talk, but willing to walk the walk,” said Kevin Seaman. “Trans people, gender non-conforming folks and drag performers need access to safe transportation just like everyone else. I’m excited that Lyft is willing to work with us to better serve some of our most vulnerable communities.”
“Trans and gender non-conforming individuals face some of the most severe discrimination and violence in our society,” said Sister Selma Soul, President of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. “The Sisters believe no one should be left stranded at the curb because someone else disapproves of their gender expression. We are happy that Lyft met us at the table and is taking a sincere interest in addressing this issue.”
Kevin Seaman and The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are represented by Michael Bien, Gay Grunfeld, Kara Janssen, and Marc Shinn-Krantz of Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld and by Amy Whelan and Julie Wilensky of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
Selected Press Coverage:
Lyft adopts new policies after drag queens refused rides, Advocate, August 2, 2019
Lyft, LGBTQs reach agreement on bias claims, Bay Area Reporter, July 31, 2019
About The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence® are a leading-edge Order of queer and trans nuns. We believe all people have a right to express their unique joy and beauty. Since their first appearance in San Francisco on Easter Sunday, 1979, the Sisters have devoted themselves to community service, ministry and outreach to those on the edges, and to promoting human rights, respect for diversity and spiritual enlightenment. The Sisters use humor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit. Read more about The Sisters and their work here: www.thesisters.org
About Kevin Seaman/LOL McFiercen
Kevin Seaman / LOL McFiercen is an interdisciplinary artist, drag queen and cultural worker with over 15 years of experience working with Bay Area and national communities. Kevin received the 2017 Americans for the Arts Emerging Leader Award, was as an inaugural Association for Performing Arts Professionals’ Leadership Fellow, and helped increase arts funding in San Francisco as a community organizer for the Nov 2018 Yes on Proposition E campaign. Kevin’s drag persona LOL McFiercen queers girlish femininity in a frenzy of rainbows, sparkles and hearts. Kevin’s and LOL McFiercen’s creative work exploring queer identity and drag culture has been presented locally at The Stud, Oasis, El Rio, CounterPulse, Frameline (San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival), the de Young Museum, SOMArts Cultural Center, and nationally at the Austin International Drag Festival, the National Queer Arts Festival, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Yale School of the Arts and the Tank NYC. Read more about Kevin/LOL here: www.seamanart.com
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. www.nclrights.org