A self-described psychic-reader refused to let an LGBT family rent from her property because their “uniqueness” would disrupt the neighborhood and attract “unwanted” attention.
Deepika Avanti, who claims to get visions and can see diseases coming from up to eight years in the future, could not foretell the subsequent lawsuit coming her way after denying prospective tenants Tonya and Rachel Smith and their two kids from leasing small home in Gold Hill, Colorado.
The lawsuit, handled pro-bono by LGBT advocates at Lambda Legal and Holland & Hart, alleges that Avanti sent the young family an email where she worried that if she rented to them, their “uniqueness” would cause gossip within the neighborhood, disrupt the school, and blow her “low profile.”
We’re suing a Colorado property owner for denying housing to an #LGBT family: https://t.co/ibfgO8Mnsb
— Lambda Legal (@LambdaLegal) January 14, 2016
She then told the family it would be better for them to move to a “larger town.”
The landlord told Boulder Daily Camera that turning the family away “had nothing to do with their sexuality” and claims they “would have been too noisy” for her.
According to The New Civil Rights Movement, Avanti has professed her innocence by saying she “has a transvestite friend herself.”
Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Omar Gonzalez-Pagan said in a press release:
“Worrying about what the neighbors will say is no excuse for discrimination,”. “Tonya and Rachel Smith are loving spouses and parents whose ideal home was denied to them because they are a same-sex couple with kids and Rachel is transgender. That’s not just wrong, it is unlawful.”
“Housing discrimination is a pervasive problem for LGBT people and it is very much under reported. In many instances, LGBT people who are either overtly or subtly discriminated against in housing do not report the discrimination because of their immediate need to find housing or the costs of pursuing a claim.”
The lawsuit seeks emotional and punitive damages in addition to injunction relief requiring that Avanti stop discriminatory housing practices and take a fair housing training course, as well as reasonable attorneys’ fees.
Deepika Avanti’s advertorial YouTube video:
Tonya and Rachel told their story and explained their principles and concerns in a compelling web interview with the Daily Camera:
Featured image via screen grab