Persad Center Threatens to Sue Trans Community of Color Leadership

Controversies continue at the beleaguered organization

Tensions and controversies continue to emanate from the Persad Center in Lawrenceville. In August, an attorney from Leech Tishman representing both Persad Center as an organization and Persad CEO Marty Healey personally sent letters by email, FedEx Overnight, and hand delivery to TransYouniting leader and Pittsburgh Pride Revolution organizer Dena Stanley threatening legal action against her should she continue with her community advocacy. Stanley is a trans woman of color.

In the letters, reviewed by QBurgh and published publicly below, Persad’s attorney threatens legal action against Stanley for her questioning of Persad and Persad CEO Marty Healey’s commitment to racial diversity and inclusion. Persad Center’s attorney continues that because of Stanley’s advocacy for trans people of color Persad employees now work in fear. That trans women of color are to be feared or something to be afraid of is a racist and transphobic trope.

“These legal threats make me sad for our community. It is unfortunate that this is what happens in the Pittsburgh LGBTQ community. Legal threats are always an act of violence towards trans people of color and the greater Pittsburgh community needs to know about this,” Stanley said.

“Healthcare and mental healthcare are always accessible to those with privilege. The marginalized are the ones that need to be spoken up for because it’s the most marginalized that receive the least help from Persad,” Stanley continued.

Controversies from the Persad Center have been ongoing for years. Tensions have been growing between the organization and the greater Pittsburgh LGBTQ Community as it appears the organization is doubling down on its tactics. Leech Tishman is also the law firm that represents the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh.

Multiple phone calls to Persad Center for comment went unanswered. Persad’s major fundraising event is this Friday.


Jim Sheppard
Jim Sheppard is a resident of Downtown Pittsburgh. Jim served as a Commissioner on the City of Pittsburgh Human Relations Commission which investigates instances of discrimination in the City of Pittsburgh and recommends necessary protections in our City Code to provide all people in Pittsburgh with equal opportunities. He has worked for Pittsburgh City Council, the Pittsburgh Mayor, and the Allegheny County Controller. For five years he was the President of the Steel City Stonewall Democrats. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. (He / Him / His)