Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Transgender Law Institute at Lavender Law

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | September 01, 2010 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Lavender Law, law, lawyers, legal, LGBT Bar Association, Transgender Law Institute

We held our first Transgender Law Institute at the National LGBT Bar Association's Lavender Law Conference last Thursday.

We had about 75 people in attendance, from all over the country. It was an amazing gathering of talent, and I felt honored to chair the conference committee.

The Committee itself was amazing - Prof. Jennifer Levi of GLAD, Prof. Julie Greenberg of Thomas Jefferson Law School, Seth Marnin of Outten & Golden, Dru Levasseur of Lambda Legal, and Matt Wood of the Transgender Law Center. If you don't know who these people are, they're well worth looking up. They're committed lawyers and scholars who have each contributed a tremendous amount to trans legal issues.

We wrote up some hypotheticals to talk about.

Some of these were quite interesting, and I think everyone learned a lot about how to protect the rights of trans clients. Here's one example, that I presented with the wonderful Denise Brogan-Kator of the Rainbow Law Center in Michigan:

Employment Hypothetical

Your clients, Aggie, Betty and Clyde, work at local restaurants in various capacities, including wait staff, bookkeeping and management. All are transgender. Aggie, assigned to the male sex at birth, transitioned ten years ago, and consistently passes as female. Betty, also assigned to the male sex at birth, is in the process of transition, and passes as female about half the time. Clyde, assigned as female at birth, transitioned five years ago and passes as male consistently.

Aggie's manager received a no-match letter from the Social Security Administration because Aggie's sex marker on her Social Security Account did not match the employer's report of her as female. Aggie's manager has accused her of filing a fraudulent employment application, and there are indications she may be terminated.

Betty's restaurant has single use bathrooms. Betty's manager insists that Betty present as a male in order to work there. He requires Betty to dress androgynously and use the single use men's room.

Clyde's manager wants to know what surgery Clyde has had in order to decide whether Clyde can use the men's bathroom. Clyde would like to know if he can include his female partner on his health insurance.

What do you think the legal rights of Aggie, Betty and Clyde are?

If you like this one, I'll post another one. We've got ones on health care, sex segregation and identity documents. For next year, we're going to try to do different topics. There are so many important trans legal topics!


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polargirl360 | September 1, 2010 5:30 PM

Nothing on the prison issue? :(

This is important to trans woman not in prison as well since this practice does show all of a state's and federal government's convicted criminals including sex offenders and murderers how little the government cares to protect transsexual women. This has consequences on the outside for transsexual woman, even for financially well off white self-indentified post-op lesbians!

This would make a great sort of post every now and then. I remember you posted a hypothetical a while back and people debated it in the comments. Maybe you could also post your opinion on this hypothetical later?

[sarcasm]Silly Jillian, trannies don't have legal rights.[/sarcasm]

Surely it depends upon the legal jurisdiction within the US?

In the UK all such prejudicial managerial practices would be illegal, although obtaining redress is not simple if an employer resists. From October anyone (literally, of any age) who has told any other person that they might even consider transitioning (in the most broad terms) is covered by legal protection in employment, education, and supply of goods and services, under the category Gender Reassignment for life.

The question of a partner being listed for benefits would be uncontested if there was a marriage or civil partnership, or if unmarried heterosexual partners are given benefits (such as sports club membership, or travel concessions), although all legal residents have full health coverage in their own right, from general taxation.