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:
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!