Recently in Transgender Issues Category

March 14, 2011

New York City Issues Non-Discrimination Policy on Transgender Marriage Licenses

In December of 2009, an opposite-sex couple went to the City Clerk's office in the Bronx and asked for a marriage license. Because the clerk felt that neither would-be spouse looked like the sex listed on the drivers' licenses the two presented, they were asked for their birth certificates and when they could not produce them, were denied a marriage license. 

After the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund filed a complaint last October, New York City responded by issuing a new policy to all city clerks. The new policy states that "City Clerk employees are forbidden from considering the applicant's appearance or preconceived notions related to gender expression when deciding whether to issue a marriage license." You've gotta figure TLDEF wrote that excellent language, right? Either way, though, it's now city policy. 

In addition, the agreement requires the city clerk to apologize to the couple, institute training for employees regarding gender identity and expression, and allow the couple to marry when and where they want.
June 29, 2009

Pride Roundup

Yikes! How has it been so long since I've posted, when there's so much going on out there? Here's a quick selection of interesting items from the last week.

On the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion, the New York Times ran an article and an op-ed piece about the condition of gay rights in the U.S., both with the same basic premise: the American public is way ahead of the American government on the issue of rights for LGBT people. Adam Nagourney's Political Memo takes President Obama to task for failing to live up to his campaign promises on equality for the LGBT community; Frank Rich's op-ed rightly notes that "It's a press cliché that 'gay supporters' are disappointed with Obama, but we should all be. Gay Americans aren't just another political special interest group. They are Americans who are actively discriminated against by federal laws."

Last week, Representative Barney Frank introduced a new Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the House of Representatives. Read about it at Nolo's Employment Law Blog.

And this morning, President Obama is meeting with gay rights leaders at the White House to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Stonewall. After the disappointments of the past month, that should be an interesting conversation.
April 30, 2009

Transgender Veteran Awarded Nearly $500,000 in Discrimination Suit

Just a quick followup on an earlier post here about Diane Schroer, the former Army commander who won a lawsuit last October against the Library of Congress for employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Yesterday, a judge awarded her $491,190 in back pay and damages.

In an LA Times article, Schroer said she was "happy with the judgment but more importantly that the judge recognized her treatment as job discrimination", linking the high rates of underemployment for transgendered individuals to the continued acceptance of discrimination against them in society. What makes this ruling especially significant? According to the ACLU, this is the first time a federal judge has affirmed that it's a violation of federal law to discriminate against someone for changing genders.
April 29, 2009

Transgender-Inclusive Hate Crimes Bill Passes House

By a vote of 249 to 175, the United States House of Representatives voted today to pass a bill (H.R. 1913) that would include the categories of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and disability in existing federal hate crimes legislation for the first time. This is especially good news for the transgender community, which continues to be targeted disproportionately in bias-motivated crimes. If you have any doubts about that, you didn't follow the Angie Zapata trial in Colorado, which recently ended with a guilty verdict against the murderer of a transgender woman. The hate crimes bill now moves to the Senate.
October 15, 2008

Gender Transition Means Less Pay for MTFs


In case you were wondering whether the pay gap between men and women that still exists in this country is a result of (a) women choosing lower-paying, more flexible jobs so that they can care for children, or (b) flat-out sex discrimination, an interesting new study indicates that it's the latter.

The "first systematic analysis of the experiences of transgender people in the labor force," according to a Time magazine article, has shown that female to male transsexuals earn more as men than they did as women, and -- guess what -- vice versa. All the participants were adults with established careers, and although some changed employers when they transitioned and some didn't, and some were out to their employers and some weren't, the pattern was clear: MTFs lost 32% of their earning power after transitioning.

It's nice to have a clear answer, isn't it? Maybe now we can do something about it.

October 2, 2008

Transgender Veteran Wins Suit Against Library of Congress

In a landmark victory for transgender rights, Diane Schroer won her lawsuit against the Library of Congress for sex discrimination last month. Schroer, a former Army commander with action-hero credentials and precisely the experience needed for the job was offered a position as a senior terrorism research analyst at the Library of Congress. Then presenting as a man named David, Schroer went to lunch with her future boss and outlined her plans to finish her gender transition and her intention to present as female when she began working at the Library of Congress.

The next day, she received a call rescinding the job offer. She filed suit, and on September 19 a federal judge ruled that the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in employment, Title VII, applies to transgendered people, and that discrimination on the basis of gender identity is sex discrimination. The ACLU, which represented Schroer, has a case summary and legal documents, including a link to the judge's opinion, on its website. The decision is the first to hold that gender identity is covered under Title VII, and thus is a giant step forward for transgender rights.

See a video of Diane Schroer telling her own story here.