California S.B. 179 — The Gender Recognition Act (USA)

On Sunday, October 15, California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 179, known as the Gender Recognition Act, into law. The new law creates a new “gender-neutral, non-binary” category for state-issued identification documents in addition to “male and female,” and “makes it easier for transgender, intersex, and non-binary people to get official documentation that accurately reflect their gender identity.” Non-binary is defined as “an umbrella term for people with gender identities that fall somewhere outside of the traditional conceptions of strictly either female or male.” The law also removes the requirement that an individual appear in court or obtain verification from a physician in order to petition the state for updated identifying documents. California is the second state, following Oregon, and the District of Columbia, to allow individuals to “legally recognize a nonbinary gender.”

CA Bill 179 (USA) — Gender Identity Watch

California to offer gender nonconforming option on official state documents — independent.co.uk

Calif. Gov. signs non-binary gender ID bill — Windy City Times

 

 

 

Kedarie Johnson (USA)

The U.S. Department of Justice, under the direction of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has dispatched a federal attorney with experience litigating hate crimes to help prosecute a man charged with the murder of a high school student who identified as transgender.  Although the Justice Department rarely assigns its own attorneys to serve as local prosecutors, it does so in cases in which the attorney can provide particular expertise in an area of the law the federal government considers significant. Christopher Perras, a Justice Department attorney, will serve as a county prosecutor in the case against Jorge “Lumini” Sanders-Galvez, who is charged with first-degree murder for the death of Kedarie Johnson, “a gender-fluid teen with an evolving sexuality that included interests in both men and women.”  Johnson was shot to death at the age of 16 in Burlington, Iowa, in March 2016.

This announcement follows Sessions’ recent memo regarding the treatment of transgender claims under Title VII, dated October 4, in which he concludes, “Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination encompasses discrimination between men and women but does not encompass discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status.”

Aiding Transgender Case, Sessions Defies His Image on Civil Rights — New York Times

Federal authorities join case of slain Burlington teen — Des Moines Register

 

 

 

Wolfgang Schmidt (Germany)

Wolfgang Schmidt, also known as the “Beast of Beelitz” (a name he earned after he murdered five women, several of whom he sexually assaulted, and a baby in Brandenburg between 1989 and 1991) and the “Pink Giant” (due to his height and affinity for pink underwear), is a violent man who identifies as a woman.

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Prescott v. Rady Children’s Hospital – San Diego (USA)

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Katharine Prescott, with a photo of her deceased child, Kyler Prescott

On September 27, a federal district court for the Southern District of California ruled that Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), which prohibits “health programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance” from “discriminating against individuals on the basis of any ground listed under four different civil rights statutes,” protects individuals who identify as transgender. Judge Moskowitz states, “[b]ecause Title VII, and by extension Title IX, recognize that discrimination on the basis of transgender identity is discrimination on the basis of sex, the Court interprets the ACA to afford the same protections.” He also notes that the Ninth Circuit, which previously distinguished between “sex” and “gender,” has followed the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, which “abandoned [the] distinction and held that Title VII bars discrimination based on both an individual’s sex and failure to conform to socially-constructed gender expectations.”

It is worth mentioning that this decision came several days before Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Obama administration’s guidance instructing courts to interpret “sex” to include “gender identity” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the federal law that prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of sex.

Prescott v. Rady Children’s Hospital — court order filed September 27, 2017

Federal court finds sex discrimination laws protect transgender people — metroweekly.com

Prescott v. Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego — Gender Identity Watch

Christie Elan-Cane (UK)

Christie Elan-Cane, a woman who “completed a physical transition in 1990” and identifies as “neither male nor female,” campaigned in front of the London’s High Court on October 11, challenging the UK’s passport application process.  “Under the UK’s current process, applicants must state whether they are male or female.”  According to Elan-Cane, “It is wrong that someone who defines as neither should be forced to make that declaration.”

Justice Gilbart granted Elan-Cane the opportunity to bring a full judicial review of the policy, stating, “I am satisfied this case passes the test for the grant of permission, and is arguable.”  The hearing has not yet been scheduled. Under Elan-Cane’s proposal, the policy would be amended to enable the government to issue “gender-neutral, or X passports.”

Ministers to face court challenge over gender-neutral passports — The Guardian

Campaigner takes gender-neutral passport case to High Court — evening standard

Campaigner for gender-neutral passports wins court challenge — BBC

Campaigner wins right to take on Government over gender-neutral passports — metro

 

 

Legal Recognition of Gender Identity (Greece)

On October 10, 2017 Greece’s 300-member parliament passed a new law, titled “Legal Recognition of Gender Identity – National Mechanism for the Development, Monitoring and Evaluation of Action Plans on Children’s Rights” with 171 votes in favor.

“Gender identity” is defined in the bill as, “the personal way in which a person experiences his or her sex, irrespective of the sex registered on their birth certificate on the basis of his/her biological characteristics, including the personal perception of the body, as well as the social and external expression of gender, which corresponds to the will of the person.” This definition could easily be shortened to “feelings.”

The new law allows Greek citizens over the age of 15 to change their official identifying documents to reflect their “gender identity” simply by obtaining a court ruling, and removes the former requirements for such changes to identifying documents, including the requirement that the individual had undergone a psychiatric assessment and “sex-change surgery.”  Although individuals may update their documents at will, they may only seek to change their “gender identity” twice, and may not be married when they do so.  Additionally, individuals with children who are seeking to update their own identifying documents may not identify their child’s documents (i.e. the child’s birth certificate).

Greek Transgender Community Hopes New Law Will Improve Lives — New York Times

Greece passes gender-change law opposed by Orthodox church — The Guardian

Greece: Vote on legal gender recognition is an historic step forward for transgender rights — amnesty.org

New Bill Proposed in Greek House would Allow a Person to Change Gender Identity Based on Feeling