On Friday, August 25 U.S. President Donald Trump signed a memorandum directing “the military not to move forward with an Obama-era plan that would have allowed transgender individuals to be recruited into the armed forces.”
The memo “also bans the Department of Defense from using its resources to provide medical treatment regimens for transgender individuals currently serving in the military.”
On Monday, August 28 Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington challenging “the constitutionality of an official federal policy of discrimination against transgender people regarding military service.” The lawsuit was filed on behalf of “two individuals who seek to join the military; one current service member who seeks appointment as an officer; the Human Rights Campaign…; and Gender Justice League.”
According to the lawsuit, “Dripping with animus, the Ban and the current accessions bar violate the equal protection and due process guarantees of the Fifth Amendment and the free speech guarantee of the First Amendment. They are unsupported by any compelling, important, or even rational justification.”
Mary Smith (a pseudonym), a 15-year old student at Frederick County Public Schools, and her mother (identified in the suit as Jane Doe) filed a lawsuit against the Frederick County Board of Education in the District Court of Maryland alleging Smith’s “civil rights, including her fundamental right to bodily privacy, are being intentionally violated” as well as Doe’s “fundamental parental rights to the care, custody, control, upbringing, and information regarding her child is also being intentionally violated” by the school board’s new policies which “permit students of one sex to enter and use restrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities (“bath facilities”) designated for members of the opposite sex.” According to the complaint, “The policies also allow for males who identify as females to compete against females under Title IX sports programs and share hotel rooms with them on trips, violating the rights of students who are of the female sex.”
“Defendants purposefully and intentionally violated Plaintiffs’ rights and have further attempted to harass and coerce the minor Plaintiff and her mother into abridging their freedom of speech by threatening retaliation, expulsion and permanent negative academic records for failure to use the pronouns now mandated which upon information and belief, call a male a female when the person or government official requires such pronoun use.”
The lawsuit alleges civil rights violations under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, Articles 5 and 24 of the Maryland Constitution, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, invasion of privacy, and violation of Maryland statutes governing single-sex facilities in public buildings. Plaintiffs are seeking “a permanent injunction on the policy and demanding the school district communicate with parents regarding all issues pertaining to a student’s sexuality or gender identity. It also demands that only females be allowed to use the female bathrooms in schools, and that males be barred from competing with females in athletics.”
Roxane Gay is a bisexual woman who spends her time on Twitter contributing to anti-lesbian conversations. In response to a Tweet by Kat Blaque, a man who identifies as a woman and who spends his time harassing lesbians for being lesbians, Gay suggested Blaque “slap” Arielle Scarcella, a lesbian blogger.
Lesbians don’t need non-lesbians telling us what lesbian sexuality is, framing lesbian sexuality as bigoted, or speaking for us at all, ever. We don’t need “queer feminists” telling us there’s something wrong with being a lesbian. We certainly don’t need bisexual women like Roxane Gay (who previously “identified as a lesbian even though she was still attracted to men”) encouraging violence against lesbians on the basis that we’re lesbians.
Shut up about lesbians, Roxane, you don’t speak for us.
Women on Twitter were quick to recognize and address Gay’s blatant lesbian-hating and homophobic remarks for the garbage they are. See Claire’s excellent post on her award-winning blog, Sister Outrider, titled “Dear Roxane – An Open Letter on Queer Feminism & Lesbophobia” for more on this topic.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed an amended complaint on behalf of Gavin Grimm, a female teen who identifies as a transgender boy. Grimm’s lawsuit previously sought a preliminary injunction which would allow Grimm to use sex-segregated facilities reserved for male students at Gloucester High School in Virginia. According to the ACLU, “Gavin graduated from high school in June. Rather than continuing to wait for a ruling on his request for a preliminary injunction (which was filed more than two years ago), we’re moving forward with his claim for damages and his demand to end the anti-trans policy permanently.”
The amended complaint alleges discrimination on the basis of transgender status in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (claiming “Transgender people as a class exhibit immutable or distinguishing characteristics that define them as a discrete group”) and discrimination “on the basis of sex” under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Grimm is seeking a declaration that the Board’s policy violated, and continues to violate “Gavin’s rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972,” nominal damages, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and “A permanent injunction requiring the Board to allow Gavin to use the same restrooms as other male alumni.” G.G. v. Gloucester County Sch. Bd. — Amended Complaint filed August 11, 2017 G.G. v. Gloucester County Sch. Bd. — ACLU Gavin Grimm’s Lawsuit Enters a New Phase — ACLU Gavin Grimm files amended complaint in case against Gloucester School Board — wavy.com
On August 9, 2017 the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) filed a lawsuit on behalf of five service members who identify as transgender challenging the President Trump’s directive to ban transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. According to the complaint, “The directive to reinstate a ban on open service by transgender people violates both the Equal Protection component of the Fifth Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
The lawsuit also notes, “The categorical exclusion of transgender people from military service lacks a rational basis, is arbitrary, and cannot be justified by sufficient federal interests.”
The Plaintiffs seek “a declaratory judgment that the President’s directive to categorically exclude transgender people from military service is unconstitutional;” a “preliminary injunction prohibiting the categorical exclusion of transgender people from military service;” a “permanent injunction prohibiting the categorical exclusion of transgender
people from military service;” and “reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees.”
Nicole Shah Brar, a seven-year-old boy who identifies as a girl, along with his parents, has filed a complaint Heritage Oak Private Education, an Orange County, CA school Brar previously attended. The lawsuit alleges the school unlawfully discriminated against Brar when “It refused to use the name, pronoun, and gender corresponding to Nikki’s gender identity, required Nikki to wear the boy’s uniform and use the boy’s restroom, and failed to address the bullying that Nikki was subjected to because of her gender identity and gender expression.”
According to the complaint, “In failing to treat Nikki in accordance with her gender identity, Heritage Oak and Nobel Learning Communities, Inc. violated the Unruh Civil Rights Act, California Civil Code section 51, which explicitly prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression.”
The complaint also alleges Heritage Oak violated the California Unfair Competition Law, which “prohibits unfair competition in the form of any unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business act or practice” when it “unfairly or falsely” represented Heritage Oak as “a non-discriminatory educational institution” that “values diversity” and provides an “individualized education for the whole child.”
“Nikki and her family seek injunctive relief to end these discriminatory practices so that no child is subjected to the harms Nikki has endured, so that no future consumers are deceived by the false representations, and so as to provide training and resources to the Heritage Oak community to allow Nikki to encounter former classmates without fear of harassment or emotional distress. Nikki and her family also seek damages and restitution for the tuition they paid for discriminatory educational services, lost income, increased therapy costs, and for Nikki’s pain and suffering.” Nicole Shar Brah v. Heritage Oak Private Education — complaint
In May 2017, California senators approved Bill 179, the Gender Recognition Act. The bill removes the requirement that a person seeking to obtain a new birth certificate from the State Registrar must have first “undergone clinically appropriate treatment” and instead allows anyone, regardless of whether or not they have undergone any treatment, to submit a form and obtain a new birth certificate. “This bill would authorize the change of gender on the new birth certificate to be female, male, or nonbinary.”
The bill would also “provide modified procedures to obtain a court order for a change of name to conform to the petitioner’s gender identity and a court judgment to recognize a change in the petitioner’s gender” while deleting the requirement that the petitioner must have first “undergone clinically appropriate treatment for the purpose of gender transition.”
It also deletes the minimum age requirement for changing the gender on ones identifying documents, and allows a minor to obtain new documents through the approval of one parent. The bill requires a potentially dissenting parent to appear in court to “show cause.” “If a petition has been filed for a minor by a parent and the other parent, if living, does not join in consenting thereto, the petitioner shall cause, not less than 30 days before the hearing, to be served notice of the time and place of the hearing or a copy of the order to show cause on the other parent…”
Though the bill notes “Transgender is an umbrella term used to describe people whose gender identity or gender expression do not match the gender they were assigned at birth” it fails to define “transgender” and “nonbinary” and provides no criteria for determining whether or not a person qualifies as either.
The bill is currently pending a decision from the Assembly and Governor Jerry Brown.
Read the full text here: CA Bill 179