On December 27, Charlene Bost, a man who identifies as a transgender woman, filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina against Sam’s East, Inc. and Wal-Mart Associates, Inc. The complaint alleges the corporation “illegally terminated Ms. Bost in retaliation for her legally protected complaints, and/or because of sex and disability” in violation of the Titles I and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Bost, who is represented by the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, previously filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). The EEOC issued several letters of determination in August 2017 upon finding evidence of discrimination and hostile work environment. Bost’s lawsuit seeks a declaratory judgement, an unspecified amount in damages, and an order compelling the defendant corporation to “institute and carry out policies, practices, programs, and training which provide equal employment opportunities for employees with disabilities” or “who are transgender and/or gender non-conforming.”
Andrew Balcer is an 18-year-old male who murdered his parents and the family dog in October 2016 because he “did not believe his parents would support him in his gender identity struggles.”
On December 22, 2017, a grand jury indicted Balcer, charging him with two counts of intentional or knowing murder and one of aggravated cruelty to animals. If convicted, Balcer faces a prison sentence of 25 years to life for the murder charges, and up to five years on the aggravated cruelty to animals charge. Balcer’s attorney has indicated he intends to plead “not guilty.”
In his ruling granting the state’s petition to have Balcer tried as an adult, Judge Eric Walker wrote, “The only possible motive for the murders appears to be Andrew’s perception that his parents were unwilling or unable to deal with his transgender issues. We will never know if Antonio or Alice Balcer would have been accepting, because they were ambushed and murdered by Andrew.” Winthrop teen indicted on charges of murdering parents, killing family dog
On December 20, the ACLU of Washington filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of Washington for King County against Swedish Health Services (“SHS”) on behalf of Ari Robbins, who identifies as a transgender man. The complaint alleges SHS abruptly canceled Robbins’s chest reconstruction surgery without plausible explanation in violation of the Washington Law Against Discrimination and the Washington Consumer Protection Act.
According to the complaint, Robbins was “forced to continue binding for many more months, causing him physical pain that affected his schoolwork and personal life” after SHS canceled Robbins’s procedure. The complaint defines binding as “a form of medical treatment that maintains psychological well-being by allowing them to interact with the world consistent with their male identity and to see themselves and be seen by others as male.” The complaint also states that binding is painful, causing Robbins to experience “shortness of breath, chest pain, soreness, rashes, severe neck and back pain, headaches, and bruised ribs.” The complaint fails to state how SHS “forced” Robbins to continue this practice, yet alleges the “severe headaches and neck pain from wearing the binder … intensified” after the surgery was canceled. Additionally, the complaint alleges SHS caused Robbins to have to “drive to Idaho in the midst of law school final examinations” to reschedule the “much-needed” procedure.
The ACLU of Washington recently filed a similar lawsuit in federal court, alleging the parents of a 17-year-old child were “forced” to take out a second mortgage on their house and use their child’s college savings to pay for her “medically necessary” chest reconstruction surgery. Robbins v. Swedish Health Services, Inc. — complaint, filed December 20, 2017 New lawsuit: local hospital denied surgery to trans patient
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently settled a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of Jonathan (De’Ashia) Wolfe, a man who identifies as a transgender woman, against Bojangles Restaurants, a corporation operating a chain of fast-food restaurants.
The lawsuit alleged Bojangles violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when “subjected a transgender employee to a hostile work environment because of gender identity” and subsequently “fired the employee in retaliation for reporting the sexual harassment.” Wolfe claims to have been “repeatedly subjected to offensive comments about her gender identity and appearance” and that managers demanded Wolfe “behave and groom in ways that are stereotypically male since Wolfe was born male.”
According to the settlement agreement, Bojangles agreed to pay Wolfe $15,000 and provide annual live-presenter training on Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination “to all specified area directors, unit directors, assistant unit directors, and shift managers” and “to report to the EEOC any complaints of harassment based on gender identity or gender expression at specified restaurants.” Bojangles’ To Pay $15,000 To Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuit
On December 14, policy analysts at the Center for Disease Control (“CDC”) were instructed not to use the word “transgender” in any official documents related to next year’s budget. The Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), which oversees the CDC, additionally banned the words “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based” from any documents or supporting materials that are to be used in preparing the CDC’s budget. According to the Washington Post, “CDC officials confirmed the existence of a list of forbidden words. It’s likely that other parts of HHS are operating under the same guidelines regarding the use of these words.”
Shagasyia “Shea” Diamond is a man who identifies as “a Black Trans Woman with experience in the sex trades.” In 1999 he committed an armed robbery and was sentenced to 5 to 20 years in prison. He served ten years in various men’s prisons in Michigan and was released in 2009.
According to Diamond, “My crime was to get funds for gender-conforming surgery … I was criminalized because I couldn’t endure living in a gender that wasn’t my own.” He conveniently minimizes the fact that he was actually sentenced to prison not because of his gender identity, but because he committed a violent crime.
He additionally claims, “I was suffering from gender identity disorder and gender dysphoria, so I committed a crime,” again minimizing the fact that armed robbery is a violent crime. “I acted out of duress and desperation to live my truth as the female I am,” he states, attempting to use his gender identity crisisin defenseof his actions.
In 2014 he was arrested at his Bronx apartment following “a dispute” with his ex-husband and placed in a men’s holding cell.
In 2017 Diamond is a men’s rights activist, who believes female correctional officers should be forced to strip-search male inmates and that male inmates should be housed in women’s prisons if they identify as women. He’s also involved with The Women’s Building, a former women’s prison that’s “being turned into an inclusive place where all women can find support,” and claims it’s “a space for women and girls like me and all women everywhere.” Activists say police abuse of transgender people persists despite reforms — New York Times
Hamilton County Job and Family Services (“JFS”), in Ohio, recently filed a complaint in the Hamilton County Juvenile Court against the parents of a 16-year-old who identifies as a transgender boy, seeking custody of the teen and asking Judge Sylvia Hendon to order treatment at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center over the parents’s objections. The child’s parents, who would prefer their child receive only Christian-based therapy, claim the allegations set forth in the complaint are not true. The child currently lives with grandparents, who are also seeking custody.
Drew Adams is a 16-year-old student at Nease High School in St Johns County, FL who identifies as a transgender boy. Adams filed a federal lawsuit against The School Board of St. Johns County, FL seeking to force the school to allow students to use the school’s sex-segregated facilities based on the student’s gender identity, regardless of the rights of other students to access single sex-segregated facilities.
Oral testimony in Adams’s case concluded on Wednesday, December 13. According to Judge Timothy Corrigan, the issue in this case is, “does the district’s policy nevertheless violate Title IX (education laws) or does it violate the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution?” Judge Corrigan is expected to issue a ruling sometime in 2018, reportedly before the 2018-19 school year, Adams’s senior year, begins in the fall. Adams v. The School Board of St. Johns County, Florida — Gender Identity Watch (June 28, 2017)
Tahlia René is a man who identifies as a transgender woman. He was recently banned from Tinder for “violating our Terms of Service or Community Guidelines in some way.” Although Tinder declined to state precisely how René had violated the Terms of Service or Community Guidelines, René surmises he was banned “because of men mass reporting me for being trans.”