On October 13, Terri Bruce, a transgender man, filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota, Western Division, alleging the South Dakota State Employee Health Plan “singles out transgender employees for unequal treatment by categorically depriving them of all medical care for gender dysphoria, regardless of whether those treatments are medically necessary under accepted standards of care” in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Bruce, who is represented by the ACLU, claims the state health plan declined to cover a mastectomy due to the categorical exclusion of “services or drugs related to gender transformations,” however, a mastectomy would be covered for an individual who “had been assigned male at birth and [was] experiencing clinically significant psychological distress from the size of his breasts … as medically necessary”
In its answer, the state admits mastectomy as medically necessary is covered under the health plan, subject to the specific exclusion of coverage for “services or drugs related to gender transformations,” but that “whether there is a legitimate medical justification for the exclusion is the subject of an existing dispute in the medical field.”
State of South Dakota sued over transgender health policy
State denies plan discriminates against transgender members
On November 30, Nova Maday, an 18-year-old male who identifies as a girl, filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court seeking access to the girls’ locker room at Palatine High School in Palatine, Illinois. The lawsuit claims Township High School District 211 (“the district”) “violat[ed] the Illinois Human Rights Act by treating her differently than other girls solely because she is transgender,” referring to the district’s refusal to allow Maday access to the girls’ locker room. Maday is the second transgender student to sue the district for access to the girls’ locker room. In 2015, the district settled a lawsuit filed by the U.S Department of Education and the ACLU on behalf of a transgender student allowing that student access to the girls’ locker rooms within a private changing area.
Maday, who is also represented by the ACLU of Illinois, claims the district “refused, withheld from, and denied Nova the full and equal enjoyment of its facilities, namely the girls’ locker rooms, based on her gender-related identity” in violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act. The complaint admits Maday agreed to use “the private restroom in the nurse’s office to change for P.E. class” but also claims doing so caused “anxiety, depression, and worsening of her gender dysphoria” and that as a result “her P.E. grade rapidly declined.” The complaint states, “The District’s actions signal to Nova that she is not really a girl and should feel ashamed of who she is and about her body, in particular.” Maday seeks “an order directing [the district] to cease and desist from discriminating on the basis of gender-related identity by refusing transgender students, including but not limited to Nova, to use the locker rooms consistent with their gender identity” as well as “actual damages, including damages for emotional distress.”
Lawsuit: 2nd transgender student fights for locker room access at Palatine district — Chicago Tribune
Transgender student sues Illinois district over locker room — Fox News
Melissa Rose Liljestrand is a 15-year-old boy who identifies as a girl. He recently appeared in front of Superior Court Judge Edward Moreton in Los Angeles, California, seeking a legal name change and gender marker change.
Under current California law, individuals seeking a gender marker change must obtain a note from a doctor, and individuals seeking name change must obtain a court order. Although some judges will sign the court order upon request, it is not uncommon for the judge to require a minor to appear in court for a hearing. A new law, which takes effect next year, modifies this process.
According to the Liljestrand family, Judge Moreton’s questions at the hearing “seemed skeptical — even critical — of Melissa’s transition.” The family claims Judge Moreton initially asked what pronouns and name he should use to refer to Melissa, and eventually asked “how she knew she was a girl,” saying, “Convince me.” The family also alleges he asked if the letter submitted to the court claiming Melissa had undergone “clinically appropriate treatment” was signed by “a real doctor” and that although he signed the court order approving the name and gender marker changes, he told Melissa it’s “just a piece of paper” and “does not make you a woman.”
After being asked to explain his claim that he is a girl, Melissa “began crying” and “fainted” and was granted a brief recess. Eric Liljestrand, Melissa’s father, referred to the question as “a strange, unanswerable request” (likely because it’s a garbage claim) and later stated that “the whole experience just drained my faith in the legal system.” One reasonably questions Mr. Liljestrand’s perception of how the legal system works, as he appears to believe one should be able to make a claim in front of a judge without being expected to provide any explanation or evidence to support it and somehow still obtain a favorable ruling.
The family filed a complaint with the Commission on Judicial Performance, referring to the hearing as “a traumatic experience.”
Transgender rights: Los Angeles families complain of insensitive treatment during court hearings — LA Times
Paris Valeta Bregazzi, a 30-year-old man who identifies as a transgender woman, shoved a police officer onto the train tracks at Hanger Lane Station in Ealing, west London on July 17 after he asked Bregazzi to “calm down” and stop “abusing other commuters.” The officer promptly arrested Bregazzi, who told police he “had downed four bottles of Prosecco and taken drugs during a wild night out.”
Bregazzi, who already has 40 prior convictions for assault, harassment, and shoplifting, including former attacks on train staff and passengers, “was detained in a male prison before pleading guilty to one count of doing an unlawful act on a railway with intent to endanger a person.”
At trial, defence barrister Mustapha Hakme claimed Bregazzi “is one surgery away from fully transitioning” and that his “mental health issues had been ‘exacerbated’ by [his] being transgender.” Hakme also explained that as a result of being transgender, Bregazzi “has been left full of anger and at the same time sadness.”
Judge Jeremy Dein released Bregazzi on bail, explaining he was “concerned” Bregazzi was held in custody “in very difficult circumstances,” and deferred sentencing until February. The offense carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Transgender woman shoved police officer on to train tracks after he asked her to stop abusing other commuters
The organizers of the London Anarchist Bookfair released a statement announcing “the current Bookfair Collective will not be organising a Bookfair in 2018,” potentially ending the event’s 34-year run.
The statement was released in response to an open letter titled, “Response to London Anarchist Bookfair 2017” which alleges the event organizers “chose to step in and offer protection and support to people promoting transphobic hate speech” and that the event “allows for transphobia and trans-misogyny to go unchecked.” Of course, the open letter included a list of demands and states, “[m]eeting these demands will be a starting point for re-engagement and the possibility of rebuilding trust with organisers, it is not a guarantee.”
In reply, the Bookfair Collective stated, “We are not going to apologise for protecting someone being mobbed by a group of up to about 30 people, and, along with others, preventing an ugly situation from deteriorating further. Obviously a lot of people are going to disagree with this, but anyone who seriously thinks that up to about 30 people shouting and threatening one woman, and in the process intimidating disabled comrades and children, was a “beautiful moment of direct action” should consider taking a look at themselves and their politics.”
The letter concludes by pointing out that “it’s easy to sign a statement” but “a lot harder to actually talk to people and try to work things out” and that although the signatories to the letter have numerous complaints and demands, “no one has offered to join the Collective and help us make the Bookfair better.”
“To reiterate: We will not be organising the Bookfair in 2018. For all those who think we did such a terrible job, who feel we didn’t get it right for people of colour, trans people, disabled people and probably others as well, show us how to do it properly. The Bookfair in 2018 is yours. We won’t come along and make trouble; we won’t denounce you on social media; we won’t criticise from the sidelines. But we are really interested to see how you solve all the problems you raise in your statement and implement your list of demands.”
UK transgender rights row intensifies as book fair is cancelled — The Guardian
On November 20, a federal jury awarded Rachel Tudor, a man who identifies as a transgender woman, $1.1 million in damages, finding that Tudor was “denied tenure in 2009-10 because of her gender,” “denied the opportunity to apply for tenure in the 2010-11 cycle … because of her gender,” and that Tudor faced retaliation from the university after complaining about workplace discrimination. The lawsuit claimed Tudor was denied tenure due to “transgender status” in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Tudor v. SE Oklahoma State University (USA) — Gender Identity Watch
Jury awards transgender professor $1.1 million in discrimination case — NBC News
Lily Madigan, a 19-year-old man who identifies as a woman, has been elected to serve as women’s officer for the Rochester & Strood Constituency Labour Party. The Labour Party’s rules state that “the women’s officer must be a woman.”
Madigan recently demanded Labour Party officials remove Anne Ruzylo because Madigan was offended by Ruzylo’s views on gender identity, which she expressed on Twitter. The complaint was dismissed, however, “it formed part of a wider transphobia campaign which partly prompted the resignation of Ms. Ruzylo and the rest of the executive committee Bexhill and Battle.”
Trans teenager Lily Madigan voted in as a Labour women’s officer
LGBT Labour, “The Labour Campaign for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans* Rights … affiliated to the Labour Party,” released a statement on November 13 claiming Linda Bellos, “who we believe to be a member of the Labour Party” was “inciting violence upon trans members and the wider trans community” in a speech she gave on November 8 at a talk called, “Let’s Talk About the GRA.” LGBT Labour demands the Labour Party “launch an investigation” since “her comments do not make the Labour Party a space for our trans members to feel safe.” Safety, in this context, appears to refer to the absence of women who disagree with trans activists’ views on the Gender Recognition Act.
On November 15, the Iowa State University College Republicans impeached Heather Dunn by a majority vote following allegations of sexual assault and harassment in violation of the Iowa State Code of Conduct.
“College Republicans argued that the sexual assault and harassment allegations, as defined by the Iowa State Code of Conduct, occurred at a party attended by its members in Adel, Iowa on Oct. 27.”
Dunn argues there is “plenty of evidence from testimony from members of this organization that the reason behind these phony allegations is because of the fact that I am transgender,” and that the accusations are slanderous, “outright lies.” Dunn also stated, “I was under the impression when I came out that the College Republicans were actually accepting of me. It looks like I was wrong.”
“Dunn said she intends to report the impeachment to the Office of Equal Opportunity on the grounds of discrimination and false accusations.”
College Republicans ousts transgender woman on sexual assault allegations — Iowa State Daily
Fair Play for Women, “an informal collective (mostly British) with urgent concerns about women’s rights & freedoms,” released a report concluding “that approximately half of the known transgender population in prison are either sex offenders and/or highly dangerous prisoners.”
According to the abstract, “No official figures are currently available regarding the number or type of convictions of trans-identifying male inmates in the prisons of England and Wales. This information is necessary to enable an accurate risk assessment of the impact of proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act 2004 on the women’s prison population. Using publicly available prison inspection reports, we searched for all references to transgender inmates and were able to identify at least 113 trans-identifying male inmates (people born male who identify as transgender).”
The Sunday Times reports, “Despite the imprecision of the figures, it appears likely, therefore, that between a third and a half of all England and Wales’s transgender prisoners — Fair Play for Women states 41% — are sex offenders. That compares with a proportion of 17% in the prison population as a whole.”
Read the full report here: Investigation into the number of trans-identifying males in prison in England and Wales and their offender profiles
Up to half of trans inmates may be sex offenders — The Sunday Times