Transgender/LGBT Rights

  1. “Bathroom Bills” Apply to All Public Facilities, Including Showers and Locker Rooms.
    Despite being commonly referred to as “bathroom bills,” the laws and policy statements regarding transgender individual’s bathroom access apply equally to locker rooms and showering facilities.  Bathroom bills are laws that seek to restrict access to public facilities on the basis of the sex that an individual was assigned at birth.  These regulations, whether merely proposed or actually enacted, are intended to apply to facilities other than just bathrooms.
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  1. Persistent failure to use a transgender employee’s preferred name, or update the employee’s records to reflect the preferred name, may constitute harassment.

    The EEOC in Lusardi v. Dep’t of the Army, EEOC Appeal No. 0120133395, 2015 WL 1607756 (Mar. 27, 2015), held that intentional misuse of a transgender employee’s new name and pronoun may constitute sex-based discrimination and/or harassment. In Complainant v. Dep’t of Veterans Affairs, EEOC Appeal No. 0120133123, 2014 WL 1653484 (E.E.O.C.) (Apr. 16, 2014), the EEOC held that an employer’s year-long failure to revise its records pursuant to changes in gender identity was severe or pervasive enough to constitute a claim of sex-based harassment.
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It seems like an odd place to wage a civil rights war, but right now across the country there is a serious debate over public bathroom use. The LGBT community, backed by the U.S. Department of Labor (OSHA), has taken the position that a person should be able to use the bathroom of the gender to which he/she identifies, regardless of their anatomy. In response, the Minnesota-based retailer Target is now transitioning to gender-neutral restrooms. Not everyone agrees with this position. (more…)

The Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12191, et seq. (“ADA”), expressly excludes from its protections individuals whose gender identity disorder is not the result of a physical impairment. The so-called “GID exclusion” is found in § 12211(b)(1) of the ADA, which provides, in no uncertain terms, that “transvestism, transsexualism, pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments, or other sexual behavior disorders” do not fall under the Act’s definition of “disability.” (more…)

The holidays have come and gone.  I hope everyone enjoyed them, and I hope everyone received the gifts and presents they asked for.   I come from a big family—three siblings, 14 aunts and uncles, and nearly twenty cousins.  Growing up, opening presents around the holidays was a roll of the dice.  You were just as likely to receive a wool sweater with jingle bells as you were the must-have gift of the season.  If you ‘won’ the sweater, you’d wear it with a smile until mid-January, and then toss into the closet.  If you ‘won’ the must-have gift of the season, you’d play with it well into next Fall.  To this day, my Mom will tell you that the best way to judge a gift is to see how far into the next year you’re still enjoying it (i.e., how far into the next year you’re still playing with it / wearing it / riding it / using it / remembering where you last put it). (more…)