Friday, September 18, 2020

How the Trump administration is getting around Bostock to allow anti-trans discrimination


Jillian Weiss, a New York-based transgender civil rights attorney, said the Trump administration is “doing its best to engage the LGBTQ community in a game of whack-a-mole” after having lost its argument of a more expansive view of the definition of “sex” in the Bostock case.

In addition to limiting the definition of “sex” under the law as it pertains to transgender people in sex-segregated facilities, Weiss said the Trump administration is seeking to expand a religious right to discriminate against any protected category.

“The Supreme Court seems to be going along with regard to the religious right to discriminate, but it is not clear yet what will happen with the attempts to narrowly define “sex,’” Weiss said. “The meaning of the term ‘sex’ has changed greatly over time, and scientists have taken the broader view. Given that, I do not believe that the narrow definition of ‘sex’ is valid in interpreting anti-discrimination laws.”

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Harris as VP pick brings diversity, LGBTQ ally to Biden ticket


Jillian Weiss, a New York-based transgender advocate who has been critical of Harris’ handling of trans inmate cases, said via email to the Blade she believes the vice presidential candidate “has moved beyond her previously limited understanding of transgender rights.”

“The entire country is learning about the importance of trans rights,” Weiss said. “I am certain that she will be a leader who actively supports increased rights for trans people. I am doubly certain that she and Joe Biden will be head and shoulders better for trans people than the actively transphobic administration we now have.”

“I disagree with her on some of her past and current positions,” Weiss said. “My yardstick for political support is not perfection. I am voting for her and for Joe Biden so that the suffering our community now endures can be alleviated.”

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Religion, LGBT Rights Again on Collision Course at High Court

“Religion is one of the few areas that conservatives have to hang their hat on,” said Jillian Weiss, special co-counsel to Outten & Golden, who works with the firm’s LGBTQ workplace rights practice group. “It will definitely be a major area of litigation.”

Funeral home owner Thomas Rost said he would be “violating God’s commands” if he allowed his transgender employee Aimee Stephens to work as a woman, during the Michigan business’s battle over gender identity discrimination that ultimately reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

Monday, August 3, 2020

‘Because of sex’ approach to protecting trans people

After promoting the trans legal case “because of sex” for years, I tried to get the national LGBTQ, and particularly trans, organizations to recognize our success post-Macy. They would have none of it. The lawyers at HRC, the National LGBT Task Force, and even NCTE, the National Center for Transgender Equality on whose board I sat, refused to acknowledge the breakthroughs. To get the word out I had to publish a pamphlet, with attorney Jillian Weiss and activist Riki Wilchins, which was promoted by Masen Davis and the Transgender Law Center, the only nationally oriented trans group willing to get on board. 

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Jillian Weiss explaining the LGBTQ Supreme Court Decision on Queersplaining

Jillian Weiss joins host Callie Wright for a discussion of the meaning and effects of Bostock v. Clayton County, the June 15 decision holding that gay and trans people are protected from discrimination under the federal Civil Rights Act.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Gay rights ruling pushes work dynamic already in motion


“The arguments raised by Saks in that case, that transgender employees are not protected, it caused a firestorm for them because of the fact that they are a retailer that has a lot of policies favoring LGBTQ people,” said Jillian Weiss, a prominent employment discrimination lawyer who brought the case. “They backed off that position. But now nobody is going to be able to take that position.”

Weiss said she expected the decision Monday to change her bargaining position in settlement talks with defendants who had said, “We’re not going to give you more because once the Supreme Court rules, then we’d have to give you zero.”

When a Walmart associate named Jacqueline Cote filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2014 contending that the company was discriminating against her by denying health insurance benefits to her same-sex spouse, it signaled the beginning of a drawn-out legal battle.

New York Times: Dormant Transgender Rights Cases See New Life in Supreme Court Ruling

“Twelve people in Oklahoma understood that this trans woman was discriminated against, and they should have their verdict back, and she should have her life back,” said Jillian Weiss, an employment discrimination lawyer who is representing Ms. Tudor.

Transgender Americans such as Rachel Tudor have been fighting for their rights at work, school and housing for years. On Monday, the Supreme Court gave them hope.