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This is not legal advice, which can only be given by an attorney admitted to practice law in your jurisdiction after hearing all of the facts and circumstances in a particular case.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Transgender Law Institute at Lavender Law

We held our first Transgender Law Institute at the National LGBT Bar Association's Lavender Law Conference last Thursday.

We had about 75 people in attendance, from all over the country. It was an amazing gathering of talent, and I felt honored to chair the conference committee.

The Committee itself was amazing - Prof. Jennifer Levi of GLAD, Prof. Julie Greenberg of Thomas Jefferson Law School, Seth Marnin of Outten & Golden, Dru Levasseur of Lambda Legal, and Matt Wood of the Transgender Law Center. If you don't know who these people are, they're well worth looking up. They're committed lawyers and scholars who have each contributed a tremendous amount to trans legal issues.

Here's the agenda for the Transgender Law Institute along with the hypotheticals we used, and a list of resources available for download.

Some of these hypotheticals were quite interesting, and I think everyone learned a lot about how to protect the rights of trans clients. Here's one example, that I presented with the wonderful Denise Brogan-Kator of the Rainbow Law Center in Michigan:

Employment Hypothetical

Your clients, Aggie, Betty and Clyde, work at local restaurants in various capacities, including wait staff, bookkeeping and management. All are transgender. Aggie, assigned to the male sex at birth, transitioned ten years ago, and consistently passes as female. Betty, also assigned to the male sex at birth, is in the process of transition, and passes as female about half the time. Clyde, assigned as female at birth, transitioned five years ago and passes as male consistently.

Aggie's manager received a no-match letter from the Social Security Administration because Aggie's sex marker on her Social Security Account did not match the employer's report of her as female. Aggie's manager has accused her of filing a fraudulent employment application, and there are indications she may be terminated.

Betty's restaurant has single use bathrooms. Betty's manager insists that Betty present as a male in order to work there. He requires Betty to dress androgynously and use the single use men's room.

Clyde's manager wants to know what surgery Clyde has had in order to decide whether Clyde can use the men's bathroom. Clyde would like to know if he can include his female partner on his health insurance.

What do you think the legal rights of Aggie, Betty and Clyde are?

If you like this one, I'll post another one. We've got ones on health care, sex segregation and identity documents. For next year, we're going to try to do different topics. There are so many important trans legal topics!

Also, the website has a list of resources from our presenters, with great articles like these:

  • AIC Sterilization Paper

  • AMA resolution of medical necessity

  • Availability of Transgender-Inclusive Group Health Insurance Plans

  • Bathrooms and SS Facilities

  • Bioethics Forum coverage of post-surgical experiments on young intersex girls

  • DC DMV Gender Change Policies

  • Health Insurance Discrimination for Transgender People

  • Joint Commission Final Guidelines for nondiscrimination in accredited hospitals

  • Lambda Legal comments on proposed DSM changes

  • Passport Gender Change Policy June 2010

  • San Francisco Transgender Health Benefits

  • Time Magazine coverage of prenatal dexamethasone use

  • Transgender-Inclusive Benefits for Employees and Dependents

  • Transgender Workplace Diversity Policy

  • WPATH reaction to proposed DSM change

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