The Pro-trans bandwagon

Eighteen states and DC have banded together to file am amicus curiae brief in G. G. v Gloucester County School District at SCOTUS, which is scheduled to have oral arguments beginning March 28 (The brief is available at the link).

New York and Washington state are joined by California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai‘i, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, and the District of Columbia.

Discrimination against transgender people has no legitimate basis, and serves only to injure a group that is feared for being different.

[O]ur shared experience demonstrates that ensuring the civil rights of transgender people — including by allowing them access to common restrooms consistent with their gender identity — creates no public safety or personal privacy threat and imposes no meaningful financial burden.

--NY AG Eric Schneiderman

In January, 23 different states filed a brief supporting the school board, arguing that Title IX does not clearly cover transgender discrimination. They say it would overstep the federal government’s authority to withhold money from schools simply because those states don’t share the same interpretation of the law.

As I wrote yesterday, getting people to understand that discrimination against transgender people based on the sex registered on their birth certificate is discrimination based on sex on its face has been a struggle.

A ruling that holds Title IX does ban transgender discrimination, the states say, could provide “a crucial additional tool for ensuring equality by guaranteeing that transgender people can travel freely across State lines without fearing discrimination by educational institutions receiving federal funds.

--the brief

Providing transgender students access to bathrooms that align with their gender identity isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s the law. My office won’t hesitate to act to make sure all students are treated with dignity and fairness.

--Schneiderman

Another amicus brief was filed on Thursday.

15 religious organizations and more than 1,800 religious leaders threw their support behind a transgender student’s Supreme Court case on Thursday. Clergy from the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, the Unitarian Universalist Association, and Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism were among those who signed the brief.

They argue that equal treatment for transgender individuals, like Virginia teen Gavin Grimm, does not threaten religious liberty.

Amici come from faiths that have approached issues related to gender identity in different ways over the years, but are united in believing that the fundamental human dignity shared by all persons requires treating transgender students ... in a manner consistent with their gender identity. Amici also believe that, in our diverse and pluralistic society, the civil rights of transgender persons must be addressed according to religiously neutral principles of equal protection under the law.

The brief was filed by the New York law firm of Kramer, Levin Naftalis & Frankel. It specifically contends that equal treatment for transgender individuals under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 would not impinge on religious freedom, as argued by some opposing amicus briefs.

Religious freedom means that all voices may contribute to our national conversation, but particular religious perspectives on gender identity can neither be privileged, nor permitted to control the interpretation of statutes and regulations applicable to all.

--the brief

Our signatories believe that Gavin has the right to live his life consistent with his gender identity and reject the hurtful action of the school board in forcing him to use a stigmatizing separate restroom.

Those who would impose their religious views to deny Gavin fair and equal treatment do not speak monolithically for American ‘religion,’ which as always embraces a rich diversity of views, no one of which may be allowed under our system to determine public policy.

--Jeffrey Trachtman, Kramer Levin

A third brief was also filed yesterday, this one filed by 53 major US companies, including Amazon, Apple, IBM, Intel and Microsoft.

Transgender individuals deserve the same treatment and protections as all other members of our society.

Notably, all [the companies] have nondiscrimination policies or practices that permit transgender individuals to use the company facilities consistent with their gender identity—policies that amici adopted out of respect for the dignity, autonomy, and privacy of their transgender employees and/or customers and also because [they] know that diversity and inclusion are good for business.

None of these policies has resulted in an increase in sexual assaults or incidents of the kind invoked by the Board and supporters of the Policy. To the contrary, [the companies] find that their policies contribute to a work environment that promotes collaboration, creativity and productivity.

The signatories to this brief are Affirm, Inc., Airbnb, Inc., Amazon.com, Inc., Apple, Asana, Inc., Box, Inc., Codecademy, Credo Mobile, Inc., Dropbox, Inc., eBay Inc., Etsy, Fastly, Inc., Flipboard, Inc., Gap Inc., General Assembly, GitHub, Inc., IBM, Intel Corporation, Kickstarter, PBC, Knotel, Inc., LinkedIn, Lyft, M Booth, MAC Cosmetics Inc., Mapbox, Inc., Marin Software Incorporated, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance, Microsoft Corporation, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, MongoDB Inc., NetApp, Inc., Next Fifteen Communications Corporation, Nextdoor, Pandora Media, Inc., PayPal Holdings, Inc., Postmates Inc., Replacements, Ltd., RetailMeNot, Inc., Salesforce, Shutterstock, Inc., Slack Technologies, Inc., Spotify, The OutCast Agency, The WhiteWave Foods Company, Tumblr, Inc., Twilio Inc., Twitter Inc., Udacity, Inc., Warby Parker, Williams-Sonoma, Inc., Yahoo! Inc., Yelp Inc., Zendesk, Inc.

The 53 companies, representing over 1.3 million employees and $613 billion in revenue.

The brief was authored by the firm BakerHostetler, one of the nation's largest law firms.

City leaders in Salt Lake City have joined the brief filed by New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and over 30 other cities, counties and mayors, which I mentioned yesterday.

Finally, the National PTA, GLSEN, American School Counselor Association, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Independent Schools, Colorado Association of School Executives, and the Massachusetts Association of School Committees have also filed a brief in support of Gavin Grimm in the case.

This case brings to the nation's highest court an issue GLSEN has advocated for decades: providing basic rights for transgender students in schools. All students, including transgender students have a right to a safe, supportive and inclusive learning environment. Gavin Grimm's story is one of countless transgender youth who suffer discrimination in schools and GLSEN is confident that the law is on our side. We have seen a tremendous increase in visibility of and public education about the trans community of late and this historic case will mark a milestone in American civil rights history.

--Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN

Every child deserves to receive a great education in a safe, supportive, positive and inclusive environment. However, like Gavin, the vast majority of LGBTQ students are bullied, physically assaulted and feel unsafe in school because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. There is a need for explicit protection of LGBTQ youth as it is critical to their overall health and well-being and long-term success. National PTA is pleased to team up with GLSEN and other education organizations on the amici curiae brief in support of Gavin and all LGBTQ students and to ensure every child is treated fairly and equally under the law.

----Laura Bay, National PTA

Childhood and adolescence is a time of tremendous intellectual, emotional and physical growth for students as well as crucial periods of exploration and discovery about themselves and their identity. Schools and educators should provide all the support they can to help students navigate these times of change and should not be constrained by policies that marginalize or discriminate against certain students.

--Dr. Richard Wong, ASCA

The National Association of School Psychologists strongly supports clear federal guidance protecting all students civil rights under Title IX. Schools nationwide are increasingly supporting and affirming these rights for transgender students; however, federal guidance that more explicitly clarifies this protection is needed in order to ensure the protection of students' civil rights in every school in the country. These basic rights are essential to students' learning and well-being and should not be dependent on where they live.

--Melissa Reeves, NASP President

Other briefs :

Martine Rothblatt, creator and owner of XM Sirius, and a transgenser woman

101 transgender Americans

Terry S Kogan, on the history of public bathrooms

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