A Black trans woman says her housing complex discriminated against her family and refused to respect her gender identity.
Shayla Anderson and her husband have filed a lawsuit accusing the Grand Fountain apartment complex in Richmond, Texas of discrimination.
“I went to her office, and she said, ‘I’m not going to speak with you about this,’” Anderson told KPRC. “‘I’m not going to speak with you about this, sir.’”
“She took my womanhood and crushed it by calling me sir.”
From there, Anderson reached out to the company in charge of the apartment complex, SunRidge Management Group, who never got back to her.
After filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Anderson then posted a video of the property manager approaching her husband and son while they played basketball and accusing them of not living in the building.
The building then demanded Anderson remove the video before issuing their family an eviction notice, despite the fact that they hadn’t received any warnings.
Anderson said she had not been paying rent, but that her lawyers had advised her to stop due to the lawsuit.
In a statement, SunRidge denied all claims of discrimination and stated, “We adhere to the highest standards of managing the Grand Fountain community and comply with all fair housing laws.”
But Anderson is not backing down.
“Because, you’re a big corporation you can’t treat the little people wrong,” she said. “We have a voice as well.”
“A lot of people say, ‘Well, why don’t you move? Why don’t you get out of there?’ Because then I give them the power.”
Just hours after a Montana judge blocked health officials from enforcing a state rule that would prevent transgender people from changing the gender on their birth certificate, the Republican-run state on Thursday said it would defy the order.
Moses said there was no question that state officials violated his earlier order by creating the new rule. Moses said his order reinstates a 2017 Department of Public Health and Human Services rule that allowed people to update the gender on their birth certificate by filing an affidavit with the department.
However, the state said it would disregard the ruling.
“The Department thoroughly evaluated the judge’s vague April 2022 decision and crafted our final rule to be consistent with the decision. It’s unfortunate that the judge’s ruling today does not square with his vague April decision,” said Charlie Brereton, director of the Department of Public Health and Human Services.
Brereton said the agency was keeping the rule it issued last week in place and an agency spokesperson said the department is waiting to see the judge’s written order before considering its next steps.
ACLU attorney Malita Picasso expressed dismay with the agency’s stance and said officials should immediately start processing requests for birth certificate changes.
“It’s shocking that after this morning’s hearing the department would allege there was any lack of clarity in the court’s ruling from the bench,” Picasso said. “It was very clear that Judge Moses expressly required a reversion to the 2017 policy, and anything short of that is a continued flagrant violation of the court’s order.”
Such open defiance of judge’s order is very unusual from a government agency, said Carl Tobias, a former University of Montana Law School professor now at the University of Richmond. When officials disagree with a ruling, the typical response is to appeal to a higher court, he said.
“Appeal is what you contemplate — not that you can nullify a judge’s orders. Otherwise, people just wouldn’t obey the law,” Tobias said. “The system can’t work that way.”′
The move could leave state officials open to contempt of court charges, which in some cases can lead to jail time for offenders, Tobias said. He added that the attorneys representing the state were likely aware of the potential consequences but were “caught in the middle” between a recalcitrant agency and the judge.
The legal dispute comes as conservative lawmakers in numerous states have sought to restrict transgender rights, including with bans on transgender girls competing in girls school sports.
The Montana law said people had to have a “surgical procedure” before they could change the sex listed on their birth certificate, something Moses found to be unconstitutional because it did not specify what type of procedure was required.
Gov. Greg Gianforte’s administration then created a new rule that blocked changes to birth certificates entirely, unless there was a clerical error.
Moses said during Thursday morning’s hearing that his April ruling had been “clear as a bell” and compared the state’s subsequent actions to a person twice convicted of assault who tries to change their name following a third accusation to avoid a harsher punishment.
“Isn’t that exactly what happened here?” Moses asked. “I’m a bit offended the department thinks they can do anything they want.”
One of the plaintiffs in the case, Amelia Marquez, said she was disgusted by the state’s response.
“We have people that think that they’re above the law and don’t have to listen to the judiciary branch of our government,” she said.
After learning the state planned to defy the court order, Shawn Reagor with the Montana Human Rights Network said the organization “will not stand by while the Gianforte administration blatantly disregards rulings from the courts to continue a vindictive attack on the trans community.”
Only Tennessee, Oklahoma and West Virginia have sweeping prohibitions against birth certificate changes similar to what Montana has pursued, advocates for transgender rights say. Bans in Idaho and Ohio were struck down in 2020.
A Republican lawmaker who voted in favor of the 2021 law suggested Moses was biased in favor of the plaintiffs in the case. Moses was appointed to the court by former Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat.
“Like clockwork, Judge Moses issued yet another predetermined order in favor of liberal plaintiffs without thoroughly engaging with the legal issues at hand,” Sen. Greg Hertz of Polson said in a statement.
The ACLU of Montana had asked Moses to clarify his order after the state health department enacted its new temporary rule effectively banning birth certificate changes a month after Moses handed down his temporary injunction in the case. That rule was made permanent last week.
The state argued the injunction did not prevent the health department from making rules, but Moses said under case law the injunction reinstated the 2017 rules and any other changes are on hold while the case is decided.
State officials denied that the new rule preventing birth certificate changes was adopted in bad faith. Montana Assistant Solicitor Kathleen Smithgall said the state came up with the new rule to fill a gap in regulations after the 2021 law was blocked.
“Judge Moses mischaracterized the words of his own order, the parties’ motives, and the state of the law,” said Kyler Nerison, a spokesperson for Attorney General Austin Knudsen.
On August 30, middle school administrators allegedly pulled a 13-year-old transgender boy out of class so an investigator from the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) could ask him personal questions about his past medical history, gender dysphoria, and past suicide attempt.
The boy — given the pseudonym “Steve Koe” in court documents — was left “shaking and distressed” by the interrogation, The Washington Post reported. Worse yet, the interrogation allegedly occurred after a court told DFPS investigators to stop doing them.
Now, Koe’s story is a part of supplemental evidence being filed by the LGBTQ-advocacy organizations Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in its lawsuit against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
In February, Abbott ordered DFPS to investigate for child abuse any parents who allow their trans children to access gender-affirming medical care. Abbott based his order on a non-binding opinion from the state’s Attorney General Ken Paxton which called such care a form of “child abuse.”
Paxton’s opinions and Abbott’s order both went against the best practices of pediatrics outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and the American Psychological Association. These organizations consider gender-affirming medical care necessary in many cases, noting it reduces mental anguish and suicide risk among trans youth.
Soon after issuing his order, several DFPS employees quit and some state attorneys refusedto enforce it. The Texas Supreme Court ruled that neither Abbott nor Paxton had the authority to issue the order. Several families with trans children, represented by Lambda Legal and the ACLU also filed a lawsuit against Abbott.
The presiding district judge in the lawsuit issued a temporary restraining order, effectively stopping DFPS’ investigations while the court prepares to consider the order’s legality in December.
Koe’s story — part of supplemental evidence illustrating how state agencies are handling the alleged child abuse cases — suggested that DFPS continued its investigations of trans families, even after the court ordered it to stop. In a May briefing, state government officials noted that the judge’s ruling to temporarily stop the probes “prevents a state agency from carrying out its statutory duty to investigate reported child abuse,” the Postwrote.
Another woman, identified pseudonymously in court documents as Samantha Poe, said her 14-year-old child became the subject of a DFPS abuse investigation even though the child had received no gender-affirming medical care. The child was only “in midst of exploring what a social transition feels like,” Poe said. But DFPS opened an investigation against the child’s family in February. The stress has left the child with “suicidal ideations,” court documents state.
DFPS employees are speaking out about how Abbott’s order circumvented rule-making procedures at the state agency and made it much harder for its employees to help victims of actual abuse.
The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) has just adopted a rule change forbidding transgender people from changing the gender listed on their birth certificates.
The rule change is just the latest in an ongoing legal battle between the DPHHS, the state’s Republican-led legislature, and trans Montanans seeking government documents that display their correct gender identities.
The DPHHS’ new rule says that a person’s sex listed on a birth certificate can now only be changed if it was incorrectly entered by a “data entry error” or if “the sex of the individual was misidentified on the original certificate and the department receives a correction affidavit and supporting documents, … including a copy of the results of chromosomal, molecular, karyotypic, DNA, or genetic testing that identify the sex of the individual.”
The DPHHS implemented this rule five months after a state judge issued a ruling blocking a state law requiring state residents to undergo a non-specified “surgical procedure” before they could change the gender listed on their birth certificates.
Montana’s Republican-led legislature passed this law, S.B. 280, in April 2021. Previous to the law, the DPHHS said that transgender residents could change the gender marker on their birth certificates if they were intersex, had undergone “a gender transition,” or had a certified court order indicating that their gender had been changed.
In July 2021, two transgender state residents sued the state’s Gov. Greg Gianforte (R), DPHHS, and its director, claiming that S.B. 280 had made it virtually impossible for them to change their birth certificates, thus violating their constitutional right to privacy and due process.
“Denying me an accurate birth certificate places me at risk of embarrassment or even violence every time I am required to present my birth certificate because it incorrectly identifies me as male,” said Amelia Marquez, one of the plaintiffs and a trans woman, in a statement.
S.B. 280 also made it impossible for many trans people to get a corrected birth certificate because such surgery is too expensive for many people, not all trans people want or need gender-affirming genital surgery, and many are not good candidates for it for medical reasons.
The state disagreed and said that S.B. 280 was necessary to maintain accurate birth records.
However, in April 2022, state Judge Michael Moses said that the law’s requirement of an unspecified surgical procedure made it impossible for anyone to follow. The judge then issued a temporary injunction against S.B. 280, essentially blocking it from going into effect.
But the state chapter of the ACLU says that Montana government officials have done nothing to comply with the judge’s order. For instance, a gender change form that DPHHS removed from its website after S.B. 280 was passed still hasn’t returned to the website.
“The fact that the state refuses to revert to the previous processes evidences its lack of respect for the judiciary and utter disregard for the transgender Montanans who seek to have a birth certificate that accurately indicates what they know their sex to be,” the ACLU said in their statement. “If the state continues to violate the preliminary injunction, we will have no choice but to seek relief from the court.”
A 33-year-old Black trans woman was fatally shot in Detroit last week, becoming the second trans woman in a month to be murdered there.
On August 27, Dede Ricks was pronounced dead at the scene after police found her on the ground with gunshot wounds to her chest and back, The Detroit News reported.
Thirty-one-year-old Antoine Close has been arrested for killing Ricks and charged with second-degree murder and felony firearm possession. A motive has not been revealed.
“The fact that we have seen two homicides of transgender women in just three weeks shows the danger this community faces,” Alanna Maguire, president of LGBTQ advocacy organization Fair Michigan, said in a statement.
“Rather than being supported, we often hear people vilify the transgender community which fuels this kind of violence and hate. We are proud to work with Prosecutor Worthy’s office on these cases, and we hope to bring justice to the victims and their families.”
Wayne County, Michigan Prosecutor Kym Worthy emphasized that “while some protections for transgender citizens in Michigan are finally beginning to be recognized, their lives are still very much in danger.”
“We have seen this happen before and hope that this does not become a pattern,” she said.
The statement from the prosecutor’s office also inexplicably used Ricks’s deadname and then explained what a deadname is.
At the end of July, 28-year-old Hayden Davis, another Black trans woman, was also shot and killed in Detroit. Her killer has not been found, reports Fox2Detroit. Worthy said the cases do not seem to be connected.
In the United States, at least 27 trans people have been killed by violent means so far this year, according to the Human Rights Campaign. 2021 saw a record number of murders, with 50 trans and gender nonconforming people killed.
A man has been arrested for the murder of a trans woman in India, after a piece of her body was found in his home.
Warning: this story contains graphic content.
Zoya Kinnar, a trans woman in the city of Indore, India, had been missing since Sunday (28 August), according to the IANS news service.
Parts of her mutilated body were discovered on Tuesday (29 August), and on Thursday (1 September), police said officers had arrested a man named Noor Mohammad for her murder.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Sampat Upadhyay said that Mohammad had been questioned by police based after a part of Kinnar’s body was discovered at his house.
Upadhyay said that Mohammad had befriended Kinnar on social media in the hope of having a sexual relationship with her, and had invited her to his house.
But when he discovered that she was transgender, he got “furious and hit Zoya badly”, before strangling her to death.
He “cut Zoya’s body into pieces” before attempting to dispose of them in various locations. But before he could completely dispose of her body, he was identified by police based on CCTV evidence.
LGBTQ+ rights have advanced in India over the last decade, including the decriminalisation of gay sex in 2018, the 2014 Supreme Court decision in National Legal Services Authority v Union of India, which ruled that discrimination based on gender identity was unconstitutional and allowed trans folk to legally register as a “third gender”, and the banning of conversion therapy in 2021.
However, there is much further to go before LGBTQ+ people in India have true legal and social equality.
The country does not recognise same-sex marriage or joint adoption by same-sex parents, and LGBTQ+ people are not able to serve openly in the military.
Stigma relating to queer identities is widespread, with one 2018 studyshowing that a third of gay men in India are married to women, and a 2021 study revealing that one in five people believe that same-sex couples “should not be allowed to marry or obtain any kind of legal recognition”.
A Virginia school district adopted a policy this week potentially requiring transgender students to submit a significant amount of evidence, including “disciplinary” or “criminal” records, to school administrators in order to use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity.
The Hanover County School Board approved the new policy in a 5-2 vote on Tuesday, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. In order for transgender students to use restrooms, locker rooms or changing facilities that align with their gender identity — as opposed to those that match their sex assigned at birth — they must submit a number of documents to the principal of their school.
Trans students are now required to produce a statement specifying their gender identity and expression and have their parent or guardian submit a letter as well. They may also be asked to submit a signed letter from a physician, therapist or counselor verifying that they’ve been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, as well as additional information “related to the privacy and safety of other students.”
After reviewing the documents, the school principal will write a summary of the request that will go before the school board for final approval, the policy states. The board has the final authority over whether to approve or deny the request.
Prior to adopting the policy, one board member, Bob Hundley, attempted to drop the portion about requiring disciplinary or criminal records, referring to the stipulation as a “criminal background check,” according to the Times-Dispatch. That attempt failed.
In an interview with the Times-Dispatch after the meeting, Hanover County School Board Chairman John Axselle III said part of the purpose of the new policy is to ensure that students who wish to use facilities that align with their gender identity don’t have “ulterior intent.”
In an email to NBC News, Axselle declined to comment on the policy beyond what was discussed at Tuesday’s meeting.
A coalition of LGBTQ advocacy organizations in the state decried the policy and called the new requirements an “undue burden” that will force transgender students in the district — which oversees about 17,000 students — to “earn” the right to use public school facilities.
“By adopting the restroom and locker room policy, HCSB has shown it continues to fail the students of Hanover County,” said Narissa S. Rahaman, the executive director of the LGBTQ advocacy organization Equality Virginia, in a press release, adding the policy will “further stigmatize transgender and non-binary students who are already at risk of bullying and discrimination.”
According to Equality Virginia, the school board approved the policy despite what the organization characterized as “overwhelming opposition,” including nearly 40 public comments objecting to the measure.
Last week, the Hanover NAACP called on Axselle to resign. He told the Times-Dispatch he has no intention of stepping down.
This is not the first time the Hanover County School District has been in the spotlight over its policies — or lack thereof — regarding transgender students.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia filed a lawsuit against the district’s school board in December, alleging that it failed to comply with a statewide law passed in March 2020 requiring districts to enact multiple protections for transgender students by the start of the 2021 school year, including access to bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity.
The suit, which was filed on behalf of five families with transgender children in the district, is still pending in Hanover County Circuit Court.
Marsha P. Johnson — a towering figure in the Stonewall Rebellion — would have celebrated her 77th birthday this week. Johnson was an outspoken advocate for gay and trans rights, and the “P” in her name stood for “Pay it no mind” — her response when asked about her gender.
In honor of the late activist’s birthday, the Blade sat down with Elle Moxley, founder of the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, to discuss how Johnson’s legacy lives on.
BLADE: When and why did you found the Marsha P. Johnson Institute?
ELLE MOXLEY: The Marsha P. Johnson Institute launched in 2019, and my founding of the organization was in response to the consistent murders that were being reported of Black trans women across the country. I have spent many years working as an organizer and activist, and I saw that there was a gap in social justice spaces — in terms of the solutions that were being generated in response to those murders, but also to the systemic and structural violence that existed around Black trans people and Black people period.
The organization was named in honor of Marsha P. Johnson to affirm the movement that Marsha spearheaded and to create a space where the movement of today had a place to live, without disregarding the history of so many that came before.
BLADE: Can you tell me about the spirit of Marsha P. Johnson that you see in the Institute?
MOXLEY: The fight for equity is something that we see as an evolvement of Marsha’s belief in equality, and we recognize that Marsha was very visible in a movement that did not always reflect faces that looked like hers, in terms of what we understood about LGBTQ rights or LGBTQ people. Knowing that Black trans people exist outside of our deaths and outside of our murders is really where we see the evolvement of our work at the Institute, but that evolvement would not even be possible if Marsha had not made herself visible on the front lines of her activism. It is in that regard where we see ourselves very much mirroring a model that she created for the movement, and we have certainly held up the torch and are carrying it forward.
BLADE: The Institute’s Starship Artists Fellowships are set to begin soon — what are your hopes for the new program?
MOXLEY: With all of our new programming, it really is our hope that we are changing the culture of global societies — that we are not only making Black trans people visible, but we’re making the full humanity of our existence visible. The artists’ fellowship was created to pay homage to the visionaries that exist in the Black trans community. There’s a Black trans renaissance that certainly is underway, and we want to continue to support that function of movement. A lot of people assume that movement is literally about protesting — and that certainly is a big part of it — but there are other ways that you can resist but also practice your joy. We really want it to mirror that Black trans people are joyful — we have joy, and murder is not the only thing we expect to happen to us. Our artists’ fellowship creates space for artists to imagine a bigger picture, a bigger world, for Black trans futures.
I am an artist myself, so that was also a big part of it. Activism is something that Black trans people often have to choose to survive, and we are mad and angry about our circumstances, but we actually are people who have other dreams and desires outside of just fighting for our lives. Marsha P. Johnson again served as an amazing model for movement — her participation in street art and in theater troupes is a reflection of the joy that so many people find outside of their activism.
BLADE: In honor of Black Philanthropy Month and Black August, are there any understudied or underreported causes and freedom fighters that people should be more aware of?
MOXLEY: Just several weeks ago, we lost one of the most important freedom fighters and political prisoners of our time — Albert Woodfox, who was held in solitary confinement for 44 years, the longest solitary confinement in U.S. history. I would say that Black August is always an opportunity for people to understand the structural inadequacies that exist not only in prisons, but in the world. It’s real people who are being housed in prisons, and I say real people because the atrocities of life are often happening to the people who are in cages. I think Black Philanthropy Month creates a space for more investments to happen to organizations who are leading the fight against the apartheid and the segregation that certainly exist in America.
To celebrate the freedom fighters of our time, we are uplifting Black trans freedom fighters who have given their lives to movement, who have given their lives for others. And that’s happening in and outside of prisons — those who are on the inside of prisons are always still advocating for the people in the communities that they believe in, and we are so grateful and thankful to those folks.
BLADE: It seems like most of the recent news about reproductive rights and trans rights has been dismal. Are there any bright spots on your radar, in terms of legislative progress on these issues?
MOXLEY: Anytime a human right is interrupted or taken away, it is such a negative for so many people who are looking for legislation that gives them hope. I will say that I’ve just been hopeful about the future of democracy and of our humanity. I think there are so many activists who have been activated to lead to more generative resolutions around legislation, especially when we think about piecemeal legislation actually being the thing that’s being abolished. That’s the beautiful juxtaposition of what happens when we lose a law — the thing about laws is that they can go away, and they can always return.
If we lean into the positive, we have an opportunity to create more than we originally started with. And that’s the thing that gives me so much hope — we can create more foundational legislation that accounts for the human rights of all people and not just a specific kind. With reproductive justice being at the center of so many of our political conversations, what we are seeing is an expansion of what reproductive justice means and who reproductive justice applies to. And that is what gives me great hope, that we will now be able to account for more than just the abortions of trans men, that we’ll be able to think about the reproductive rights of Black trans women and nonbinary people in ways that we’ve never been able to consider before.
Melissa Gilpin, marketing and communications manager at LGBTQ+ youth homelessness charity akt, told PinkNews the looming crisis is “undoing years of work” in helping young people at risk of homelessness – especially trans youth.
The cost of living crisis is “pushing” many queer youth “out of safe spaces” because they “can’t afford rent in private housing”.
“If you’re under 35, the government can give you £300 a month in Manchester towards rent, and you’re supposed to be in shared housing,” Gilpin said. “But at the moment, rent can be up to £600 to £1,000. Where are you getting the rest of the money – especially if you factor in that unemployment is a massive issue?”
Gilpin said akt has seen young people being “pushed further away from their support networks and communities” as a result of the cost of living crisis and lack of trans-friendly housing. While many couch surf, there is a concern that some queer youth could be forced to return to unwelcoming family homes.
“A lot of parents [of these young people] say: ‘You can move back home, but you’re not allowed to out as trans or as queer,’” Gilpin said.
“Trans youth get rejected from a lot of housing, like for instance single-sex or women’s-only hostels,” Gilpin added. “They then don’t accept trans women, which is an issue anyway.”
It went on to say that such spaces – which include single-sex or separate toilets, refuges, changing rooms or hospital wards – can “prevent, limit or modify trans people’s access to the service” if it achieves a “legitimate aim”.
“For trans youth, getting gender-affirming services and care is a huge priority for how they spend their money,” Gilpin said. “At the moment, they’re not able to afford hormones so a lot of people are choosing between eating and getting hormones.”
She added: “We’re seeing this at the moment where people are having to come off their hormones because they need to pay their bills, and this triggers huge gender dysphoria and mental health issues.
“They have no way to budget for the future. This is undoing a lot of their gender-affirming care they’ve been putting their money into which became a cycle of maybe substance abuse, having breakdowns, getting back onto the street and getting into sex work to be able to afford hormones again.”
Gilpin said the charity is only able to do “contingency planning” at the moment. As such, akt is seeking help from the public to support LGBTQ+ youth impacted by the lack of government support and the cost of living crisis.
“The barriers to accessing safe, affordable housing for queer trans youth are exasperated a lot more by the cost of living crisis, but the barriers existed before that and affect trans people a lot more because it’s harder for them to find jobs, get into any space or housing,” Gilpin said.
Gilpin added it was “nearly impossible” at the moment for trans youth who are “rejected by their family to get into long-term safe, private housing” given these barriers.
She said it was essential for the Tory government to commit to a strategy to end homelessness and include a “specific call out to queer youth” within it.
“They can’t just be lumped in with the homelessness population because they have specific needs to access housing and employment services,” she said.
Kesha Williams spent more than six months incarcerated alongside men and was periodically denied hormone therapy. After she was released in 2019, she sued Fairfax County Sheriff Stacey Kincaid, as well as a prison nurse and a deputy, alleging that the prison had violated both the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act in failing to treat her gender dysphoria.
While the 1990 law specifically excludes “transvestism,” “transsexualism,” and “gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments,” the American Psychiatric Association has since replaced gender identity disorder in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders with gender dysphoria, which is the distress a person feels when their gender identity doesn’t align with their sex assigned at birth.
In an amicus brief, attorneys for the GLBT Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) explained that, “In short, the gender dysphoria diagnosis recognizes that incongruence between a person’s identity and birth sex is not the problem in need of treatment—the clinically significant distress associated with that incongruence is.”
“Reflecting this shift in medical understanding, we and other courts have thus explained that a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, unlike that of ‘gender identity disorder,’ concerns itself primarily with distress and other disabling symptoms, rather than simply being transgender,” Judge Diana Gribbon Motz wrote in her opinion.
“This is a thorough, well-reasoned opinion recognizing that the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against individuals with gender dysphoria,” National Center for Lesbian Rights legal director Shannon Minter said in a statement. “This decision sets a powerful precedent that will be important for other courts considering this critical issue.”
GLAD Transgender Rights Project director Jennifer Levi called Motz’s decision a huge win. “There is no principled reason to exclude transgender people from our federal civil rights laws,” Levi said. “It’s incredibly significant for a federal appeals court to affirm that the protections in our federal disability rights laws extend to transgender people. It would turn disability law upside down to exclude someone from its protection because of having a stigmatized medical condition. This opinion goes a long way toward removing social and cultural barriers that keep people with treatable, but misunderstood, medical conditions from being able to thrive.”