- by Jennifer Conway, Associate Producer
U.S. District Judge Joseph F. Leeson just approved the first known transgender rights lawsuit alleging discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to move forward. This case is unique for several reasons, but most significantly because when the ADA was written, Congress specifically excluded transgender people with a clause on "sexual behavior disorders."
Blatt experienced gender dysphoria, a condition brought on by the extreme distress transgender people can experience when being excluded and ostracized by their peers. ALJ feature reporter Gina Passarella, The Legal Intelligencer reporter PJ D'Annunzio and transgender rights attorneys Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Thomas Ude and Scott Goldshaw explain why this case is so significant in this 3 minute clip pulled from our program "Pronoun Wars: The Law & Transgender in America."
"It is fairly possible to interpret the term gender identity disorders narrowly to refer to simply the condition of identifying with a different gender, not to exclude from ADA coverage disabling conditions that persons who identify with a different gender may have—such as Blatt's gender dysphoria, which substantially limits her major life activities of interacting with others, reproducing, and social and occupational functioning," Leeson said. "Because this interpretation allows the court to avoid the constitutional questions raised in this case, it is the court's duty to adopt it."
Transgender ADA Case Against Cabela's OK'd, May 19, 2017 P.J. D'Annunzio, The Legal Intelligencer