This week’s question comes from Debbie D in the Castro who asks: “With all the hate coming out of Washington and the federal government trying to push back LGBTQ rights I heard that California is moving in the other direction. I’m glad I live in California. What is our State Government doing for us?”
Dustin from San Francisco writes: “Chris, I am outraged that Trump has banned transgender people from serving in the military. Is this constitutional?”
Thank you Dustin for your timely question. I share your outrage. I am proud to have championed transgender rights. I have assisted courageous transgender persons in safeguarding their rights and ending discriminatory policies and practices by the government, professional associations, hospitals and employers. My clients have shared with me the pain and emotional turmoil they have suffered from being marginalized and treated unfairly because of their gender identity.
The battle to protect the rights of transgender individuals is fought on many fronts. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) establishes that transgender people have the same civil rights in housing and employment as every Californian. Of course, having the law on your side is not the same as being free from harassment and discrimination. FEHA is an important tool in the fight for equal treatment, but more needs to be done.
Today’s question comes from Gina J. from Los Angeles: “I used to live in San Francisco and read your column. I moved to L.A. recently. I am a trans-woman and as part of my transition I wanted to undergo breast implantation. I found an excellent surgeon and he scheduled my surgery at a local hospital that is part of a religious healthcare system. I had received approval from MediCal and was excitedly awaiting my surgery when my doctor sent me an e-mail, accompanied by a letter from the hospital stating that, because of their religious beliefs, I could not have my surgery “because God made me a man.” Is this legal?”
Dear Gina, I am surprised that this kind of discrimination continues. In 2008 I brought action for a woman named Charlene Hastings against Seaton Hospital when they engaged in similar discriminatory conduct.
A transgender woman and San Francisco resident Amber Yust, represented by the Dolan Law Firm, settled her privacy and civil rights lawsuit with the San Francisco DMV.
In October 2010, a DMV employee, who had a known history of denying equal service to transgender customers, retained Yust’s personal information through his employment at the DMV. The employee then used the information to send her materials condemning her transgender status, and calling for homosexuals to be “put to death.”
The matter resolved with the State of California for $40,000, and with the former DMV employee for $15,000. As a part of the settlement, the DMV agreed to work with the Transgender Law Center in an effort to incorporate transgender sensitivity into its ongoing employee training.
At The Dolan Law Firm, our California transgender rights lawyers fight for the rights and dignity of transsexual people.
Dolan said, “this suit affirms the right of all people to equal access to government services, regardless of their orientation or decision to make a transition to live life as their full and complete self. In the big picture, this suit promotes the privacy rights of all Californians by ensuring that confidential information retained by our government stays confidential.”
This settlement comes in the wake of another legal milestone for transgender civil rights. The Dolan Law Firm, a prominent leader in LGBT rights, represented Lana Lawless in her suit against the Ladies Professional Golf Association for denying her the right to compete based on her transgender status. Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, the LPGA removed its longstanding “female at birth” requirement, which precluded transgender women from participating in the organization. Lawless’ case against the LPGA was resolved to the mutual satisfaction of all parties.