Alabama’s trans ID law requiring proof of surgery is unconstitutional, court rules

From NBC News:

Fewer than 10 states now require transgender residents to provide proof of surgery to change the gender markers on their driver’s licenses.

By Jo Yurcaba
Jan. 29, 2021

Alabama’s policy requiring transgender people to have undergone gender-affirming surgery before they can get state IDs that accurately reflect their gender identities is unconstitutional, a federal court ruled this month.

Fewer than 10 states now require proof of surgery to update the gender marker on a driver’s license.

The Alabama case began in 2018, when three transgender people — Darcy Corbitt, Destiny Clark and an unnamed third person — sued the state after they were denied driver’s licenses that reflected their genders, opposed to their sexes assigned at birth, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

“The policy for driver’s licenses, which is what we challenged with this lawsuit, requires that people either submit an amended birth certificate or submit proof of having had what they call ‘complete surgery,'” which Alabama interprets to mean both “genital surgery and top surgery,” said the lawyer who litigated the case, Gabriel Arkles, senior counsel at the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund. An amended birth certificate also requires proof of surgery, although this case didn’t challenge that rule.

On Jan. 15, the U.S. District Court for Middle Alabama, part of the 11th Circuit, ruled that Policy Order 63, the state’s driver’s license policy for transgender people, violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment because it discriminates based on sex.

“By making the content of people’s driver licenses depend on the nature of their genitalia, the policy classifies by sex; under Equal Protection Clause doctrine, it is subject to an intermediate form of heightened scrutiny,” Senior Judge Myron Thompson, who was nominated to the court by President Jimmy Carter, wrote in the opinion.

Arkles said that any time officials make a policy that treats people differently based on sex, “they have to have a very good reason for what they’re doing, and here they really did not.”

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Montana advances bill to ban transgender girls from competing in school sports

From LGBTQ Nation:

Montana has become the latest battleground over elementary school girls’ right to be part of a team.

By Bil Browning
Thursday, January 21, 2021

Montana legislators have advanced a bill to ban transgender girls from school sports through the state’s House Judiciary Committee.

The proposed legislation would require that elementary, high school, college and private schools that compete against a public school all reject the student athletes.

“It is unconscionable that Montana lawmakers are focused on restricting transgender and nonbinary youth’s ability to play school sports in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic and economic turmoil. Transgender students, like all students, deserve the chance to learn teamwork and to build self-esteem and a sense of belonging with their peers through sports,” said Sam Brinton, vice president of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project.

The group runs the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people.

The bill will now to go the full House for a vote.

“At The Trevor Project, we constantly hear from transgender and nonbinary youth in crisis who want nothing more than to be recognized for who they are — and we know based on our research that respecting and affirming a young person’s gender identity is essential to their mental health and well-being. This discriminatory policy would only work to increase the kind of social isolation and stigma that contributes to self-harm and suicide risk. We urge the Montana House to reject this cruel and unnecessary bill, and to instead focus on expanding opportunity and support for Montana’s trans youth during this difficult time.”

The legislature is also considering a bill that would prohibit medical professionals from providing best-practice medical care to transgender youth.

H.B. 112, dubbed the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” is “a carbon copy of Idaho’s HB 500” according to Chase Strangio, the Deputy Director for Transgender Justice for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)’s LGBT & HIV Project. Idaho’s law is a similarly-named ‘Save Women’s Sports Act’ proposal that passed, but is currently blocked from being enacted by a federal court’s injunction.

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