Changing Minnesota law to protect transgender students
In 2021, Gender Justice won two legal settlements, together totaling more than $500,000, on behalf of transgender students Nick and Matt. The settlements follow a decision from the state Court of Appeals in Gender Justice’s case, N.H. vs. Anoka Hennepin School District cementing protections for transgender students in Minnesota schools. The court ruled that it violates both the Minnesota Constitution and the Minnesota Human Rights Act for a school or school district to segregate transgender students from their peers in locker room and bathroom facilities. These wins have sent a clear message to Minnesota school districts: It is illegal — and expensive — to discriminate against transgender students.
Gender Justice also launched a public education campaign to inform students, their families, and their schools about increased legal protections for transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming students who are returning to Minnesota classrooms. The campaign, “New Year, New Law,” also seeks to provide transgender students and their families with concrete, easy-to-use resources to help them combat discrimination when and if it occurs.
For more information on the settlements, see:
Opposing anti-trans legislation targeting student athletes in Pennsylvania
The Women’s Law Project is fighting recently introduced legislation that targets gender-diverse teen and child student athletes in Pennsylvania, sending a letter to members of the Pennsylvania House Education Committee imploring them to oppose the legislation. WLP litigation includes the representation of women athletes who have been denied athletic opportunities at their schools in violation of Title IX, the Equal Rights Amendment of the Pennsylvania Constitution, and the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Winning Minnesota Court victory for transgender students
Gender Justice and ACLU of MN filed an amicus brief with the state Court of Appeals arguing the Anoka-Hennepin School District violated the MN constitution by barring N.H., who was on the boys’ swimming team, from using the locker room that matched his gender identity. This ruling finds it unconstitutional in MN to segregate transgender students from their peers in locker room facilities.
Helping pass legislation to ensure access to gender affirming care in Washington
In coalition with state legislatures, community leaders and community-based organizations, Legal Voice successfully advocated for the passage of SB 5313, the Gender Affirming Treatment Act, a groundbreaking piece of legislation that works to eliminate insurance coverage discrimination for trans people by preventing insurance carriers in WA state from automatically denying medically necessary gender affirming care as cosmetic.
Litigating impact cases to challenge discrimination against trans youth athletes
Legal Voice and Gender Justice cases (Hecox v. Little and Cooper v. USAPL) have garnered widespread media coverage and support from health care, women’s rights, and civil rights organizations and current and former athletes, including Billie Jean King and Megan Rapinoe.
“Trans women belong in women’s sports, and their right to compete is supported by the International Olympic Committee, the International Powerlifting Federation’s Executive Committee, as well as federal and Minnesota state law,” Jess Braverman, legal director at Gender Justice, said in a statement. “USA Powerlifting’s ban on transgender athletes is not only illegal, it’s also rooted in outdated gender stereotypes that harm all women athletes.”
Winning legal challenge to religious group’s claim of ministerial exemption to discriminate against employees due to sexual orientation
Legal Voice was co-counsel in the case challenging Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission after they told lawyer and longtime volunteer Matt Woods not to apply for an attorney position in their Open Door Legal Services program because of his sexual orientation. The Washington Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mr. Woods, making it clear that religious employers do not have the unfettered right to discriminate against a group of people based on their belief systems.
Read Legal Voice’s press release for more information.