Articles tagged with: ACLU
Jillian T. Weiss, J.D., Ph.D., analyzes the legal issues of privacy and equal protection in the ACLU’s brief in K.L. v. State of Alaska, which involves Alaska DMV’s denial of a transgender woman’s driver’s license with a correct gender marker without proof of a surgical sex change.
Alaska DMV based its refusal to put the correct gender marker on a transgender woman’s driver’s license on Alaska’s Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) D-24. Just who wrote SOP D-24, and what kind of review did it get before being used to make decisions affecting people’s lives?
The ACLU and the ACLU of Alaska have brought suit against the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles over DMV’s refusal to put the correct gender marker on a transgender woman’s driver’s license without proof of a surgical sex change. The brief in the case, K.L. v. State of Alaska, can be read at at the ACLU or ACLU of Alaska websites.
Here is the ACLU of Alaska’s press release:
DMV Refusal to Correct Transgender Driver’s Licenses Unconstitutional
ACLU Lawsuit Challenges Requirement that Transgender Persons Undergo Surgery for Proper Gender on License
ANCHORAGE, AK, July 18, 2011 — The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Alaska filed a brief today seeking to allow transgender individuals to correct the gender marker on their driver’s licenses without undergoing major surgery. The state’s surgery requirement places an undue burden on transgender individuals and presents a gross violation of an individual’s right to privacy.
“It is unfair and unnecessary to require that transgender people undergo prohibitively expensive and drastic surgery in order to have accurate identity documents,” said Jeffrey Mittman, executive director of the ACLU of Alaska. “No one should have to disclose sensitive personal information or be forced to make major medical decisions in order to get an accurate driver’s license.”
The lawsuit is being filed on behalf of a transgender woman, K.L., whose United States passport and work documents all identify her as a female. After initially securing a change to the gender on her driver’s license, she was told that her new license would be revoked unless she submitted proof of having surgery. The American Psychiatric Association and medical experts agree that surgery is medically necessary for some with gender identity disorder (GID), but not for everyone. Treatment for GID is individualized, and some can be effectively treated without it, making it unnecessary for the state to confirm whether or not an individual has had surgery before correcting a license. Additionally, such surgery is extremely expensive and potentially dangerous. The State Department no longer requires transgender people to have surgery before it will correct the gender marker on passports and a growing number of states have stopped requiring surgery for changing the gender marker on a driver’s license.
“Having a driver’s license that doesn’t match my appearance and identity would place me at risk of discrimination and physical harm,” said K.L., who has lived as a woman for two years.
The state supreme court has found that the Alaska Constitution’s privacy clause protects individuals’ right to self-expression and to be free from the disclosure of sensitive personal information and government intrusions on their decisions about medical care.
“The surgery requirement not only violates Alaska’s laws, it demonstrates a profound lack of understanding about what it means to be transgender,” said John Knight, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. “The state cannot deny transgender people an accurate driver’s license based on an arbitrary and unconstitutional policy that clashes with accepted medical standards.”
Attorneys include Knight of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project, Thomas Stenson of the ACLU of Alaska Foundation, and Stephanie Boehl of Perkins Coie.
Anthony Romero, national executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Romero will be the featured speaker for Disparate Opportunity in America: The Ongoing Struggle for Equal Rights sponsored by the UAA Justice Center and ACLU of Alaska. The program will focus on recent developments in the continuing challenges faced by minority and underprivileged communities and the work of the ACLU in fighting for equal rights.
Doug Frank has been announced as tthe Grand Marshall for Alaska Pride Fest 2011. Alaska Pride Fest provided this biography documenting Frank’s decades of service to the LGBTQA community of Alaska, including his work with World AIDS Day and the Names Project Quilt, cofounding of the annual Pride Conference, and the 20012 Pride Month display at Anchorages’s Loussace Library.
Bohemian Rhapsody “too gay” for Wasilla? — Beyond the snark, bad situation for gay kids in Mat-Su schools
Beyond the headline-catching absurdity of the short-lived Wasilla High School ban on “Bohemian Rhapsody,” there’s a more serious reality for LGBT students in the Mat-Su — one which hasn’t gained so much media attention.
A lawsuit by three same-sex couples against Alaska’s biased property tax rules progressed to the next step on Wednesday.
The national ACLU and the ACLU of Alaska filed a motion for summary judgment in Schmidt v. Alaska, a lawsuit challenging the state’s tax-assessment rules. The tax rules discriminate against same-sex couples by denying them equal access to a property tax exemption for senior citizens and disabled veterans.
Those who qualify and who live with same-sex partners are only permitted, at most, half of the exemption available to opposite-sex married couples because they are treated as roommates rather than as families.
Each of the three couples are denied full access to a $150,000 property tax exemption available to opposite-sex married couples. The couples are asking that the Alaska Superior Court declare this discriminatory law to be unconstitutional.
“Denying gay seniors and disabled veterans the tax protection for their family homes afforded to heterosexuals serves no purpose other than to treat same-sex couples like second-class citizens,” said Tom Stenson, Legal Director of the ACLU of Alaska. “People should not have to pay a higher tax simply for being lesbian or gay.”
The three couples challenging the unfair gay tax are described HERE, in Bent’s first post on the Schmidt v. Alaska lawsuit that was filed last year.
The Anchorage LGBT Discrimination Survey, now in progress, is the first effort since the late 1980s to compile rigorous data about the incidence of sexual orientation bias and discrimination in Anchorage — and the first effort ever to document Anchorage or Alaska-specific data about discrimination and bias on the basis of gender identity. Originally published as an op-ed in the Anchorage Press on Thursday, January 27, 2011.
2011 will mark the 40th Anniversary of the ACLU of Alaska and they’re celebrating with a Gala Evening honoring 40 Heroes of Constitutional Rights. Identity, Inc. is one of the heroes. Other honorees connected to the LGBT community include Out North and Anchorage attorney Allison Mendel.
“Please join the ACLU of Alaska on Saturday, January 22, 2011 at the Dena’ina Center to honor these individuals and organizations who have led the way in creating a state that honors and protects personal freedom, individual liberty, and constitutional and civil rights.”
The evening will include live music, a cocktail reception, sit-down dinner, commemorative program, silent and live auctions, and dancing.
For tickets and more information, visit the ACLU of Alaska.