January 25, 2020 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

For the First Time, a Trans Person Sues Under ACA

BY DOUG  MONTGOMERY| The story of Kate Lynn Blatt followed the pattern of most of her fellow Pottsville, Pennsylvania residents—only, for a period of her life, she woke up as a woman and went to work as a man. In 2006, after a difficult six-year transition, Blatt began working a new job at the outdoor equipment and apparel chain Cabela’s, this time as a woman. The following six months have become the focus of a game-changing lawsuit that has already shifted the landscape of transgender legal protection.

A Philadelphia-based judge has permitted Blatt to sue Cabela’s under the Americans with Disabilities Act, making her the first transgender person to do so.

Blatt, now 35, alleges in a lawsuit that Cabela’s subjected her to humiliating treatment. Although she was excited to begin work as Kate, the problems arose as soon as she punched in.

“Oh my God, it was the most liberating thing I’ve ever experienced in my entire life,” Blatt said in an interview with Reuters. “And then slam,” she said, punching her hand. “Employee discrimination.”

She was told by management to use the men’s bathroom at first. Later, they allowed her to use use the gender-neutral restroom. The suit also alleges that Cabela’s required her to wear two name tags: one for her self-selected name, Kate, and another for her birth name, James.

She had already legally changed her name and gender with the state of Pennsylvania.

In many instances, people who feel discriminated have sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a landmark piece of legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of physical or mental disability.

When the ADA was passed 1990, there was controversy about classifying being transgender as a disability, and so transgender people were specifically excluded from the ADA.

However, today, transgender advocates argue that although being transgender is not a disability, it can lead to gender dysphoria, a type of anxiety that stems from being incorrectly gendered. This, according to advocates, should be covered by the ADA.

The lawyers representing Blatt, Neelima Vanguri and Brian Farrell of Philadelphia-based Sidney L. Gold & Associates, argued before U.S. District Judge Joseph Leeson that the exclusion of transgender people was discriminatory.

The lawyers for Cabela’s asked that the judge dismiss the motion altogether.

On May 18, Judge Leeson sided with Blatt’s lawyers and allowed her to become the first transgender person to sue for discrimination under the ADA.

Going forward, although the decision is not binding for other courts, this ruling opens the door for others to file similar suits.

Related Posts

Honoring Timothy Dean One Year Later

January 8, 2020

January 8, 2020

An intimate gathering was held Tuesday, Jan. 7 at West Hollywood Park to honor the 1-year anniversary of 55-year-old fashion...

Open Letter to FB Demands Removal of “Factually Inaccurate” Lawsuit Ads Attacking HIV Medication

December 14, 2019

December 14, 2019

Dozens of LGBTQ+, HIV and public health organizations have signed an open letter calling on Facebook to remove law firm...

California One of Top States in Equality CA’s Legislative Scorecard

December 5, 2019

December 5, 2019

California earned top marks in Equality California’s recently released annual state legislative scorecard for 2019 Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide...

Trump Administration Attacks LGBTQ People Yet Again with HHS Proposed Rule

November 4, 2019

November 4, 2019

To kick off Trans Awareness Month, the Trump Administration has outdone itself in trampling over LGBTQ+ folks’ rights. Today, the...

PrEP Now Available Without Prescription in CA

October 14, 2019

October 14, 2019

Access to HIV prevention medications got a little easier. Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that would allow...

Ed Buck Arrested After Third Alleged Meth OD Victim Survives, Calls 911

September 18, 2019

September 18, 2019

LGBTQ political activist and prominent donor to the Democratic Party Ed Buck was arrested Tuesday, September 17 after a third alleged victim...

CA Senate Bills You Need to Know About

August 8, 2019

August 8, 2019

SB 201, 159 and 233 all aim to make a change for LGBTQ+ members — find out who they aim...

Policy Brief Outlines How Trump’s New Healthcare Plan Would Harm LGBTQ+ Community

August 8, 2019

August 8, 2019

The Fenway Institute of Fenway Health recently released a policy brief outlining the harm to LGBTQ+ people likely to result...

Gov. Newsom Signs LBQ Women’s Equity Fund

July 11, 2019

July 11, 2019

By Jorge Paniagua It took months, but advocates a part of the Los Angeles LGBT Center are celebrating a substantial...

BREAKING: House Passes Equality Act LGBTQ rights Bill

May 17, 2019

May 17, 2019

Despite previously aggressive pushback from Republican lawmakers, the US House of Representatives passed the Equality Act on Friday, May 17....

Intersex Rights Bill Tabled Until Next Year

April 24, 2019

April 24, 2019

A state bill designed to provide intersex individuals with informed consent for medical treatments regarding their sex characteristics has been...

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Defending the Rainbow Flag Creator

April 13, 2019

April 13, 2019

In response to a “Letter to the Editor” regarding the true identity for the historic rainbow flag creator My name...

The Owner of Two Luxury L.A. Hotels is the Sultan of a Country that Now Stones Homosexuals to Death

April 3, 2019

April 3, 2019

Brunei implemented Sharia Law this week, making sodomy and adultery punishable by death. Strict homophobic Islamic laws went into effect...

John Duran Steps Down as WeHo Mayor

March 6, 2019

March 6, 2019

Hours before a West Hollywood City Council meeting to discuss options regarding Mayor John Duran involvement in the City, Duran...

Cases Linked to Deaths in Ed Buck’s Apartment Still Hot, LASD Announces

March 5, 2019

March 5, 2019

The deaths of Timothy Dean and Gemmel Moore incite calls for justice within community.  By Jorge Paniagua When one of...