A U.S. judge decided on Thursday that a transgender female can file a sex discrimination lawsuit against her boss under the protection of the Americans with Disabilities Act, even though the act excludes transgender people.
Kate Lynn Blatt, the petitioner, is now the first transgender to be permitted to sue under the ADA for gender dysphoria, Blatt’s lawyer, Neelima Vanguri, said.
“Other courts will look to this decision,” Vanguri said. “I’m hopeful we will be able to expand civil rights for transgender people just a little.”
However, U.S. District Judge Joseph Leeson didn’t rule on the ADA’s constitutionality of like the plaintiff wanted, because courts shall avoid rulings on constitutional grounds.
The American Psychiatric Association doesn’t consider that being a transgender is a disorder. But it can refer to gender dysphoria, an anxiety type that may demand medicines. Gender dysphoria forms under the ADA is the base ground of Blatt’s lawsuit.
Eastern District of Pennsylvania member, Leeson, didn’t think that being a transgender would make a case but believed that gender dysphoria was a medical disorder that needs protection against discrimination.
Blatt is filing a lawsuit against her former employer, the retail chain Cabela’s Inc, accusing it of sex discrimination. The employer prevented her from using the women’s bathroom and forcing her for a short time to put on a name tag with her male name which was given to her at birth.
Blatt is a 36-year-old woman who used to work at the Cabela’s store located in Hamburg, Pennsylvania, in 2006 and 2007. She said she was dismissed because the company allegedly accused her of threatening a colleague’s child. Blatt denies such an accusation.
Since 1990, the ADA is considered as an essential law to protect disable people. Filed in 2014, this lawsuit is a challenge to in the act that “disability” shouldn’t include “transsexualism.”