Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Lawsuit Challenges Tennessee Transgender Restrictions

Posted By on Tue, Apr 23, 2019 at 1:16 PM

click to enlarge Kayla Gore, of Memphis, speaks during a news conference Tuesday outside the federal courthouse in Nashville. - LAMBDA LEGAL
  • Lambda Legal
  • Kayla Gore, of Memphis, speaks during a news conference Tuesday outside the federal courthouse in Nashville.

Four transgender Tennesseans sued the state Tuesday to challenge a law prohibiting them from changing the gender marker on their birth certificates.

The case was filed by Lambda Legal, a national advocacy group working for the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, and those with HIV. The lead plaintiff in the case is Kayla Gore, 33, of Memphis.

“I have been a woman my entire life,” Gore said in a statement. “However, the state of Tennessee refuses to recognize my identity and forces me to carry incorrect identity documents.
“In times where anti-trans violence is escalating, especially against transgender women of color, I deserve to have identity documents that reflect who I am and don’t put me in harm’s way – the same as anyone would want for themself and their loved ones.”

Tennessee is one of only three states, including Kansas and Ohio, that bars citizens from changing their gender on their birth certificate. Lambda Legal filed lawsuits challenging policies in those states, too.

“Forty-seven states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico acknowledge the importance of allowing people to have access to essential government identity documents that accurately reflect their sex, consistent with their gender identity,” said Lambda Legal senior attorney Omar Gonzalez-Pagan. “It is time for Tennessee to join them. We won’t rest until we remove every governmental barrier to recognizing and respecting every transgender person’s identity in this country.”

The suit was here filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee in Nashville on behalf of four transgender people born in Tennessee – Gore, Jason Scott, and two plaintiffs identified by their initials, L.G. and K.N.

In the suit, Lambda Legal argues Tennessee’s policies violate the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the U.S. Constitution. Also, policies here violate citizens’ free speech rights, according to Lambda Legal.
“I have had to put up with a lot since I decided to live as the man that I am over twenty-five (25) years ago,” said Scott, one of the plaintiffs in the suit. "The state of Tennessee does not get to define who I am by incorrectly identifying me as female on my birth certificate. Getting a correct birth certificate in alignment with who I am would be life-changing.”

For more on the case, go here

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