TLDEF Seeks Input From Our Trans Community On Discrimination For Supreme Court Brief


Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund is preparing an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. That case raises the question of religious and other exemptions to non-discrimination laws. We are looking for input from our transgender community, and specifically those who have experienced discrimination in places of public accommodation. Your voice will play a vital role in helping to stand up for the rights of trans individuals in this country. Our brief questionnaire may be accessed by clicking here. 

The case at issue, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, involves the proprietor of a Denver bakery who is seeking a religious-based exemption from the anti-discrimination laws of Colorado. Those laws prohibit discrimination in places of public accommodation on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, among other protected classes such as race, creed, and gender. This baker was cited and fined for violating this statute for refusing to sell a cake to a same-sex couple. The judicial creation of an exemption to such anti-discrimination laws could have concerning consequences for our transgender community, not just in public accommodations but potentially in healthcare, employment, education, and housing.

Our project involves the filing of an amicus, or "friend of the court," brief in the case. An amicus brief is submitted to the court by someone who is not a party to the case and explains relevant issues that are important for the court to consider but which may not be reflected in the parties’ briefs.

Our goal is to demonstrate to the Supreme Court the importance of anti-discrimination laws to the treatment of trans individuals and the protection of their rights in everyday life. As our case is specifically about discrimination in places of public accommodation, we are looking for stories relating to that issue and the associated dignitary harms inflicted on the victims of discrimination in retail stores, restaurants, and other places that hold themselves open to the general public (e.g., healthcare facilities, barbers/hairdressers, tailors/dressmakers, manicurists, hotels, theaters, malls, gyms, and shops). 

In our questionnaire, feel free to answer as many or as few questions as you choose. We will select some of these stories for inclusion in the brief, so please let us know if you are comfortable with your story being shared and, if so, whether you are comfortable being identified (fully or partially, using a first name and/or initials) or if you would like your story to remain anonymous.

As we are on a tight deadline for filing this brief, we would greatly appreciate your contributions as soon as possible, and in any case no later than Friday, September 22. We will of course send you an electronic copy of the brief when it is complete.

We look forward to hearing your stories, and please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have. Thank you!

Sincerely,

Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund