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Q Of The Day: When Does Not Revealing Natal Sex Constitute Lying?

The Houston Chronicle is reporting Plaintiff wins round in transgender case. At issue:

She says she didn’t get the job because she was born male.

The company says it wasn’t that, claiming she misrepresented herself.

In a letter rescinding the job, the employer complained she presented herself as a woman at her interview, but the background check revealed she was a man.

And the judge said that despite requests to end the case now, this closely watched lawsuit will go forward to mediation and, if necessary, to a jury.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas, in a 31-page opinion, refused to dismiss the case of 27-year-old Izza Lopez. Born Raul Jr., Lopez claims the Houston radiology chain River Oaks Imaging and Diagnostic wrongfully pulled its 2005 offer to employ her as an appointment scheduler.

River Oaks Imaging said in legal papers that it is just following its policy of refusing to hire people whose background checks reveal they misrepresented themselves to get hired.

A law professor who specializes in these issues and a lawyer for Lambda Legal, a national gay and lesbian civil rights group, both say the case is unusual and could set at least a local precedent and possibly be cited elsewhere.

“Lopez has stated a legally viable claim of discrimination as a male who failed to conform with traditional male stereotypes,” Atlas wrote. Lopez’s suit said she’d identified as female for years and she has been accepted as female by friends and family for some time.

The article goes on to say the case that goes to the jury will need to look at the motivation for River Oaks Imaging and Diagnostic’s not hiring Ms. Lopez:

The judge said if a jury gets the case, it will have to decide whether the company was just following policy on interview misrepresentations and made a decision without regard to Lopez’s sex or whether Lopez’s gender nonconformance actually motivated the company.

So here’s the question: When do you feel a transgender person, or a person of transsexual history (such as a woman being post genital reassignment surgery, and not revealing their natal sex and current sex aren’t the same), are required to out themselves? When entering an intimate relationship? When applying for a job? When buying a burger at McDonalds? If you believe mandatory disclosure applies to trans people, does it apply as well to intersexed people (such as those born with ambiguous genitalia or sex chromosomes that don’t conform the standard XX and XY binary)?

And, if transgender people or people of transsexual history don’t out themselves if you believe there are circumstances when they should out themselves, does that mean that the person in question is a deceiver?…a liar?

A related question might be whether you believe that the “misrepresenting oneself” claim of River Oaks Imaging and Diagnostic regarding Ms. Lopez is just a clever way that any federal, state, or local employment protections based on gender identity and expression can be circumvented by LGBT non-affirming businesses.

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Autumn Sandeen

Autumn Sandeen

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