U.S. District Court judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania allows first transgender person to sue under disability law

As explained in this report, a man in a dress, going by the name Kate Lynn Blatt, sued his former employer, the Cabela’s store in Hamburg, PA, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, for (among other things) denying him access to the woman’s bathroom, although the language of the act specifically disallows claims pursuant to gender identity disorders. Nevertheless, the judge allowed the man in a dress to go forward with his claim by construing the exclusion, despite the express language of the statute excluding all claims related to ” gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments”, to not exclude “gender dysphoria, which goes beyond merely identifying with a different gender and is characterized by clinically significant stress and other impairments that may be disabling.”  Moreover, the judge’s opinion gives as examples of such “significant stress and other impairments” as “interacting with others, reproducing, and social and occupational functioning.”.  This appears to be a clear example of the exception swallowing the rule and judicial activism subverting the intent of the legislature.

By comparison, the amendments to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act advocated by gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner (discussed elsewhere on this website), would confer a right upon so-called “transgenders” to wear the clothing of the opposite sex in their workplaces and to use the bathrooms of the opposite sex.

The case was subsequently settled.  However, Blatt was later arrested in a separate incident and charged with assaulting Pottsville firefighters. Blatt also entered a Kmart women’s restroom in 2009.

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