SAN FRANCISCO, September 18, 2019 — The Court of Appeal on Tuesday confirmed that it is illegal discrimination for a hospital to deny someone care simply because they’re transgender, allowing a lawsuit filed against Dignity Health to move forward.

Plaintiff Evan Minton was scheduled to receive a hysterectomy at Mercy San Juan Medical Center, a Sacramento-area Catholic hospital in the Dignity Health chain. Two days prior to the appointment, a nurse called to discuss the surgery and Minton mentioned that he is transgender. The next day, the hospital canceled the procedure.

The suit, filed in 2017 by the ACLU Foundation of Northern California, the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, and the law firm Covington & Burling LLP, argues that Dignity Health’s refusal to allow Minton to undergo a hysterectomy while allowing the procedure for cisgender women violates California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act.

“When his surgery was cancelled, he was subjected to discrimination,” the Court of Appeal ruled in its opinion. “Full and equal access requires avoiding discrimination, not merely remedying it after it has occurred.”

As Minton requested, the case will now return to San Francisco Superior Court to go through the normal process of discovery. Minton will be able to gather and present evidence proving that he was illegally denied health care because of his gender identity and documenting the harm he suffered as a result of the discrimination.

“The Unruh Act promises full and equal access to public accommodations, yet Dignity Health refuses to provide necessary care to transgender patients,” said Elizabeth Gill, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California. “We will continue to fight for the right to care for everyone, even if their local hospital has a religious affiliation.”

Dignity Health is one of the largest hospital providers in California. It recently merged with another Catholic hospital chain to create the largest nonprofit healthcare system in the country.

As Amazon Prime Video prepares to send off “Transparent” with a musical finale movie on Sept. 27, the cast and creative team behind the show are hoping the impact of a character such as Maura Pfefferman (Jeffrey Tambor) will not be overshadowed by the controversy that the actor who portrayed Maura caused.

“I believe that Maura stood for that [LGBTQ fight for equality] whole heartedly. And that would not have happened unless she had been blessed by a truly gifted actor. And that among all things that have happened and behavior that has happened, that is worth remembering,” Alexandra Billings said at the Tribeca TV Festival closing night panel for the show Sunday.

Tambor was fired from the show in early 2018 after sexual harassment claims were made against him by actresses on the show. He had portrayed Maura for four seasons, earning two Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe for the performance of the head of the Pfefferman family who came out as transgender to her family in the pilot episode.

Jill Soloway created the show after their own parent came out as transgender, and Judith Light sang Soloway’s praises on the panel for putting forth a show that set out to stand for equal rights.

“What was happening in the trans community was beginning to really come out of the shadows,” Light said of the early days of the show. “This was one more piece. It was like an arrow that was shot into the air, and we rode in on that — on that energy of what was and still is transformative.”

It is within that same spirit that the team behind “Transparent” put together the final piece of its story, as well.

“What I appreciate about what Jill is constantly talking about is that this is not an ending. This is a transition. And we don’t know what’s going to happen from here, but in every finishing is a beginning,” Light said.

For Soloway, one of the most interesting things about telling the Pfefferman family members’ individual stories has been Ari’s (Gaby Hoffman) nonbinary journey.

“When we first wrote the script…there were so many ‘they’ jokes and the script was filled with like, ‘Two nonbinary people walk into a bar. They order a martini. They also order Martini’ — like we were trying to make as much nonbinary jokes as possible,” Soloway said. “And by the time we got to filming, we were so used to just using the ‘they’ pronouns that we barely spoke about their gender. … And it kind of ended up not being the big joke that we kind of thought it was going to be.”

Soloway also noted that “time moves so quickly. Our culture is moving so quickly that it felt like it was just too late to make any jokes.”

But overall, Soloway shared they were just “so honored that I get to process my life in this form and that we all get to process in this form.”

On the still dark morning of Sept. 4, tucked behind a rural Florida neighborhood dotted with single-story houses painted bright green, turquoise and pink, flames licked the metal frame of a PT Cruiser parked in the grass. When Hendry County Sheriff’s deputies doused the flames, they found a woman’s body inside so badly burned she couldn’t be identified for days.

Now police say that Bee Love Slater, a black, transgender 23-year-old from South Florida, was murdered. Investigators have not announced any suspects or leads, and the sheriff’s office told reporters they could not say whether the grisly homicide was a hate crime.

“We can’t say it’s a hate crime yet because we don’t know what the motive was,” Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Susan Harrelle told ABC 7.

But advocates say Slater was the latest victim in an alarming trend, as transgender murders are spiking across the United States — particularly in Florida, where the hate crime statute does not apply to people attacked for their gender identity.

“Our society needs to work to ensure transpeople can live without fear,” the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida said in a statement about Slater’s death.

Slater’s body was found at the edge of Harlem, Fla., a small community about 65 miles west of West Palm Beach. Slater lived about 32 miles away around the southern bend of Lake Okeechobee in Pahokee, Fla., an economically depressed town best known for producing NFL talent. Her friends say Slater, who transitioned her gender earlier this year, wanted to save money to move to Atlanta, where she believed people would be more accepting of her transgender identity.

“She always had a smile on her face,” her friend Desmond Vereen, who called himself her “gay mother,” told the Miami Herald. “She always gave hugs and kisses, always told you that she loved you.”

But more recently, Slater began posting on Facebook that she had received harassing messages that scared her, a friend told Out Magazine. She reportedly texted a friend that she wanted to leave town the night she died.

“She posted messages saying she felt as if people were after her to attack and hurt her and she had a conversation with one of her best friends the day she was murdered saying she wanted to leave,” her friend Antorris Williams told Out. “She was willing to sleep in her car until she found a job and things of that nature.”

So far, the sheriff’s office says there is “no evidence” about the cause of her death ⁠ — in part because her car was scorched to its metal frame. Meanwhile, her friends and transgender rights advocates are demanding justice.

“How could someone go to that extreme to get rid of her?” her friend Kenard Wade told WINK news. “I just want justice for her.”

At least 18 transgender people have been murdered in the United States this year, according to Human Rights Campaign advocates who track the homicides. Last year, advocates counted 26 murders, including five in Florida, the highest number in any state.

While Florida’s hate crime statute allows prosecutors to seek stiffer penalties when a crime is motivated by malice toward someone’s “race, religion, ethnicity, color, ancestry, sexual orientation, or national origin,” gender identity, including transgender identity, is not protected under the state law. Advocates say that limitation can leave transgender people more vulnerable to violence.

“These victims are not numbers — they were people with hopes and plans, dreams for the future, loved ones and communities who will miss them every day,” writes Matilda Young for the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ rights advocacy group. “Anti-transgender stigma is exacerbated by callous or disrespectful treatment too often seen from media, law enforcement and our highest elected officials.”

On Sept. 6, the day Slater was identified by the medical examiner, friends and supporters dressed in pink gathered on the grounds of an apartment complex in Pahokee. They lit candles arranged to spell out “Bee Love.” They sang together and held dozens of pink balloons shaped like hearts and stars. People took turns telling stories about Slater and remembering her life. The crowd cheered for Slater as they let go of the balloons, which floated away into the night sky.

“I’m here, and I’m going to speak and do whatever I have to do,” Vereen said. “Her name is going to live on.”

study out Wednesday in the journal JAMA Psychiatry finds transgender people have significantly increased risk of attempting suicide if they've been exposed to efforts to convert their gender identity.

The study was authored by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, McLean Hospital and The Fenway Institute.

They found transgender individuals who experienced gender identity conversion efforts by a therapist or religious adviser were more than twice as likely to attempt suicide.

"And we found that if those conversion efforts were during childhood that there was even a stronger, more dramatic association between having a professional try and change the person's gender identity and later having a suicide attempt," says Dr. Jack Turban, a resident physician in psychiatry at MGH and McLean Hospital.

When the efforts to change someone's gender identity from transgender to cisgender happened before age 10, the chances of the person later attempting suicide more than quadrupled, the researchers found.

The study's senior author, Dr. Alex Keuroghlian, is a psychiatrist at Mass. General Hospital and directs the National LGBT Health Education Center at The Fenway Institute. He hopes the findings will lead to better care of transgender people.

"It's critically important that gender-affirming care is part of standard training of clinicians across the country so that we can avoid these really dangerous practices and potentially fatal health outcomes," Keuroghlian says.

The researchers say most leading medical societies, including the American Medical Association, have called gender identity conversion efforts unethical. But prior to this study, there wasn't concrete data to solidify an association between exposure to conversion efforts and negative mental health outcomes.

The study analyzed data from a prior survey of more than 27,000 transgender adults.

The same researchers recently published a study that found nearly 200,000 transgender people in the U.S. had experienced efforts to convert their gender identities.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law a ban on the practice in April. Seventeen other states have also banned sexuality and gender conversion efforts.

WASHINGTON— Bailey Reeves, at 17-years-young, and Bee Love, at only 18, became the 17th and 18th trans people murdered in the United States this year. Bailey, a trans woman of color, was found dead in Baltimore, Maryland, over Labor Day weekend. Bee, a Black trans woman, was found with her hands tied, shot and burned to death in her car in Clewiston, Florida. Too many trans women, and especially too many Black trans women are being murdered and it is beyond time that as a community we stand together and call for an end to these heinous acts.

David Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition ( NBJC ), released this statement:

"We know that Black women, both trans and cis, face extreme and disproportionate levels of violence. Black trans women being murdered is becoming too common. We must do more than stand silently in solidarity. We must say their names and be called to act. We are not doing enough to ensure that all members of our community are able to live happy, healthy, and whole lives.

"Supporting trans and cisgender women alike, is more than quoting from popular television shows or reposting on social media. We must supplement those actions with sustained and meaningful civic, political, and community action that ensures that Black women girls, both trans and cis, are protected in principle and in practice. A critical first step toward meaningful action is having asset-based, stigma-free conversations about these issues and opportunities.

"NBJC developed the Words Matter Gender Justice Toolkit to facilitate uncomfortable and, at times, difficult conversations that can save lives. This specific toolkit has been designed with the goal of ending the violence that Black women and girls—both cisgender and transgender—as well as gender nonconforming people experience simply as a result of who they are and how they exist in the world. We hope that this resource will be helpful to those who desire to honor the lives and legacies of our sisters by doing more to ensure that Black trans women and girls can thrive."

Learn more about violence against transgender people in the US in 2019 at nbjc.org/blog/mourning-those-we-have-lost .

The National Black Justice Coalition ( NBJC ) is America's leading civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving ( LGBTQ/SGL ) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.

Buy It Now!