A transgender woman was treated as a man by U.S. Marshals and D.C. police when she was locked up after being arrested. She sued for damages, and after the district court refused to dismiss her case, the defendants appealed. We filed an amicus brief in March 2014, arguing that the way she was treated violated her rights under the Fourth Amendment and under the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause. Our brief was joined by the National ACLU, the D.C. Trans Coalition, the Human Rights Defense Center, Just Detention International, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the National Police Accountability Project, Streetwise and Safe, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, and the Transgender Law Center.
After briefing, the case settled for $82,500 and an agreement by the defendants that if an arrestee can show legal documentation of a name change, the new name must be entered into the government’s records system and the new name must be the one the officers use to refer to that arrestee, both verbally and in writing. Additionally, if an arrestee can show legal documentation of a change in gender (either through an amended birth certificate or some other formal government document, such as a driver’s license), this new gender must be added to the system, and the arrestee must be classified as the gender that is legally recognized.